This year was an interesting one for the California Legislature, passing a number of new laws in the midst of a pandemic that affected health care, resulting in considerable operational challenges. The California Medical Association has published a summary of the most significant new health laws of interest to physicians. While the number of new laws overall is significantly reduced as compared to other years, there was a strong focus on the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, allied health professionals, mental health, and workforce and labor issues.  

Some of the more notable laws going into effect in 2021 include:

  • Providers must now report sexual orientation/gender identity data, if known, for COVID-19 and other communicable diseases to better understand impacts on the state’s LGBTQ population

  • Hospitals must maintain at least a three-month stockpile of personal protective equipment for their workers or face fines.

  • Employers must provide written notice within 24 hours to workers who might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19

  • Doctors are required to submit an electronic form to state public health officials when approving a medical exemption that allows a child to skip one or more vaccines otherwise required to attend school.

  • Private insurance companies must fully cover all medically necessary mental health and substance abuse disorder treatments under the same terms as other medical conditions.

For more details, see "Significant New California Laws of Interest to Physicians for 2021."

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