June 2019 Legislative Update

Originally posted on June 17, 2019

CCCC’s 2019 Priority List Includes Legislation Related to Naloxone, Cannabis, LTC Insurance, and the State’s Master Plan Aging

The Coalition for Compassionate Care closely monitors legislation related to palliative care and advance care planning. CCCC takes action in alignment with our advocacy partners to educate policymakers on the potential impact of proposed legislation on access to and quality of palliative care, as well as the ability of people to receive care consistent with their wishes.

We’re seeing that “palliative care” is becoming a hot topic among policymakers. Frequently, we’re finding that palliative care is being conflated with hospice and end of life. An important part of CCCC’s advocacy efforts is educating policymakers and advocates on an accurate understanding of palliative care. As a result of CCCC’s advocacy efforts, several of these bills have already been amended.

Here’s a brief summary of the legislation that CCCC is engaged in this year:

AB 714: Naloxone Co-Prescribing Requirements

As of January 1, 2019, prescribers are required, when prescribing specified opioid-related medications, to also offer a prescription for naloxone hydrochloride (brand name Narcan) or similar drug to reverse an opioid overdose. AB 714 (Wood) would provide an exemption from the naloxone requirement when prescribing for terminally ill patients, as well patients in an inpatient or outpatient setting where medications are ordered or administered while the patient is on site. The bill has an urgency clause, which means if the bill is passed, it will take effect immediately. CCCC supports AB 714 and is working closely with the California Medical Association (CMA) on this bill. Current text for AB 714 bill.>>

AB 305: Access to Cannabis in Healthcare Facilities

AB 305 (Huestro), the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law, would require a healthcare facility to allow a patient who is terminally ill to use medical cannabis within the healthcare facility, subject to certain restrictions.  Smoking or vaping of medical marijuana would not be allowed and emergency departments would be exempted. Hospitals would be allowed to suspend compliance with this bill if a federal regulatory agency initiates an enforcement action or otherwise notifies health facilities that they are prohibited from allowing the use of medical cannabis.  Current text for AB 305.>>

AB 567: Long-Term Care Insurance Task Force

AB 567 (Calderon), would establish a task force to evaluate options for designing a statewide, long-term care insurance program, including how the program would interact with Medi-Cal and other public programs, basic benefits, help to allow those with functional/cognitive limitations to stay in the community; and help offsetting costs incurred by adults with chronic and disabling conditions. The Task Force, led by the Commissioner, would have 15 members, including the directors of HHS and Aging, a certified actuary, a nongovernment health policy expert, one rep each from a LTC provider association, a senior or consumer organization; an employee representative organization; and the LTCI industry. The Commissioner would appoint six persons: one each representing hospice/palliative care providers; long-term health care professionals, IHSS providers, adult day services; RCFE and family caregivers.  No compensation or per diem for task force members. Requires report and recommendations to be issued before July 1, 2021. Current text for AB 567.>>

AB 888: Opioid prescriptions: Information – Nonpharmacological treatments for pain

AB 888 (Low) would extend the requirement which currently applies to pediatric patients to adult patients for a prescriber to discuss the risks associated with opioids and the availability of certain nonpharmacological treatments for pain.  Would require the prescriber to obtain written informed consent and to offer a referral to a provider of nonpharmacological treatments for pain. The bill currently exempts patients receiving hospice care from the provisions.  CCCC is working to educate the bill’s author regarding definitions of hospice and terminal illness.  Current text for AB 888.>>

State Master Plan on Aging

Governor Newsom has issued an executive order calling for the creation of Master Plan for Aging designed to serve as a blueprint that can be used by state government, local communities, private organizations and philanthropy to build environments that promote healthy aging. The Master Plan is to be developed by October 1, 2020.

Two bills currently making their way through the Legislature focus on shaping the development of the state’s Master Plan on Aging:

AB 1382 (Aguierra) would require the state to develop a Master Plan on Aging to include an implementation plan relative to both the paid workforce and unpaid family caregiver workforce as well as a requirement to develop recommendations for widespread training in geriatrics, palliative, and hospice care for all health care professionals. SB 228 (Jackson), would create a “Master Plan Director” to lead the planning process for a Master Plan on Aging. It would also establish an Aging Task Force, consisting of 13 members that would represent consumer advocates, health care, long-term services and supports, labor, transportation, housing, schools of gerontology, local government, and business. The Master Plan Director would provide leadership to the task force.  Current text for SB 228.>>