California Healthline Highlights Health-Related Laws Taking Effect Jan. 1
Several health-related laws took effect Sunday. Descriptions of some of the laws appear below.
A law (AB 1676) by Assembly member Joe Nation (D-San Rafael) will require the Department of Health Services, the Office of the Attorney General and other state agencies to post information about end-of-life medical directions on the agencies' Web sites (Benefield, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 1/1).
The California Radiation Exposure Information Act (AB 929), by Assembly member Jenny Oropeza (D-Carson), will establish mandatory quality-assurance standards for all radiological equipment used in the state, the Sacramento Bee reports. The standards are intended to ensure the lowest possible dose of radiation while maintaining image quality.
The Department of Health Services is currently drafting regulations, which will take effect by January 2008 (Lau, Sacramento Bee, 12/26/05).
A law (SB 798) by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) will allow counties to collect unused prescription drugs from nursing homes, wholesalers and manufacturers, and redistribute them to low-income, uninsured residents, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Under the law, only unexpired drugs in unopened, tamper-proof packages will be redistributed, and patient confidentially must be maintained. Counties must pass local ordinances to implement prescription drug recycling programs.
So far, Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are considering establishing such programs (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 12/27/05).
Additional laws that took effect on Sunday include:
- AB 356, which will require health plans and health insurers to inform consumers in writing of the specific reason they were denied health insurance coverage or were granted coverage at a rate higher than the standard (Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 1/1);
AB 522, which will prevent Medi-Cal from paying for erectile dysfunction medications for registered sex offenders (Office of the Governor release, 12/29/05);
- AB 547, which will eliminate a requirement for cities and counties to declare a public health emergency before permitting needle-exchange programs (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 1/1);
- AB 800, which will require hospitals and clinics to state patients' primary spoken language in medical records;
- AB 1586, which will prohibit insurers and health care providers from denying coverage to people exclusively because they have changed genders (Los Angeles Times, 1/1).
SB 12, SB 281 and SB 965, which aim to reduce childhood obesity through new food standards at schools;
- SB 644, which addresses the dispensation of prescription drugs and devices to help maintain women's access to emergency contraception; (Office of the Governor release, 12/29/05).