California Policy: POLST Registry, Advance Directive Database, Palliative Care Benefits Under Medi-Cal, and More

Originally posted on March 20, 2015

When it comes to public policy, a lot has happened in the last few weeks.

The deadline for bill introduction was Feb. 27, and the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California has been reviewing bills to determine which ones are relevant to our mission.

Here is what you need to know…

Proposed Legislation

NEW AB 637: Bill would allow NP/PAs to sign POLST
The California Medical Association announced they are sponsoring AB 637 (Campos), a bill that would allow a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant acting under the supervision of a physician, and acting within their scope of practice, to sign a POLST form. CCCC is co-sponsoring this bill.

SB 19: Statewide POLST registry set for hearing on April 8
SB 19 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 collecting POLST forms received from health care providers.

SB 19 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health Committee on April 8. CCCC will be testifying in support, and needs your help by sending letters of support. Here is how you can send a letter of support.

NEW SR 17: California Health Care Decisions Day
CCCC is proud to sponsor SR 17 (Jackson), which would declare April 16, 2015, as “Health Care Decisions Day” in California. The resolution urges all Californians to communicate their healthcare preferences and execute advance health care directive. It also urges those who are seriously ill to learn about the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) program. Senator Jackson is presenting SR 17 on the Senate Floor on April 9.

California Health Care Decisions Day coincides with a nationwide effort to declare April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day. Learn more about the national efforts at

NEW AB 791: Electronic health records—advance directives
Assemblymember Cooley introduced AB 791 on Feb. 26. This bill would require the State Medicaid Health Information Technology Plan to specify the process by which patient advance directive information would be managed, including security, storage, printing, and display of the patient’s information.

See the full list of bills CCCC is monitoring»

Regulation in Development

SB 1004: Palliative Care benefit under Medi-Cal
In February, the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California continued to work with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on implementation of SB 1004, and to help shape the standards by which Medi-Cal will ensure access to palliative care.

Some of our key activities included:
  • Hosting a webinar focused on palliative care and public policy, featuring Sen. Ed Hernandez, author of SB 1004.
  • Participating in the first SB 1004 stakeholder meeting in Sacramento. Meeting participants shared information on palliative care and other efforts to help inform the policy development process.
Next SB 1004 meeting:
DHCS is hosting a webinar to discuss proposed models and data regarding SB 1004 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 13. The data presented will help inform DHCS about the population targeted to receive palliative care services under the new law, and webinar participants will be able to provide input and feedback on the information shared. Register for the webinar here»

Get SB 1004 updates sent straight to your inbox.
Sign up for CCCC’s SB 1004 email list.

Upcoming Policy Events

Sec. Dooley speaking at CCCC 7th Annual Summit on Wednesday, April 15
Next month Sec. Diana Dooley will discuss “the state of palliative care in California” at the CCCC 7th Annual Summit in Sacramento on April 15, 2015. Dooley is Secretary of the California Department of Health and Human Services Agency, appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2010, and has been a big supporter of quality end-of-life and palliative care.

Tickets for the CCCC 7th Annual Summit are going fast. Learn more about the summit at

Stay up to date on legislation impacting palliative care in California: subscribe to the CCCC Public Policy email list.