California ACEP’s advocates work tirelessly each day to ensure that the interests of emergency physicians and their patients are protected and promoted in the Legislature. Over its nearly forty-year advocacy history, California ACEP has sponsored numerous pieces of legislation which have protected patients and directed millions of needed dollars into California’s emergency care safety net. On issues ranging from Injury and Illness Prevention to Emergency Medical Services to Reimbursement and more, California ACEP’s impressive legislative record is among the most successful in the house of medicine.
2016 Legislative Accomplishments
- CURES– SB 482 sought to require physicians to check CURES every time a Schedule II, III, or IV drug is prescribed. We opposed this requirement because it would be cumbersome and often unnecessary in the emergency department and would lead to valuable time being taken away from treating patients with emergency conditions. We were successful in amending the bill so that prescribers in the emergency department are only required to check the CURES database prior to writing a prescription for more than a seven day supply. The bill was signed by Governor Brown.
- Observation Services– SB 1076 would have required that a patient receive notice they are receiving observation services, immediately upon receiving those services. We were able to amend the bill to exempt the emergency department. The bill was signed by Governor Brown.
- Balance Billing – AB 72 was meant to address the issue of balance billing patients when they receive medical services from an out-of-network physician at an in-network facility. While we support taking the patient out of the middle of a payment dispute between provider and insurer, any effort to do so must be accompanied by a mechanism to ensure fair payment of emergency care providers. The final version of the bill requires payers to pay non-contracted physicians at the greater of 125% of Medicare or the average contracted rate for the same service, an amount that would be a devastating cut to the emergency care safety net. As a result, we successfully lobbied to be exempted from the law which does not apply to emergency services and care. The bill was signed by Governor Brown.
- HIV Testing– AB 2439 sought to require that an HIV test be offered to any patient in the emergency department who had blood drawn and the results be given prior to discharge. California ACEP succeeded in getting the bill amended to a voluntary pilot program which was signed by the Governor.
- Probation Status– SB 1033 would have required physicians to disclose if they were on probation by the Medical Board and require the patient to sign a form indicating they had received the information. We opposed the bill saying it was not feasible to have such a requirement when working in the emergency department. We reached an agreement with the author to amend the bill and exempt emergency departments, but the bill failed on the Senate Floor before there was a chance to amend it.
- Maddy Fund – California ACEP sponsored SB 867 which extended the sunset of the Maddy Fund for ten years. The bill passed out of the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Brown. SB 867 will generate more than $50 million per year for physicians providing emergency medical services to uninsured patients.
- Firearm Research– California ACEP sponsored SB 1006 which would have established the Firearm Violence Research Center within the University of California. Because the bill would require a budget appropriation, the content of SB 1006 was included in a budget trailer bill along with a $5 million appropriation. The Center was established upon the Governor’s signing of the budget bill. At the end of August it was announced that the Firearm Violence Research Center would be established at UC Davis under the direction of one of our members, Garen Wintemute, MD. Dr. Wintemute has been working on firearm violence issues at UC Davis since 1989.