Governor Newsom Takes Final Action on Health and Human Services Bills
October 14, 2021
October 10 was the deadline for final bill action by Governor Newsom. Following is an update on major bills of interest or concern for the Health and Human Services policy area that were among the 800+ bills awaiting action by Governor Gavin Newsom. For additional questions, please contact Farrah McDaid Ting, Justin Garrett, or Roshena Duree.
Bills Signed by Governor Newsom:
AB 451 (Arambula) – Health care facilities: treatment of psychiatric emergency medical conditions. CSAC dropped opposition of AB 451 after Assemblymember Arambula addressed county concerns and removed county-owned and operated facilities from the bill. AB 451 will require a psychiatric unit within a general acute care hospital, an acute psychiatric hospital, and a psychiatric health facility (PHF) to treat any patients who presents with an emergency psychiatric condition, regardless of whether the facility has an emergency department. The bill was approved by the Assembly and enrolled on September 8. CSAC remained neutral on AB 451 after dropping our opposition. AB 451 was signed by the Governor last week.
AB 636 (Maienschein) – Protecting elder and dependent adults from abuse. CSAC supported AB 636 which will allow Adult Protective Services (APS) programs to share information with additional entities to help prevent and investigate instances of elder abuse. AB 636 will explicitly allow APS programs to share information with a federal law enforcement agency and local code enforcement agencies under certain circumstances to help investigate instances of abuse and protect the health and safety of elder and dependent adults. This measure will strengthen the APS program so that counties can effectively respond to the increased and complex reports of abuse for this growing population. Governor Newsom signed AB 636 last week.
AB 640 (Cooley) – Extended Foster Care
CSAC supported AB 640 that will allow counties to establish federal Title IV-E eligibility for many youth who do not currently meet that eligibility as they enter Extended Foster Care. This measure, sponsored by the County Welfare Directors Association, will provide some needed fiscal relief for counties for the Extended Foster Care program, which has not been fully funded as intended when the program was established. The Extended Foster Care program has led to improved outcomes for foster youth up to age 21 and this eligibility redetermination would bring in additional federal resources and be done without any interruption in services or supports to these youth. The Governor signed AB 640 into law.
SB 395 (Caballero) – Excise tax: electronic cigarettes: Health Careers Opportunity Grant Program: Small and Rural Hospital Relief Program. CSAC supported SB 395 which will impose an additional excise tax on all electronic cigarette products sold in the state. Portions of the new funding will support local county First 5 Commissions and local health jurisdictions. Additionally, the bill establishes the Health Careers Opportunity Grant Program to support access by underrepresented students from disadvantaged backgrounds to postsecondary health profession programs. SB 395 provides an opportunity to reduce the consumption of electronic cigarette products while funding public health, early childhood development programs, and health professions in California. The Governor signed SB 395 on October 4.
Bills Vetoed By Governor Newsom:
AB 226 (Ramos) – Children’s crisis psychiatric residential treatment facilities. CSAC supported AB 226 that would have reclassified existing children’s crisis residential programs in the state as children’s crisis psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs) and transferred responsibility for licensing PRTFs from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). This technical designation was intended to increase the number of PRTFs operating in the state to provide non-hospital step-down care to children in crisis. AB 226 would also have allowed counties access to federal reimbursement for room and board costs at PRTFs. CSAC supported AB 226, which was passed by the Legislature unanimously on September 10, but was vetoed by the Governor last week. The Governor’s veto message is available here.