Relevant Enacted Legislation

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.


AB 2288 (Choi) Advance Directive & Mental Health Treatment
Existing law, the Health Care Decisions Law, authorizes an adult having capacity to give an individual health care instruction. AB 2288 clarifies that health care decisions under those provisions include mental health treatment and revises the statutory advance health care directive form to clarify that a person may include instructions relating to mental health treatment.

AB 2338 (Gipson) Healthcare Decision-Maker Hierarcy
This bill clarifies that if an adult patient lacks the capacity to make health care decisions, the following legally recognized health care decisionmakers may make health care decisions on the patient's behalf, in the following descending order of priority: a) The patient's surrogate chosen by the patient as provided; b) The patient's agent pursuant to an advance health care directive or a power of attorney for health care; c) The conservator or guardian.

If an adult patient lacks the capacity to make a health care decision, but does not have one of the above health care decisionmakers, a surrogate may be chosen from any of the following persons: The spouse or domestic partner of the patient; An adult child of the patient; A parent of the patient; An adult sibling of the patient; 
An adult grandchild of the patient; An adult relative or close personal friend.

SB 1139 (Kamlager) Prison Visitation (serious illness)
This bill requires the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to make changes in policy related to prisoners who have been hospitalized due to a serious or critical medical condition, including making emergency phone calls available, providing support for a completing medical power of attorney and other forms, informing persons covered by the medical release of information form of the prisoner's health status, and visitation. 



SB 353 (Roth): Extends Hospice Palliative Care 
Extends SB 294 to January 1, 2025. SB 294 (2017) authorizes a licensed hospice to provide palliative care services concurrently with curative treatment to a person who does not have a terminal prognosis or who has not elected to receive hospice services only by licensed and certified hospices.

SB 380 (Eggman) End of Life Option Act Update
Makes significant changes to California’s End of Life Option Act (EoLOA), including reducing the required waiting period between a patient’s oral requests from 15 days to 48 hours. The changes go into effect on January 1, 2022. 


AB 528 (Low): Controlled substances: CURES database
Makes changes to the Controlled Substances Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). Includes exemption for prescriptions for the terminally ill: “(5) If a health care practitioner prescribes, orders, administers, or furnishes a controlled substance to a patient, who is terminally ill, as defined in. subdivision (c) of Section 11159.2.”

AB 714 (Wood) Opioid prescription drugs: prescribers
Clarifies and narrows the application of current law requiring prescribers to offer a prescription for naloxone hydrochloride. Expressly exempts prescriptions for patients in inpatient or outpatient facilities and  terminally ill patients. (Urgency clause effective immediately.)


AB 282 (Jones-Sawyer) – Aiding, Advising or Encouraging Suicide: Exemption from Prosecution
Prohibits a person whose actions are compliant with the End of Life Option Act from being prosecuted for deliberately aiding, advising, or encouraging suicide.

AB 3211 (Kalra) Advance Health Care Directives – Organ Donation
Revises the form language on the Advance Health Care Directive to provide a general check-off box to allow, upon death, the donation of all organs, tissue, and body parts to be donated for purposes of transplantation, therapy, research, and education.


SB 294 (Hernandez) – Hospice Palliative Care *
Effective January 1, 2018, this bill explicitly allows a licensed hospice to provide palliative care services concurrently with curative treatment to a person who does not have a terminal prognosis or who has not elected to receive hospice services. As signed into law, SB 294 essentially creates a “pilot” to observe and measure the effects of hospice providers offering palliative care services. Sunsets January 1, 2022.


SB 586 (Hernandez) – Children’s services Pediatric palliative care advocacy and education
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.


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.

AB 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.

ABx2 15 (Eggman, Alejo, and 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. Went into effect June 9, 2016.



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


AB 1689 (Leiber) – Revised Uniform Anatomical Gifts Act


AB 1363 (Jones) – Omnibus Conservatorship & Guardianship Reform Act of 2006
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


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


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


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


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


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