Newsom Signs Patient Health Information and Electronic Prescribing Bills into Law – State of Reform
Governor Gavin Newsom concluded the 2021-22 legislative session by signing numerous bills into law. These newly signed bills include key health measures around patient health information, e-prescribing, physician licensing, and health plan coverage of COVID-19 treatments.
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Senate Bill 1419, sponsored by Sen. Josh Becker (D – Menlo Park), will expand the current requirement that healthcare professionals provide clinical laboratory test results to patients to also include imaging scans and give doctors the time to review test results before disclosing them to the patient. The bill will require health plans to maintain certain application programming interfaces to facilitate patient and provider access to health information.
The bill will also extend the prohibition on a minor’s representative’s ability to inspect or obtain copies of the minor’s patient records to include clinical notes, as well as prohibit the minor’s representative from access the patient’s medical records when they relate to certain sensitive medical services. .
Bill’s author says SB 1419 will promote transparency and trust in the patient-physician relationship, as well as the harmful effects of sharing patient health information without sufficient physician consultation and privacy protections . Proponents of the bill say this scenario can happen because of federal information blocking rules that require medical professionals to release patient data as soon as it becomes available.
California Medical Association President Robert E. Wailes, MD, vocalized CMA’s endorsement of the bill when it was signed.
“Giving patients access to their own health information is very important because it allows them to be partners in their care,” he said. “SB 1419 will give patients the support they need as they learn sensitive and potentially life-changing information about their health and well-being.”
Opponents of the bill, including the California Department of Finance, say the bill creates ongoing costs and additional workloads for the Department of Managed Health Care. Other opponents of the bill, including the California Health Coalition Advocacy, cite concerns about the bill’s restrictions on parental access to medical records.
Newsom signed SB 1419 on September 30.
Another recently signed bill is Assembly Bill 852. The bill, sponsored by Asm. Jim Wood (D – Santa Rosa), would prohibit a pharmacy from refusing to fill an electronic prescription solely because the prescription was not submitted through the pharmacy’s proprietary software. The bill would also add low-volume prescribers, prescribers who practice in an area affected by a natural disaster or emergency, and prescribers with a waiver based on other extraordinary circumstances, to the list of exempt prescribers. electronic prescription requirements.
“AB 852 will give physicians more flexibility to comply with California’s prescribing mandate,” Wailes said during the bill’s signing. “By allowing exceptions to e-prescribing requirements for healthcare practitioners who meet certain criteria, this bill will ensure that patients can get the medications they need without delay.
Proponents of the bill say exempting low-volume prescribers from the state’s e-prescribing requirements will address complaints from prescribers who write 100 or fewer prescriptions per year, who say meeting these requirements is expensive.
Opponents of the bill, including the California Retailers Association, say it would force pharmacies to accept e-prescriptions without the time needed to build system capacity to accommodate this.
Newsom signed the bill Sept. 25 and it will take effect immediately.