CSAC Bulletin Article

New Laws Impacting Counties – Health and Human Services

October 22, 2020

Governor Newsom met the September 30 deadline to take action on measures approved by the Legislature and delivered to his desk. To keep counties informed of new laws that impact them, CSAC will be publishing a series of articles to spotlight those laws in each policy area. This week, the Health and Human Services policy area provides information on new laws affecting health, human services, and behavioral health.

The new laws listed below become effective January 1, 2021 unless otherwise noted.

Budget Bill

SB 115 (Budget) This budget bill included budget bill language (BBL) that CSAC supported related to the Realignment backfill. The Department of Finance worked closely with CSAC to draft this language in accordance with an agreement reached in July. The BBL requires the remainder of the $750 million Realignment backfill amount that was included in the state budget to be distributed to counties within 15 days of the legislation being chaptered so that counties can preserve the safety net. The language also defines the existing requirement for county compliance with COVID-19 public health orders and maintains a mechanism for the Administration to withhold funding if a county is out of compliance. As a budget bill, this bill took effect immediately when signed on September 9. Counties have received $750 million in Realignment backfill funding thus far.

Emergency Medical Services

AB 1544 (Gipson) Community Paramedicine or Triage to Alternate Destination Act. This measure authorizes a local EMS agency to develop a community paramedicine or triage to alternate destination pilot program to provide community paramedicine services. Local agencies have the right of first refusal to participate, and the pilot program sunsets on January 1, 2024.

AB 1945 (Salas) Emergency services: first responders. This bill adds statuary language defining a first responder as an employee of the state or a local public agency who provides emergency response services, including peace officers, fire fighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, public safety dispatchers, or public safety telecommunications under the California Emergency Services Act.

Health

AB 890 (Wood) Nurse practitioners: scope of practice: practice without standardized procedures. This bill establishes the Nurse Practitioner Advisory Committee to advise the Board of Registered Nursing regarding nurse practitioner (NP) issues, including disciplinary actions. The bill also expands the functions a NP may perform if they satisfy specified certification and documentation requirements. The bill requires the Board of Registered Nursing to define standards for NPs to perform additional duties independently.

AB 1710 (Wood) Pharmacy practice: vaccines. This measure will authorize pharmacies to independently administer a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

AB 2037 (Wicks) Health facilities: notices. Assembly Bill 2037 requires hospitals providing emergency medical services to provide at least 180-day notice of any plans to reduce or eliminate emergency services. Health facilities will be required to provide at least 120-day notice prior to closure and 90-day notice of any elimination or relocation of services. The bill identifies requirements for the required public notice.

AB 2077 (Ting) Hypodermic needles and syringes. This bill repeals state law requiring a prescription for the sale of hypodermic needles or syringes. It will extend the sunset, until 01/01/2026, requiring pharmacies that furnish nonprescription syringes to provide written information or verbal counseling upon the sale on how to access drug treatment, access testing and treatment for HIV and hepatitis C, and how to safely dispose of sharps waste.

AB 2520 (Chiu) Access to medical records. This bill will expand the entities that may receive a free copy of a patient’s medical records from a health care facility to an employee of a nonprofit legal services entity representing the patient. The bill also expands the definition of a health care provider to include speech pathologists, audiologists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

AB 2537 (Rodriguez) Personal protective equipment: health care employees. This bill requires public and private employers who employ individuals providing direct patient care in a general acute care hospital setting, to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees and ensure its use. The bill also requires these employers to maintain a stockpile of PPE beginning April 1, 2021. The bill also contains a reporting requirement of weekly PPE consumption.

SB 275 (Pan) Health Care and Essential Workers: personal protective equipment. This bill requires in January 2023 or one year after the adoption of specified regulations (whichever is later), CDPH in coordination with other state agencies to, upon an appropriation and as necessary, establish a personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile to ensure an adequate supply of PPE for health care workers and essential workers. Stockpiles are to be sufficient for a 90-day supply during a pandemic or other health emergency. Health care providers are required to maintain a PPE stockpile based on certain surge consumption thresholds during a pandemic or other health emergency. The bill also requires the establishment of PPE Advisory Committee and specifies membership, including a representative from an association representing counties.

SB 932 (Wiener) Communicable diseases: data collection. This bill requires any electronic tool used by a local health officer for the purpose of reporting cases of communicable diseases to the California Department of Public Health to include the capacity to collect and report data relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program. The bill would also require a health care provider that knows a case or suspected case of specified communicable diseases to report to the health officer for the jurisdiction in which the patient resides the patient’s sexual orientation and gender identity, if known.

Behavioral Health

AB 465 (Eggman) Mental health workers: supervision. This bill requires mental health professionals in programs collaborating with law enforcement, or in place of law enforcement, responding to mental health emergency calls be supervised by a licensed mental health professional, as defined. Additionally the bill specifies that law enforcement collaborations with county behavioral health departments must meet county department supervision requirements.

AB 1976 (Eggman) Mental health services: assisted outpatient treatment. This bill requires all counties offer assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) programs– commonly known as Laura’s Law – and eliminates the current Laura’s Law sunset. Specifically, the bill will require county Boards to opt-out of offering AOT services through a public resolution and expand the individuals allowed to petition the court for AOT services. This statutory requirement for counties begins July, 1, 2021.

AB 1766 (Bloom) Licensed adult residential facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly: data collection: residents with a serious mental disorder. This bill will require the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to annually, as of May 1, 2021, send reports to county behavioral health departments of all licensed adult residential facilities (ARFs) within the county that accept the federal supplemental security rate and accept residents with a serious mental disorder, as well as the number of licensed beds at each facility. As of May 1, 2021 CDSS will also be required to quarterly report the ARFs that closed permanently and the reason for closure, to the county behavioral health department. Additionally, CDSS will be required to inform county behavioral health departments, within three business days, when CDSS becomes aware of a potential ARF closure.

AB 2112 (Ramos) Suicide Prevention. This bill establishes the Office of Suicide Prevention within the California Department of Public Health. The duties of the office will provide best practices on suicide prevention, conduct statewide assessments of suicide prevention polices, and report on suicide reduction rates. The bill expands on the coordination and integration of suicide prevention with existing efforts to utilize data to target high-risk populations, such as, youth, Native American youth, older adults, veterans, and LGBTQ people.

AB 2265 (Quirk-Silva) Mental Health Services Act. Use of funds for substance use disorder treatment. AB 2265 will permit counties the use of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Specifically, the expansion of MHSA funding will be for SUD prevention and services for eligible adults and children with co-occurring mental health and SUDs. Counties will be required to submit a report to the Department of Health Care Services annually, beginning January 1, 2022, of the number of people assessed and treated for co-occurring conditions.

AB 3242 (Irwin) Mental health: involuntary commitment. This bill authorizes an examination, assessment, or evaluation that is authorized by current law as it relates to the involuntary commitment and treatment of individuals under the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act, to be conducted using telehealth.

SB 803 (Beall) Mental health services: peer support specialist certification. This bill establishes a statewide behavioral health peer support specialist certification program. Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) by July 1, 2022, to establish the requirements for the statewide peer support requirements. DHCS will need to seek federal waivers that will allow the state to receive federal funding for peer support services in counties that opt-in and agree to provide the non-federal share.

SB 855 (Wiener) Health coverage: mental health or substance use disorders. This bill on behavioral health parity will require health care plans to provide coverage for the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of mental health and substance use disorders; prohibit a health care service plan or health insurer from limiting benefits or coverage for chronic or pervasive mental health and substance use disorders to short-term or acute treatment; specify that treatment include outpatient services, inpatient services, intermediate services, and prescription drugs in specified circumstances; and authorize civil action against a health care service  plan or health insurer for violation of the law.

Child Support

AB 2325 (Carrillo) Child support: suspension. This bill reestablishes the suspension of child support for noncustodial parents incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized for more than 90 days, with certain exceptions. This suspension program was eliminated as of January 1, 2020. With the reestablishment of the program until January 1, 2023, child support will be suspended until the first day of the first full month a noncustodial parent is released.

In-Home Supportive Services

SB 596 (Stern) In-home supportive services: additional higher energy allowance.  SB 596 authorizes county welfare departments to inform applicants and recipients for In-Home Supportive Services benefits of their potential eligibility for higher energy allowances using materials provided by an electrical corporation that is serving the county. The county welfare department may also inform applicants and recipients about the ability to register to receive any advanced notifications that are provided by a public utility when the public utility plans to deenergize portions of the electrical distribution system or in an emergency.

Homelessness

AB 2174 (Gallagher) Homeless multidisciplinary personnel teams. This bill with authorizes Yuba and Sutter counties to establish a joint homeless adult and family multidisciplinary personnel team.

AB 2275 (Nazarian) State Armories: homeless shelters: security. This bill will permit a county the use of a state armory located within the county as a temporary shelter, after the county requests law enforcement officers to make periodic visits every night the armory is in use. Current law requires counties to obtain a license for the use of state armories.

Foster Care/Child Welfare

AB 1929 (Rubio) Child abuse and neglect reporting. This bill eliminates the January 1, 2021 sunset date for county welfare departments (CWDs) that initiated an internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect for mandated reporters. CWDs are required to decommission their internet-based reporting system when CDSS has a statewide system.

AB 1979 (Friedman) Foster youth: housing. This bill improves housing supports for non-minor dependents in extended foster care by expanding the definition of a supervised independent setting to include transitional living placements, supporting county placement agencies in their evaluation of housing needs and resources for non-minor dependents reentering extended foster care, and restructuring the transitional housing placement payment approval process.

AB 2741 (Rubio) Children’s advocacy centers. This bill authorizes counties to use child advocacy centers and representatives for a multidisciplinary response in investigating reported cases of child abuse or neglect. The county must ensure the advocacy center meets specified standards defined in statute.

AB 2944 (Stone) Foster care. AB 2944 assists with implementation of the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), including changes related to resource family reference checks.

SB 907 (Archuleta) Child abuse or neglect investigation: military notification. This bill requires county welfare departments to attempt to determine if a parent involved in a child abuse investigation is serving in the Unites States military and would authorize a county to develop an MOU with military installations for investigations of allegations of child abuse and neglect.

CalFresh/CalWORKs

AB 3073 (Wicks) CalFresh: preenrollment. This bill requires CDSS to issue an all-county letter (ACL) informing counties of recommendations for partnering with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as county jails to pre-enroll incarcerated individuals for CalFresh. CDSS is required to issue the ACL no later than September 1, 2022 which will identify the required documentation needed for the individuals to be enrolled in CalFresh upon release. The ACL will also encourage counties to have eligibility workers enter state prisons and county jails to determine eligibility for individuals set to release within 45 days.

SB 1065 (Hertzberg) CalWORKs: homeless assistance. This bill updates provisions for CalWORKs homeless assistance approval. Specifically, SB 1065 exempts CalWORKs homeless assistance from the $100 liquid resource limit, eliminates requirement to provide the reason for an eviction, requires temporary homeless assistance be granted or denied immediately upon an application, allows approval for homeless assistance for any state or federally declared disaster, and additional modifications to the homeless assistance requirements and approval process.

SB 1232 (Glazer) CalWORKs: postsecondary education. This bill requires county welfare departments to issue a payment to CalWORKs welfare-to-work participants who are making satisfactory progress in an educational activity at a publicly funded postsecondary educational institution. The payment shall be between $175 to $500 per quarter or semester and the funds will be considered a payment for books and supplies.

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