California state capitol

Proposed legislation: CCCC sponsoring POLST registry legislation

On December 1, 2014, California Senator Lois Wolk introduced Senate Bill 19, a bill that would require the California Health and Human Services Agency to establish and operate a statewide registry system, to be known as the California POLST Registry, for the purpose of increasing access to completed POLST forms.

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) is sponsoring this bill. It is possible additional bills related to POLST registries may be introduced over the next few months.

On December 3, the California HealthCare Foundation hosted a very informative legislative briefing on a POLST registry for California. You can read Judy Thomas’ review of the briefing here, as well as an initial analysis of why CCCC believes a registry is the next logical step to increasing the effectiveness of POLST.

Gov. Brown mentions palliative care in annual state budget

The process for creating the state budget begins every January when the governor releases his proposed budget. The initial budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown on January 9, 2015, includes two references to palliative care. Specifically, in the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) portion of the state budget, the Governor proposes:

  • Expansion of pediatric palliative care
    In 2006, DHCS developed an 11-county pediatric palliative care pilot project intended to improve the quality of life for children with life-threatening illnesses. After a recent evaluation, this effort has proven to be successful and the Governor’s budget proposes to expand it to seven additional counties.
  • Implementation of SB 1004:
    With the implementation of SB 1004 (Hernandez) (see below) at the beginning of 2015, DHCS is requesting limited-term staffing to assist DHCS with implementing the provisions of the bill.

View the full DHCS budget here (PDF).

Enacted legislation:

Senate Bill 1004 (Hernandez) – Palliative care and Medi-Cal managed care
In a nutshell, SB 1004 requires Medi-Cal to direct the Medi-Cal managed care plans to make to palliative care available. Learn more about SB 1004 and CCCC’s involvement in this recent blog post.

Assembly Bill 2139 (Eggman) – End-of-life care: patient notification
This bill amends California’s existing “right to know” legislation. Specifically, as of January 1, 2015, when a health care provider (attending physician, surgeon, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner) makes a diagnosis that a patient has a terminal illness, the health care provider is now required to notify the patient or, when applicable, another person authorized to make health care decisions for the patient, of the right to receive comprehensive information and counseling regarding legal end-of-life options. This All Facilities Letter (AFL) provides notice of the enactment of AB 2139 (Chapter 568, Statutes 2014). Authority: Health and Safety Code (HSC) sections 442.5 and 442.7

Policy Trends: Supported decision-making

CCCC has encountered circumstances where a person with a developmental disability was not supported to understand and exercise the choices they have when it comes to making healthcare decisions.

Recently we have undertaken an effort to understand more about the conservatorship of people with developmental disabilities, with the aim of fostering greater self-determination and empowerment of this population throughout life as well as at the end of life.

Look forward to the release of a new white paper about our research on supported decision-making.

February 2015 webinar on public policy

Want to know more about what’s happening with public policy and palliative care? Watch for CCCC’s Palliative Care Access Project (PCAP) February webinar, which will be devoted to public policy and palliative care. If you want to be notified about this webinar once a date is set, please click here and subscribe to the PCAP email list.

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