October 1, 2002 Legislation


California Laws



California Laws

The following laws relating to health care were signed by Governor Davis:

AB 2907 The Physician Bill of Rights  This includes the inability of HMOs to force physicians to see more patients than can safely be cared for (Kaiser), HMOs must fully disclose contract revisions at least 15 days prior to implementation if both sides agree, no contracts that are against state regs, and HMOs cannot request state or federal protected individual personal health information.  This takes effect 1/1/03.  

Although not a recently signed bill the Governor did submit to the Office of Administrate Law the regulations for nurse to patient minimums.  These would vary from 1:1 on trauma to 1:6 on med/surg wards.  This takes effect 1/1/04.  The California Hospital Association states that the ratios will mean the closure of beds and possibly units due to the shortage of nurses.

SB 1898 prohibits low income residential care facilities from charging fess on admission.  All fee increases must be preceded by a 60 day notice and any unavoidable cost must be amortized over one year.

AB 1946 requires that all hospitals give printed information to patients must be clear and in at least 12 pt. type.

AB 2346 allows specified surrogate decision makers to give informed consent for those that lack capacity for experiments related to cognitive impairment, lack of capacity or serious life threatening diseases affecting the test subjects.

SB 1531 makes new law on the ease of transferring out of Medicare HMOs and into Medicare with secondary insurance.  This is probably illegal as it interferes with the federal preemption.

AB 1282 allows people that live more than 15 miles outside designated covered areas to enroll in health plans. This also requires HMOs to have public hearings at least 30 days before leaving any county with less than 500,000 residents. 

AB 2045 allows mitigation of charges against a supervising pharmacist if the offending action is been done by the supervised pharmacist. This law not being on the books led to the suicide of one pharmacist and the removal of another excellent pharmacist from the pharmacy rolls. 

AB 2459 requires the DHS to notify the Medical Board of all new updates on standards of alternative treatment.  The Medical Board must distribute the document to all physicians and surgeons as well as the updating of both the DHS and Medical Board web sites.

SB 492 extends the prohibition against corporate medical practice to 1/1/08.

AB 2197 allow uninsured Californians with HIV infections without AIDS to apply for government funded health care.  This will not cost the tax payors any direct costs only indirect ones by a offsetting funding mechanism by shifting all those with AIDS from fee for service to Medicaid HMOs, costing less money. There would need to shift 16 AIDS patients to HMOs to give enough money for one new HIV patient.

AB 1454 requires the Department of Mental Health to conduct background checks on its employees, contractors and licensees.

AB 2020 requires the release of prescriptions to patients for all but hard contact lenses so they may get them made at discount stores.  

AB 2753 allows the DHS to certify physicians to operate or oversee X-ray bone desitometry if a certificate of training by the manufacturer is provided.

AB 1749 requires a certificate of negative test for Hepatitis C for all martial arts and professional boxers to be provided to the Athletic Commission.

SB 2019 allows a licensing board to fine or deny applications to those who default on educational loans or service obligations.

AB 424 requires health plans to provide conversion policies to those individuals who are no longer eligible for group policies.

AB 2674 requires all Medicaid patients who select or is assigned to a federally qualified health center or a rural health clinic must be assigned directly to that clinic and the center or clinic is not allowed to contract in any "at risk" manner with managed care plans.

SB 993 allows NPs and CNMs to prescribe certain medications and also requires the state to develop regulations to those individuals in consultation with the Board of Registered Nursing.

SB 1589 allows specialized dental hygienists to work unsupervised in rural or low income areas in public health or tribal clinics.

SB 842 allows the Department of Managed Care to require HMOs to cover certain cancer, cardiac, AIDS or other illnesses with certain treatments.

AB 2179 requires the Department of Managed Care by 1/04 to draft standards for reasonable wait times for appointments with PCPs and specialists or for emergency care.  This law also allows the Department to oversee the quality of care provided by HMOs not only the financial.  The Department is then to study the reasons why there are longer than the standard wait times.

AB 2085 allows patients to file HMO grievances over the internet and the HMO must respond and resolve within 30 days.

SB 253 puts California in the forefront and in conflict with the Bush government.  It allows embryonic stem cell research in the state.  There would be oversight by a approved industry review board.  The legislation also states that fertility clinics must inform donees that their unused embryos may be donated for research.  The embryos may not be sold.  At the same time Davis signed a bill extending the ban on human reproductive cloning for five years.  

SB 1661 is the first law in the country to give employees paid family leave.  The law gives up to six weeks of partial pay up to 55% of the weekly pay or $728, which ever is greater.  This will be funded by a $2.50 per pay period fee.  This is on top of the 12 week unpaid leave required by federal law and the use of disability pay for 10 weeks for new mothers.  This will entice more people to use the time off and potentially create more havoc for business.  Physicians will need to certify the new baby or tat a serious family illness exists.  They do not need to name the illness.

AB 2067 requires the distribution of potassium iodide tablets to all residents living near or work at nuclear power plants.

AB 2735 allows the receipt of confidential information to the DA, public guardian and probate court in cases of elder abuse.

Governor Davis vetoed the following bills:

AB 2010 to require the DHS to develop consolidated application forms for primary care clinics seeking licensure.  This would have cost money.

AB 2296 to require the Dept. of Mental Health to have a workshop to reduce unnecessary paperwork.  

AB 2740 to require the Dept. of Mental Health to develop and run a grant program to have each county address children's mental health.  This would have cost money.

SB 1418 to require the DHS to approve or deny in a 120 day window any completed MediCal application.  This would also have cost money by paying the reasonable costs of any appeal won by the patient.

AB 843 required funding and the creation of electronic enrollment confirmation process for children born to Medicaid patients.

AB 2795 would have required the state Medicaid to give a detailed written notice as to why they are denying a prior authorization for inpatient acute hospital services.        Top


The JCAHO has announced a database that gives hospitals help in passing their exam.  This costs $199 and is another way for the Joint to raise money.   

Occasionally, the JCAHO does something not for money.  This time they have given the institutions a tool to help in their sentinel event reporting.  Of course, not many do report since the report may not be confidential.     Top


Medicare has announced new "incident to" regulations which limit these billings to direct supervision of employees, leased employees, independent contractors or either the physician or the legal entity that employs or contracts with the physician.  This began 8/28/02.          Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.