Updated: May 16
Legislative Day Aftermath: Time for Advocacy!
This year’s Legislative Advocacy Day was eventful, with nearly 30 physicians, residents, and students from LACMA participating. The group met with 15 legislators and their staff on various healthcare-related bills such as SB 598, a bill that would streamline prior authorization and help to ease the physician burden; AB 765, a bill that safeguards physician titles, ensuring patient clarity and trust; and AB 1570, a bill that risks patient safety by allowing under trained optometrists to perform advanced eye surgeries.
This year’s event was, by all accounts, a wildly successful endeavor. The California Medical Association welcomed nearly 400 attendees in total, representing 45+ specialties and 24 component medical societies, including LACMA. Attendees participated in a total of 120 legislator meetings as champions for patients and the practice of medicine.
To learn more about LACMA’s legislative priorities, please CLICK HERE
Assembly Bill 470: Expanding Cultural Medical Equity | Assembly Bill 470, authored by Assemblymember Avelino Valencia, affirms the importance of cultural competency and language fluency as a core tenant of continuing medical education (CME) and of keeping CME standards that guide CME providers’ development of curriculum on culturally and linguistically competent care updated on a frequent basis. California has an ever-increasing diversity of languages. Status: Passed out of the Assembly and is now in the Senate, waiting to be referred to a policy committee there.
Assembly Bill 571: Provider Protection for Reproductive Health | This bill will ensure that licensed medical providers have access to professional liability insurance coverage without discrimination for providing abortion care, contraception, and gender-affirming care. Status: Passed out of Assembly Judiciary Committee on 4/18, being re-referred to Appropriations Committee.
Assembly Bill 765: Truth in Advertising | Healthcare consumers need increased clarity and transparency in the education and training of their healthcare providers. Confusing or misleading healthcare advertising and communications have the potential to put patient safety at risk. This bill, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood, would ensure healthcare consumers are not misled or deceived into believing their healthcare provider is a physician or surgeon by preventing non-physician healthcare providers from using terms like “-ologist" or "surgeon" or “medical doctor” or other similar combination of “physician-equivalent” titles. Status: Passed out of Assembly Business and Professions Committee on 4/11, being heard in Appropriations Committee on 5/3.
Assembly Bill 815: Streamlining Physician Credentialing | This bill, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood, would allow health plans and insurers to eliminate outdated and unnecessary administrative processes that divert resources from patient care and coverage by streamlining the credentialing process making practices more efficient and removing administrative red tape. Working with stakeholders to address this issue in a mutually beneficial way, the proposal takes the same approach as the continuing medical education regulatory construct. It would require the creation of a panel to approve independent entities to credential physicians for health plan contracts. If a physician chooses to be credentialed by an approved entity, a health plan would be required to accept the physician’s credential. Status: Passed out of Assembly Health Committee on 4/18, being re-referred to Appropriations Committee.
Senate Bill 487: Prohibits “civil actions” against abortion providers | This bill, authored by Senator Toni Atkins, will protect California healthcare providers from automatic suspension from the Medi-Cal program if they are suspended from a Medicaid program in another state as a result of providing healthcare services that are legal in California. It will also prohibit health insurers from discriminating against or refusing to contract with a health care provider who may have been sanctioned in another state as a result of providing health care services that are prohibited or restricted in that state but are legal in California. SB 487 also strengthens civil protections and provides additional safeguards for California abortion providers and other entities and individuals that serve and support abortion patients that reside in states with hostile abortion laws. Status: Passed out of Senate Health Committee on 4/19, being heard in Senate Appropriations Committee today at 10 am.
Senate Bill 582: EHR Vendor Regulation | Recognizing the key role electronic health record (EHR) vendors will play in empowering physicians and other health care providers to comply with California’s Data Exchange Framework (DxF), this bill would require the state entity regulating physician compliance with data exchange regulations to regulate EHR vendors. Authored by Senator Josh Becker, SB 582 would authorize the California Health and Human Services agency to create policies and procedures for including EHR vendors in the legal structure of the framework and incorporate federal standards for the reasonableness of vendor fees. These changes will allow regulators to crack down on exorbitant pricing schemes and guarantee that physicians are not hampered in complying by vendor practices. Status: Passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/25 with no opposition, being heard in Senate Appropriations Committee 5/8 at 10 am.
Senate Bill 598: Prior Authorization | Senate Bill 598, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner, takes a wholistic approach to reforming the prior authorization process by requiring plans to create exemption programs that allow physicians who are practicing within the plan's criteria 90% of the time to receive a one-year exemption from the plan's prior authorization requirements. Additionally, the legislation will give a treating physician the right to have an appeal of a prior authorization denial conducted by a physician peer of the same or similar specialty. (Delegated physician groups would be exempt from these requirements, meaning the legislation will only apply to health plans.) SB 598 builds on the momentum CMA had last year with a similar bill (SB 250) championed by then Senator Richard Pan, M.D. Status: Passed out of Senate Appropriations Committee on 4/24, currently held in the suspense file.
Today, we launch our grassroots campaign in opposition to SB 784, a bill that would allow permanent exemptions to the Corporate Bar for healthcare districts which would set a dangerous precedent for physicians and patients across the state. We are hoping that EVERYONE will push this grassroots campaign to their members and ask for their engagement.
This bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriation Committee on May 8th at 10 am. The bill so far has had no “No” votes in any policy committee. We know that expressed concern from physicians in their district will help Senators understand why this bill must be stopped. Here is link to have your voice be heard! https://www.votervoice.net/CMADocs/campaigns/104612/respond
If you would like to get involved with advocacy, join LACPAC, or have any questions about the slate of bills, contact Henry Rogers, LACMA government relations consultant: email@example.com.