Legislation in California related to care for the seriously-ill has progressed and changed significantly throughout the years.

Below is a timeline of relevant California legislation enacted from 2000 to present day.

Bills marked with an asterisk (*) were sponsored by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California.

2016

SB 586 (Hernandez) – Children’s services
Description: This bill authorizes the California Children’s Services (CCS) program to establish a Whole Child Model program, under which managed care plans under county organized health systems or Regional Health Authority that elect, and are selected, to participate would provide CCS services under a capitated payment model to Medi-Cal and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) eligible CCS children and youth.

SCR 117 (Pan) – Relative to palliative care
This resolution encourages the State of California to study the status and importance of coordinated palliative care and to develop solutions, tools, and best practices for providing better patient-centered care and information to individuals with chronic diseases in California.

2015

AB 637 (Campos) – Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment forms *
This bill allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants – under the supervision of a physician and within their scope of practice – to sign POLST forms and make them actionable medical orders. Read the announcement.

SB 19 (Wolk) – Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment form: statewide registry *
This bill requires 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 collecting POLST forms received from health care providers. Read the announcement.

Pediatric palliative care advocacy and educationAB 187 (Bonita): Medi-Cal: managed care: California Children’s Services program
This bill extends the termination of the prohibition against services covered under the California Children’s Services program from being incorporated into a Medi-Cal managed care contract entered into after August 1, 1994, until January 1, 2017.

SR 17 (Jackson) – California Healthcare Decisions Day *
This resolution declared April 16, 2015, as “Healthcare Decisions Day” in California, and urged all Californians to communicate their healthcare preferences and execute an advance healthcare directive. It also urged those who are seriously ill to learn about the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) program. Read the announcement.

Goes into effect on June 9, 2016

ABx2 15 (Eggman, Alejo, and Mark Stone) – End of Life Option Act
This bill, until January 1, 2026, would enact the End of Life Option Act authorizing an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, as defined, to make a request for a drug prescribed pursuant to these provisions for the purpose of ending his or her life. Read the full bill here.

2014

AB 2044 (Rodriguez) – CPR in RCFEs
This bill, among other things, requires that Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) have at least one staff person trained in CPR and first aid on duty and on the premises at all times. The bill clarifies that this requirement shall not be construed to require staff to perform CPR on a resident who has requested to forego resuscitative measures as indicated by a POLST form or other DNR orders.

AB 2139 (Eggman) – End-of-life care: patient notification
Effective January 1, 2015, when a health care provider (an attending physician, surgeon, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner) makes a diagnosis that a patient has a terminal illness, the health care provider is 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 Assembly Bill 2139 (Chapter 568, Statutes 2014). Authority: Health and Safety Code (HSC) sections 442.5 and 442.7

SB 1004 (Hernandez) – Palliative and Hospice Care benefit under Medi-Cal *
SB 1004, which passed the legislature in 2014 with overwhelming and bipartisan support, is designed to expand access to palliative care services for beneficiaries of Medi-Cal managed care plans, which serve more than half of all people in the Medi-Cal program.

2013

AB 633 (Salas) – Emergency medical services: civil liability
This bill makes it so people who, in good faith and not for compensation, render emergency medical or nonmedical care or assistance at the scene of an emergency are not liable for civil damages resulting from any act or omission, except as specified.

2012

SB 135 (Hernandez) – Hospice Facilities
This bill creates a specific licensing category for inpatient hospices, known as congregate living health facility-hospices.

2011

AB 507 (Hayashi) – Pain Management
This bill removes legal barriers to pain management and practice in California.

SB 177 (Strickland) – Congregate Living Health Facilities
This bill creates a specific licensing category for inpatient hospices, known as congregate living health facility-hospices.

2008

Governor Schwarzenegger signed four bills into law in 2008 that affect the end of life. The laws became effective January 1, 2009.

AB 3000 (Wolk) – Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) *
This bill provides consumers with a new mechanism – Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) – to ensure that their wishes are honored regarding medical treatment towards the end of life.

AB 2747 (Berg) – End-of-Life Care
When a health care provider makes a diagnosis of a terminal illness, the provider shall, upon the patient’s request, provide comprehensive information and counseling regarding legal end-of-life options.

AB 2565 (Eng) – Brain Death
Requires hospitals to adopt a policy for providing family or next of kin with a reasonable period of time in the event a patient is declared brain dead. During this period the hospital is required to continue cardiopulmonary support.

SB 1196 (Runner) – Coroner Inquiries
If a decedent was been attended to by a hospice nurse within 20 days prior to death, the coroner does not have to review the death.

2007

AB 1689 (Leiber) – Revised Uniform Anatomical Gifts Act

2006

AB 1363 (Jones) – Omnibus Conservatorship & Guardianship Reform Act of 2006
AB 1745 (Chan) – Pediatric Palliative Care Benefit

2005

Pediatrics and palliative care

AB 1745 (Chan) – Pediatric palliative care benefit
This bill led to the development of the Partners For Children Pediatric Palliative Bare Benefit under Medi-Cal, a program that allows eligible children and their families to receive palliative care services during the course of the child’s illness while concurrently pursuing curative treatment for the child’s life limiting or life threatening medical condition.

This legislation and the resulting program was championed by the Children’s Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition.

AB 1676 (Richman) – Advance Directives and Terminal Illness Decisions

2004

AB 1299 (Daucher) – Hospice Licensure
AB 2352 (Jackson) – Residential care facilities for persons with chronic life-threatening illness
AB 2445 (Canciamilla) – Advance health care directives: registry

2003

AB 1166 (Berg) – Residential Care Facilities and Terminally-ill Residents

2002

AB 1946 (Corbett) – Written materials for patients
AB 1961 (Canciamilla) – Residential care facilities for the elderly; terminally ill persons

2001

AB 1278 (Wayne) – Health Care Decisions
SB 587 (Soto) – Critically or Terminally Ill Patients: Transfers
SB 751 (Speier) – Hospitals: Surrogate Decisionmakers

2000

AB 891 (Alquist) – Advance Directives
AB 892 (Alquist) – Hospice Services