Gov. Brown Signs SB 1004, Medi-Cal to Cover Palliative Care for Adults

Originally posted on September 26, 2014

By Judy Thomas, JD, Executive Director
Coalition for Compassionate Care of California

Yesterday afternoon California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1004 (Hernandez), which will require Medi-Cal to establish standards and provide technical assistance to Medi-Cal managed care plans and ensure the delivery of palliative care services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

SB 1004 requires that the implementation of this bill be done in a manner that is cost-neutral to the state on an ongoing basis, and that these provisions may be implemented by Medi-Cal through an “All Plan Letter” or similar instructions.

The signing of SB 1004 is a significant milestone for palliative care in California and a sign that our voices as advocates for palliative care are being heard!

SB 1004 was supported by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California.

Gov. Brown also signed Assembly Bill 2139 (Eggman), which requires a healthcare provider, when making a diagnosis of a terminal illness, to notify the patient or the patient’s agent, if applicable, of the right to comprehensive information and counseling regarding end-of-life care options.

Assembly Bill 2044 (Rodriguez) is still on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. This bill would, among other things, require 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.