HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION: Final Results Roll In
Here's a rundown of various health care bills that Gov. Pete Wilson signed or vetoed before the Sept. 30 deadline for gubernatorial action:
- Ambulance Services: Wilson signed AB 984, which adds ambulance costs of "911" emergency calls to the "basic health services" that health plans are required to cover. The measure was introduced by state Assemblywoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) (Davis release, 9/30).
- Medi-Cal Managed Care: Wilson signed AB 426, which requires the disclosure of certain information on doctors who contract with Medi-Cal HMOs.
- Patient Non-Discrimination: Wilson vetoed AB 434, which sought to prohibit HMOs and medical directors from discrimination against doctors who care for high-risk patients.
- Consumer Waiting Times: Wilson vetoed AB 497. The measure would have required HMOs to limit waiting times for appointments and telephone calls.
- Free Speech for HMO Members: Wilson vetoed AB 1298, which sought to protect the rights of HMO consumers to communicate with members of their own HMO to protect quality care (Health Access release, 10/1).
- Specialized Health Plans: Wilson signed SB 1658 Wednesday. Under the new law, Mexico-based health care service plans covering Mexican nationals working in California must apply for licensure from the Dept. of Corporations, which would regulate the plans in the same manner as in-state plans.
- Denial of Care: Wilson vetoed AB 2048. The measure would have made public the criteria HMOs use for denying care.
- Asthma: Wilson vetoed SB 2208, a bill to commission a task force to study the medical, societal and economic effects of asthma in order to establish an asthma control program.
- Ombudsmen: Wilson vetoed AB 2403, which would have created independent ombudsman programs to help consumers resolve HMO grievances.
- Pain Medication: Wilson signed AB 2305. The new law will require HMOs to cover appropriately prescribed pain medications for terminally ill patients. In addition, the bill would provide that no physician and surgeon in compliance with the California Intractable Pain Treatment Act shall be subject to disciplinary action for engaging in specified lawful conduct.
Click here to read California Healthline's recent coverage of health care legislation sent to Gov. Wilson by the 1998 Legislature. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.