California Healthline Highlights Recent Legislative Action
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) recently acted on legislation addressing patient safety, health care coverage, hospitals and the Medicare drug benefit. Summaries appear below.
The governor on Friday signed SB 1301 by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose), which will require health care facilities to report adverse events to the Department of Health Services within five days of their discovery, unless the event is an ongoing situation or an emergency. Under the law, DHS within two business days must investigate a complaint of an ongoing problem or emergency situation at a health care facility (Bill text, 8/31).
Schwarzenegger on Friday also signed AB 2373 by Assembly member Greg Aghazarian (R-Stockton), which will expand existing law to apply a requirement to use automated drug delivery systems to nursing facilities (Bill text, 8/29).
The governor on Saturday vetoed:
SB 849 by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk), which would have established the Interagency Office of Environmental Health Tracking within an existing center dedicated to tracking the link between environmental conditions and chronic illnesses. The University of California, DHS and the California Environmental Protection Agency collaborate on the center's work (Bill text, 8/29).
- AB 1956 by Assembly member Shirley Horton (R-Lemon Grove), which would have directed DHS to develop a two-year pilot program to test a Web-based disease reporting and mapping system that would collect data from health care providers (Bill text, 8/29).
Schwarzenegger on Friday signed:
SB 1168 by Sen. Wes Chesbro (D-Santa Rosa), which will extend to Jan. 1, 2012, a program that provides subsidies and reimbursement for some health care premiums for state employees who live in rural areas where an HMO is not available (Bill text, 8/31).
SB 1702 by Sens. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) and Dave Cox (R-Roseville), which will extend to Dec. 31, 2007, the expiration date for a program that requires insurers to offer a standard benefit plan. The law also allocates $4 million from a tobacco tax fund to the Major Risk Medical Insurance Fund, which makes payments to participating insurers (Bill text, 8/31).
- SB 1704 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), which will request that the University of California develop a program to evaluate legislation that seeks to require a health care benefit or service (Bill text, 8/29).
Gov. Schwarzenegger on Saturday vetoed:
AB 1840, by Assembly member Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood), which would have required DHS to submit a report to the Legislature listing all businesses in California with 25 or more employees who are beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, Healthy Families or the Access for Infants and Mothers program, or whose dependents are beneficiaries of those programs (Bill text, 8/28).
- AB 2132, by Assembly member Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), which would have limited how people who retire from CalPERS member agencies and re-enter the workforce calculate their employment tenure and subsequent health care contribution when they retire the second time (Bill text, 8/30).
The governor on Friday signed SB 1838 by Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) and Sen. Dean Florez (D-Bakersfield), which will allow the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to waive review of hospital construction projects that will cost less than $50,000 (Bill text, 8/31).
Schwarzenegger on Friday also signed:
AB 2282, by Assembly member Jenny Oropeza (D-Carson), which exempts individuals or entities who contract with federally qualified health centers from federal rules barring gifts from people or organizations that do business with the center. The law requires the gifts to be consistent with federal law (Bill text, 8/31).
AB 2757 by Assembly member Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), which will allow primary care clinics to apply for a license for a clinical laboratory concurrent with its clinic license application (Bill text, 8/30).
- AB 2745 by Assembly member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), which will prohibit hospitals from causing homeless patients to be transported to other counties to receive health care or other supportive services (Bill text, 8/31).
On Saturday, Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 1339 by Perata and Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), which would have directed the Emergency Medical Services Authority to assess the state emergency and trauma care system (Bill text, 8/30).
The governor on Friday signed AB 225, by Assembly member Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Montclair), which will create exemptions to existing law to permit health care providers to accept nonmonetary compensation to facilitate sending and receiving electronic prescription information as required by the 2003 Medicare law (Bill text, 8/31).
In addition, Schwarzenegger on Friday vetoed AB 2170 by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland), which would have required the state HMO report card to include information on the quality of care and access offered by Medicare prescription drug plans and stand-alone plans under the Medicare drug benefit (Bill text, 8/23).