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With a strong focus on healthcare coverage, drug prescribing, public health and mental health issues, the California Legislature had an active year, passing many new laws affecting healthcare. With interest to physicians, the California Medical Association has published a summary of the most significant new health laws going into effect next year. 

SB 697 (Caballero) – Physician assistants: practice agreement: supervision

CMA Position: Support

Revises the Physician Assistant Practice Act to, among other things, authorize practice agreements between physician assistants and multiple physicians, replace delegated services agreements and remove requirements for medical chart review. Requires that the practice agreement establish policies and procedures to identify a supervising physician for a physician assistant rendering services in a general acute care hospital.

AB 149 (Cooper) – Controlled substances: prescriptions

CMA Position: Sponsor

Delays implementation of requirement under AB 1753 (Low 2018) for prescription forms for controlled substance prescriptions to have a uniquely serialized number until January 1, 2021. In the meantime, this bill ensures that physicians can use prescription pads obtained before or after January 1, 2019. Also requires the serialized number to be able to be used as a barcode that can be scanned by dispensers.

AB 528 (Low) – Controlled substances: CURES database

CMA Position: Support

Requires a dispensing pharmacy, clinic or other dispenser to report information to CURES no more than one working day after a controlled substance is dispensed, except as specified. Adds Schedule V controlled substances to be reported to CURES. Effective January 1, 2021. Makes change to check CURES in response to implementation issued and administrative burdens, including but not limited to delegate access and clarification on exemptions, raised by providers effective July 1, 2021.

AB 714 (Wood) – Opioid prescription drugs: prescribers

CMA Position: Support

Amends requirement implemented under AB 2760 (Wood 2018) that requires a prescriber, as defined, to offer a prescription for naloxone hydrochloride or another drug approved by the FDA for the complete or partial reversal of opioid depression to a patient when certain conditions are present and to provide education on overdose prevention and the use of naloxone hydrochloride or another drug to the patient and specified others, except as specified. Clarifies that the law applies only when prescribing an opioid or a benzodiazepine. Applies if an opioid medication is prescribed within a year from when a benzo is dispensed to a patient. Clarifies that required education is specific to opioid overdose prevention. Allows for patient to decline the education. Does not apply when medications are administered in a facility or when medications are prescribed to a patient who is terminally ill.

AB 824 (Wood) – Business: preserving access to affordable drugs

CMA Position: Support

Provides that an agreement resolving or settling, on a final or interim basis, a patent infringement claim, in connection with the sale of a pharmaceutical product, is to be presumed to have anticompetitive effects if a nonreference drug filer receives anything of value, as defined, from another company asserting patent infringement and if the nonreference drug filer agrees to limit or forgo research, development, manufacturing, marketing, or sales of the nonreference drug filer’s product for any period of time, as specified and subject to various exceptions.

AB 241 (Kamlager-Dove) – Implicit bias: continuing education: requirements

CMA Position: Neutral

Requires all continuing education courses for a physician and surgeon to contain curriculum that includes specified instruction in the understanding of implicit bias in medical treatment by January 1, 2022. Requires associations accrediting continuing education courses to develop standards to comply with these provisions.

(Amends Business and Professions Code §§2190.1 and 3524.5, and adds Business and Professions Code §2736.5)

AB 845 (Maienschein) – Continuing education: physicians and surgeons: maternal

mental health

CMA Position: Neutral

Requires the Medical Board, in determining the continuing education requirements for physicians and surgeons, to consider including a course in maternal mental health and to update any curriculum to account for new research.

SB 377 (McGuire) – Juveniles: psychotropic medications: medical information

CMA Position: Neutral

Current law requires the Medical Board of California to review specified data provided by the DHCS and the State Department of Social Services regarding Medi-Cal physicians and their prescribing patterns of psychotropic medications and related services for dependents and wards of the juvenile court in order to determine if any potential violations of law or excessive prescribing of psychotropic medications inconsistent with the standard of care exist and, if warranted, to conduct an investigation. This bill requires, by September 1, 2020, the forms developed by the Judicial Council to include a request for authorization by the child or the child’s attorney to release the child’s medical information to the Medical Board of California in order to ascertain whether there is excessive prescribing of psychotropic medication inconsistent with a specified standard of care.

For the full list of laws, Click Here.

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