Legislature Reaches Fiscal Bill Deadline, CHEAC-Sponsored Bill Advances
Today, the California Legislature reached the deadline for fiscal committees to meet and report to the floor bills introduced in their house. Both the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees convened suspense file hearings on Thursday to dispense with hundreds of legislative measures by advancing them to the floor or holding them in the committee.
Of particular note, CHEAC’s sponsored measure, AB 240 (Rodriguez) was advanced from the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File to the Assembly Floor without any amendments. CHEAC is joined by the Health Officers Association of California (HOAC), SEIU California, Urban Counties of California (UCC), the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and Public Health Advocates in sponsoring the measure.
In other matters, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on Wednesday announced that legislative leaders have decided to limit members to 12 bills each for the 2021 legislative year. This limit will restrict Senators and Assembly Members from passing more than 12 bills to the opposite house, requiring legislative members to prioritize their proposed legislative measures.
Below, we highlight suspense file hearing results of CHEAC-tracked measures. For a full update, the latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
Access to Health Services
AB 32 (Aguiar-Curry) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Requires Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to indefinitely continue telehealth flexibilities established during the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorizes providers to enroll Medi-Cal beneficiaries remotely, including Family PACT program. Requires health services provided by an enrolled clinic through telehealth to be reimbursed by Medi-Cal on the same basis, to the same extent, and at the same payment rate as in-person services. Requires DHCS to seek necessary federal approvals, convene an advisory group to includes specified representatives, including designates hospitals and counties, and to consult with stakeholders to develop one or more federally permissible alternative payment methods for FQHCs and RHCs for specified services.
SB 316 (Eggman) – SUPPORT – DO PASS
Authorizes Medi-Cal reimbursement for a maximum of two visits on the same day at a single location if: 1) after the first visit, the patient suffers illness/injury requiring additional diagnosis/treatment; or 2) the patient has a medical visit and a mental health visit or dental visit. Defines medical visit as a face-to-face encounter with a physician, PA, NP, nurse-midwife, visiting nurse, or perinatal practitioner.
Built Environment & Climate Change
AB 585 (L. Rivas) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Upon the appropriation by the Legislature, would establish the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program within the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to coordinate state efforts to address extreme heat, facilitate implementation of climate changes projects statewide, and reduce public health risks by establishing community resilience centers. Directs OPR to establish criteria and guidelines for grants and directs OPR to give priority to applicants serving disadvantage communities and vulnerable populations, as determined by local health department, CDPH, or both.
Chronic Disease Prevention & Wellness Promotion
SB 464 (Hurtado) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Modernizes the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) by recasting eligibility criteria to include noncitizens who meet all CalFresh eligibility criteria except requirement related to immigration status beginning January 2023.
Communicable Disease Control
AB 789 (Low) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Requires any patient receiving primary care services in an outpatient setting to be offered Hep B or Hep C screening test if their insurances cover the cost. Follow-up care must be provided or referred to health care provider to those who opt out of testing and either test positive for Hep B or Hep C.
SB 306 (Pan) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Allows pharmacists to provide expedited partner treatment (EPT) for STDs. Requires both private and public insurance coverage to cover at home STD testing kits. Adds EPT treatment and liability protections when diagnosing and treating STDs. Requires congenital syphilis testing for pregnant women in the third trimester. Allows HIV counselors to perform STD testing and requires counselors to provide appropriate counseling and referrals before performing tests. Reimbursement in the Family PACT program is required, subject to appropriation and draw down of FFP, for STD related services to the uninsured, income eligibility patients, or patients without healthcare coverage with confidentiality concerns who are not at risk for pregnancy or do not need contraceptive services.
SB 742 (Pan) – SUPPORT – DO PASS
Prohibits a person from engaging in physical obstruction, intimidation, or picketing targeted at a vaccination site during the site’s operational hours (and one hour prior and one hour after).
SB 744 (Glazer) – OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Requires CDPH create a program to provide expedited release, during a declared public health emergency, of specified health care data to researchers of specified institutions of higher education. Requires any electronic tool used by local health officers for reporting communicable disease cases to include capacity to collect and report data including where the patient resides, the number of people the patient resides with, the occupation of the patient, and the cities the patient has traveled to in the past 14 days.
Health Coverage/Health Care Reform
AB 4 (Arambula) – SUPPORT – DO PASS
Expands Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults 19-25 with income at below 138% FPL, contingent to appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or other measure. Expands enrollment eligibility plan to ensure continuity care. Requires DHCS to work with counties and public hospitals to maximize federal financial participation.
SB 56 (Durazo) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Expands, effective July 2022, Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults 65 years of age and older with incomes at or below 138% FPL subject to an appropriation in the annual Budget Act approved by the Legislature. Requires DHCS to seek federal approvals to obtain federal participation. If federal funds are unavailable, specifies benefits shall be provided with state-only funds.
SB 17 (Pan) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Establishes a statewide Office of Racial Equity to be governed by a Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council to coordinate, analyze, develop, evaluate, and recommend strategies for advancing racial equity across state agencies, departments, and the officer of the Governor. Requires a statewide Racial Equity Framework developed by the Office and requires state agencies to develop and implement a Racial Equity Action Plan that aligns to the Racial Equity Framework. Requires annual reporting.
SB 682 (Rubio) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Requires the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency, and other specified state entities, to develop and implement a plan that establishes to reduces racial disparities in health outcomes by 50 percent by December 2030. Requires CHHS to develop a plan to combat chronic conditions affecting children, including but not limited to asthma, diabetes, dental caries, depression, and vaping related diseases.
Health Information Technology
SB 371 (Caballero) – SPECIAL INTEREST BILL – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Direct funding to small physician/dental practices, community health centers, critical access hospitals, and other safety net providers to help them implement or expand their use of health information technology (HIT) and connect to health information exchanges.
AB 234 (Ramos) – SUPPORT – HELD ON SUSPENSE
Removes provision requiring the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to utilize existing staff and resources to establish CDPH Office of Suicide Prevention.
Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health Services (MCAH)
AB 1046 (Rubio) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Requires the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency to consult with Stakeholders to improve state and counties’ abilities to draw down Medi-Cal funding for evidence based maternal-infant and early childhood home visiting encounters. Specifies stakeholders to be consulted, including California Home Visiting and CalWORKs Home Visiting programs, LHD divisions, human services, and behavioral health services, among others.
Public Health Infrastructure
AB 240 (Rodriguez) – SUPPORT – DO PASS
Requires California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to contract with appropriate and qualified entity to evaluate the adequacy of the local health department infrastructure to make recommendation for future staffing, workforce, and resources needed to adequately fund local public health. Requires CDPH to convene an advisory group of specified representatives and would require them to report to the Legislature.
AB 541 (Berman) – SUPPORT – DO PASS AS AMENDED
Requires licensed recovery and treatment facilities by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to assess each alcoholism and substances use disorder patient/client for tobacco use at the time of initial intake. If tobacco use is identified, requires facility/program to provide information, including an offer for treatment or referral for tobacco use. Requires facility/program to report to DHCS.
SB 395 (Caballero) – SUPPORT – DO PASS
Imposes a 12.5 percent tax on the retail sale of electronic cigarettes in California. Specifies allocation of tax revenues, consisting of 23 percent to Proposition 99, 13 percent to Proposition 10, and 52 percent to Proposition 56, and 12 percent to the Health Careers Opportunity Grant Program. Creates the Health Careers Opportunity Grant Program to improve access by underrepresented students from disadvantaged backgrounds to postsecondary health professions programs, including schools of public health.