Policy Committees Continue Hearings

Several bills were considered in policy committees this week as the next several weeks will be packed with hearings in an effort to meet the July policy committee deadlines.

We highlight several bills of interest to CHEAC Members below. The full bill chart is available here.

Health Coverage

SB 323 (Mitchell) as amended on 4/25/17 – Support

SB 323, introduced by Senator Holly Mitchell, was passed unanimously from the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee this week. The measure will allow federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health centers (RHCs) to have Drug Medi-Cal, specialty health services, and specialty mental health services reimbursed as contracted with a county or the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

Communicable Disease Control

AB 511 (Arambula) as amended on 3/27/17 – Support

Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula’s AB 511 was heard this week in the Senate Health Committee. The measure is sponsored by the Health Officers Association of California (HOAC) and updates existing statute requiring those who work with children and others to have tuberculosis tests, to instead receive a tuberculosis risk assessment with targeted testing. The item was discussed extensively during the Senate Health Committee hearing, and several Senators inquired about tuberculosis screening and testing methods. A vote on the measure was delayed until next week or the following week to allow the author, sponsors and opposition time to provide responses to member’s questions.

Local Health Department Administration

AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) as amended on 6/21/17 – Oppose

AB 1250 by Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. was amended this week to remove contracting requirements for cities and modify audit requirements for certain contracts. Still, the bill specifies an extensive list of criteria that must be met when counties contract out for personal services, including provisions related to cost savings, displacement of county employees, competitive bidding processes and performance standards. This measure poses serious challenges to local health department operations, in addition to broader county operations. CHEAC, along with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and a number of individual counties and county associations, remain opposed to the measure.

Environmental Health

AB 1219 (Eggman) as amended on 6/13/17 – Watch

AB 1219, by Assembly Member Susan Talamantes Eggman, was passed unanimously from the Senate Health Committee to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. The measure modifies existing statute regarding donated food to provide some immunity to food donors and requires enforcement officers to promote food donation. The measure will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 11.

Drug & Alcohol Services

AB 715 (Wood) as amended on 6/8/17 – Watch

The Senate Health Committee this week unanimously passed AB 715 to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The measure requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to convene a workgroup to review existing guidelines for opioid prescriptions for acute short-term pain and develop statewide guidelines for best practices in prescribing opioids.