California Healthline Highlights Recent Legislative Action
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) recently acted upon 83 bills, including several health-related measures. The governor has 125 bills left to act on by midnight Thursday, the AP/San Diego Union Tribune reports. Any bills left unsigned will become law (Lawrence, AP/San Diego Union Tribune, 9/30). Summaries of the health-related legislation appear below.
Schwarzenegger signed the following legislation:
AB 1629, sponsored by Assembly member Dario Frommer (D-Glendale), addressing Medi-Cal reimbursement rates (Talev/Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 9/30). The law will allow the state to use $250 million in federal funds to increase Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for nursing homes. Under the law, the state will require health care providers to pay a quality assurance fee to obtain the federal funds. The law also will require the Department of Health Services to reimburse nursing homes based on their labor and capital costs rather than using a flat rate (California Healthline, 9/21).
AB 2100, sponsored by Assembly member Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), authorizes the creation of publicly funded homes for up to three developmentally disabled people, who would receive home care from a trained provider or family. Under the law, the homes will be created by three Bay Area regional centers and administered by a not-for-profit agency (Geissinger, San Mateo County Times, 9/29).
- AB 2132, sponsored by Assembly member Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno), will allow children to carry asthma inhalers at school and during after-school activities. Many school districts' "zero-tolerance drug rules" had previously required a nurse or school official to distribute asthma medication to students, the Fresno Bee reports (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 9/30).
Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 1492, sponsored by Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Garden Grove), which would have required hospitals and health providers to inform patients if they use foreign companies to handle confidential medical records and to get permission from patients before sending patient records abroad (California Healthline, 8/26). Schwarzenegger in his veto message said that the measure was unnecessary because state and federal law already provide adequate privacy protection for medical records (Kasler, Sacramento Bee, 9/30).