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CAFP Priority Legislation Signed by the Governor


Aside from the major successes achieved through the State Budget this year (e.g., $100 million for the Song-Brown Physician Training Program, nearly $1 billion for Medi-Cal provider payment), 13 CAFP-supported bills were signed by Governor Jerry Brown, including bills that address pharmaceutical pricing, reduced physician administrative burden, improved CURES functionality and student loans:


AB 40 (Santiago) will allow Electronic Health Records to interact with the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) database, creating easier access to patient prescription information for physicians.


AB 340 (Arambula) – This bill would require that screening services under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program include screening for trauma. The goal of this bill is to identify those children who suffered trauma early in life and start providing them with preventative services. Evidence suggests that trauma early on in a child's life is directly coordinated to the development of a number of illnesses later in life including depression, anxiety, heart disease, and high risk of alcohol and substance abuse.


AB 461 (Muratsuchi) ensures that gross income does not include any loan amount canceled or repaid by the United States Secretary of Education. Several student loan forgiveness programs are offered by the U.S. Department of Education, which cancel outstanding loan debt once a maximum repayment period has been reached. Students frequently have a partial financial hardship, meaning that the standard loan payment would exceed a certain portion of their discretionary income. These individuals usually do not possess the financial means to make full or regular payments on their loans and enroll in these programs to get a lowered payment immediately to help them stay afloat. AB 461 would ensure that individuals will not incur a state tax liability once their loans are forgiven under these federal programs.


AB 508 (Santiago) – This new law prohibits potentially career-threatening disciplinary action against medical professionals by repealing the ability for a licensing board to deny a license to an applicant or deny renewal of a license if he or she is in default on a United States Department of Health and Human Services education loan, including a Health Education Assistance Loan.


AB 841 (Weber) – This bill would prohibit a school, school district or charter school from advertising food or beverages during the schoolday and from participating in a corporate incentive program that rewards pupils with free or discounted foods or beverages that do not comply with nutritional standards.


AB 1048 (Arambula) will allow a pharmacist to dispense a Schedule II controlled substance as a partial fill if requested by the patient or the prescribing physician. It would also remove the requirement that pain be assessed at the same time as vital signs.


SB 17 (Hernandez) will require pharmaceutical companies to notify the state and health insurers if they plan to increase the price of a drug (with wholesale cost of $40 or higher) more than 16 percent over two years and explain the reasons for the price increase. The new law will also require companies to report the introduction of high-priced drugs to market, explain their marketing plans and indicate if the drug is an improvement on already available. Finally, it requires health plans to report on the drugs with the highest annual cost increases and document how much drug spending factors into premium rates.


SB 54 (De León) seeks to limit the ways in which local law enforcement officials participate in immigrant deportation efforts initiated by the federal government. Aggressive action by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, including arrests in courthouses, schools and health facilities, have created a chilling effect, deterring immigrants from seeking needed services, such as live-saving medical treatment or reporting crimes. SB 54 will protect law-abiding individuals from undue persecution and improve their ability to access the services they need.


SB 223 (Atkins) – This bill, known as the Health Care Non-Discrimination Act, will require all health plans in California to comply with non-discrimination measures, strengthen consumer protections and align language access standards regardless of future changes to the Affordable Care Act.


SB 374 (Newman) This new law requires large group, small group and individual health insurance policy to provide all covered mental health and substance use disorder benefits in the compliance with the Paul Wellstone and Pete Dominici Mental Health Parity and Equity Act of 2008 and all relevant rules, regulations and guidance issued pursuant to the federal Public Health Service Act.


SB 536 (Pan) – CAFP supported SB 1006 (Wolk) last year, which created and funded a Firearm Violence Research Center within the UC system. SB 536 would require the Department of Justice to share information relating to gun violence restraining orders with researchers at the newly established Center.


SB 554 (Stone) – This new law allows physician assistants and nurse practitioners to furnish or order buprenorphine when supervised by, or working in collaboration with, a licensed physician. This new service may only be done in compliance with the provisions of the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act and after at least 24 hours of training specific to: (1) Opioid maintenance and detoxification; (2) Appropriate clinical use of all drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid use disorder; (3) Initial and periodic patient assessments, including substance use monitoring; (4) Individualized treatment planning, overdose reversal, and relapse prevention; (5) Counseling and recovery support services; (6) Staffing roles and considerations; (7) Diversion control and other best practices.


SR 37 (Hertzberg) – This Senate Resolution declares November 2017 as Diabetes Awareness Month and encourages individuals to seek screening to understand their diabetes risk and pursue early treatment, if necessary, to reduce the incidence of diabetes and its complications. It also calls on California to focus additional prevention efforts in communities that are disproportionately affected by this disease.