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CMA announces sponsored bill package for 2017



April 28, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy CURES Patient Care 

The California Medical Association's (CMA) powerful government relations team works tirelessly to support the development of valuable health care policy that protects and enhances the practice of medicine in California and to ensure physicians are able to deliver high-quality care to the patients of our state. Below are details of the bills CMA is sponsoring this session.

CURES Privacy (SB 641)
The Controlled Substance Utilization Review Evaluation System (CURES), the California Department of Justice prescription drug monitoring program, allows authorized users, including physicians, pharmacists, law enforcement and regulatory boards, to access information about a patient’s controlled substance prescription history. This bill will clarify how law enforcement can access the data, prohibiting the release of CURES data to a law enforcement agency without a valid warrant based on probable cause for an active investigation involving prescription drug abuse or diversion. This bill will help align the privacy protections for prescription information in CURES with that which is provided for patients' medical records.

Pain Management and Schedule II Prescriptions (AB 1048)
Currently, hospitals and health facilities are required to assess a patient's pain every time vital signs are checked, which can create unintentional pressure to prescribe medications for pain. This bill would remove the requirement that pain be assessed at every vital sign check and instead would require health facilities to ensure that pain assessment is performed in a consistent manner that is appropriate to the patient, and that the results are noted in the patient's chart. The bill also allows prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances to be partially filled if requested by the patient or prescriber. This will allow the patient to get appropriate care while reducing the amount of unused medications. Approximately 70 percent of people who use opioids nonmedically got them from a friend or relative, or on the street.

Restoring Trust in Medical Board Probation (AB 505)
This measure prohibits the Medical Board of California from entering into a settlement for probation in cases that allege serious offenses that put patients at risk, including 1) a felony conviction resulting in direct patient harm; 2) alcohol or drug abuse resulting in direct patient harm; and 3) sexual acts or sexual exploitation. Instead, these allegations would go through a full hearing process so that the medical board has a finding of fact based on evidence before deciding upon disciplinary actions. This bill enhances the integrity of the medical board's disciplinary office, improves patient safety and privacy, and preserves physicians' due process rights.

Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency (AB 315)
This measure would, for the first time, regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) operating in California, requiring them to be licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. PBMs have evolved from basic claims administrators to more complex organizations offering a wide range of prescription drug managed tools, like drug utilization review, disease management and consultative services. PBMs have not, however, been subject to state oversight or regulation. This bill would not only require licensure, but would also require PBMs to report aggregate data related to rebates, discounts and price concessions from drug manufacturers, as well as the savings that are passed on to consumers.

Responsible Beverage Service Training (AB 1221)
This bill aims to reduce drunk driving by requiring restaurant and bar servers be trained to identify when a customer has had too much alcohol to drink. The bill was spurred by a tragic drunk-driving accident that took the lives of two UC San Diego medical students and injured three others, who were struck by a drunk driver going the wrong way. This bill is a reintroduction of last session's AB 2121, and responds to technical fixes requested by Governor Brown.  

Out-of-Hospital Births (SB 457)
Recognizing the increased risks associated with births that occur outside of a hospital setting, this bill establishes uniform standards for any births that are attended outside of a hospital or hospital-based birthing center by physicians, certified nurse midwives and licensed midwives. Health care providers attending an out-of-hospital birth would be required to provide parents with information on the limits of the care that can be provided outside of a hospital setting. The bill would also require practitioners attending out-of-hospital births to make hospital transfer arrangements and communicate with a hospital’s medical team, if necessary. Additionally, it would require data collection on these births. CMA is sponsoring this bill with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Workers' Compensation (SB 189)
Currently, the officers and directors of quasi-public or private corporations who own at least 15 percent of the issued stock are excluded from the definition of "employee" for purposes of workers' compensation insurance. This bill would expand this exclusion to officers or directors who own at least 10 percent of issued stock. It would also expand the exclusion to apply to owners of professional corporations who are practitioners rendering the professional services for which the professional corporation is organized, as long as they sign written waivers stating under penalty of perjury that they are covered by a health insurance policy or a health care service plan.

Consumer Complaint Reporting (SB 647)
This bill would require the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance to submit to the Legislature, and post online, a yearly record of all complaints received regarding employee welfare benefit plans as defined under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

For more information on these and other bills of interest to physicians, members can see CMA's Legislative Hot List, published regularly during the legislative session. The Hot List provides a summary and the current status of CMA-sponsored bills, as well as the progress of other significant legislation.Subscribe to news.

Contact: Brandon Marchy, (916) 551-2062 or bmarchy@cmadocs.org.

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