Vaccinations for Day Care Workers, CCS Extension Among Avalanche of Signings

Day care workers will be required to be immunized against whooping cough and measles, and to a lesser extent they will be required to get a flu shot, thanks to legislation signed over the weekend by the governor.

It was one of more than a hundred bills signed or vetoed by the governor Oct. 10 and 11. Those signings included high-profile legislation such as the bills to expand health coverage to some of the undocumented in California and to regulate the licensing and operating rules for the sale and distribution of medical marijuana. It also included a number of health-related bills that don’t get as much media attention.

The California Children’s Services program, for instance, will get another year as a carve-out benefit for Medi-Cal kids, until January 2017. The governor signed AB 187 by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which means 180,000 children in California with serious illnesses will continue to receive the same care during the state’s transition to a different program within Medi-Cal managed care.

“I am signing this bill as an expression of good faith,” said Gov. Brown in his signing message, “with the families, providers, advocates, counties and our Medi-Cal managed care plans who must work together with my Administration to thoughtfully, responsibly and appropriately transform this important health care program.”

The governor also signed SB 546 by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), a law that now will require insurers to disclose the factors that lead to any increases in premium rates.

“Regulators and employers cannot contain health care costs if they’re in the dark about what is causing premiums to spike,” Leno said in a written statement. “Sharing this information will increase transparency in the market and encourage insurers to set prices in a fair and reasonable way.”

The vaccination law (SB 792 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia) will require measles and whooping cough (also known as pertussis) immunizations as a condition of employment for all day care workers in California. The law also requires an influenza vaccination, though workers can be excluded from that requirement by filling out an exemption form. Exclusion from the other two vaccines has a much higher bar, requiring a doctor’s note.

“With the deadly outbreaks of measles and influenza this year, we must do everything in our power to protect California’s children who spend time in day care,” Mendoza said in a written statement.

“If this new law can prevent the loss of even one child due to a communicable disease,” he said, “then it will be considered a success. Because one child’s death is one too many, especially when it may be preventable.”

The vaccination law goes into effect Sept. 1, 2016. The health insurance transparency law takes effect in January 2016.   

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