2019 Legislation

CHCA Supported the Following Legislation that has been signed into law

As strong advocates for constituents who value consumer choice regarding health, California Health Coalition Advocacy was pleased to support the following bills in 2019 that have been signed into law. We thank the authors for bringing forward these important bills.

AB-35       Worker safety: blood lead levels: reporting (Kalra)
AB-647     Hazardous materials: cosmetics: safety documents (Kalra)
AB-756     Public water systems: perfluorooctanoic acid/sulfonate (Garcia)
SB-34       Cannabis: donations (Wiener)
SB-223     Pupil health: administration of medicinal cannabis: schoolsites (Hill) 

2019 Legislation

SB 276: A Broad Solution for a Narrow Problem

Question: Will existing MEs be honored and remain valid?
Under SB 276, every medical exemption and its associated medical records would be subject to review by the CDPH. “Exemptions are still reviewable and revocable by the health department if they do not comply with the established guidelines.” - Rick Jaffe, Esq. SEC. 3. Section 120372 (d)(8) SEC. 3 (d)(2)(A)(B)(C)

Question: Will vulnerable children be able to qualify for medical exemptions?
Very few vulnerable children would qualify under the proposed extremely narrow criteria. The criteria for medical exemptions (MEs) would be limited to CDC, ACIP, and AAP guidelines and relevant standard of care. SEC. 3 Section 120372 (d)(3)(A) Currently, doctors can write medical exemptions based on their professional discretion, but with SB 276 the statute would be changed to read: “including consideration of family medical history, if the issuing physician and surgeon provides written documentation to support the medical exemption that is consistent with the relevant standard of care.” SEC. 3 Section 120372 (d)(3)(B) Adding the “standard of care” language restricts criteria to only allow “congenital or hereditary immunodeficiency in first-degree relatives” and would be limited to only two live virus vaccines. “Since the National Institute of Medicine has reported that it can take up to 17 years for a new best practice to reach the average physician and surgeon, it is prudent to give attention to new developments not only in general medical care but in the actual treatment of specific diseases, particularly those that are not yet broadly recognized in California.” Business and Professions Code Division 2. Chapter 5 Article 12. Enforcement 2234.1.(c)

Question: Will doctors be willing to write appropriate medical exemptions?
With this narrow SB 276 criteria and added criminality, it is unlikely that doctors would risk losing their licenses or livelihood to write medical exemptions. Since the passing of SB 277, most physicians have been afraid to evaluate and examine patients for medical exemptions for several reasons. Those who have written exemptions have been under intense scrutiny, subjected to board investigations and possible discipline, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) targeting, and media attacks. Doctors fear they will not be able to protect their vulnerable patients if they lose the ability to use their professional discretion. The presumption of guilt for writing even one medical exemption could cripple a doctor’s ability to practice. SEC. 3. Section 120372 (d)(6)(B) If it is determined that they “pose a risk to the public’s health” (undefined), doctors could be barred from writing exemptions for two or more years. SEC. 3. Section 120372 (d)(6)(A)

Question: Will families with MEs have the same privacy as all Californians?
No, the new electronic medical exemption forms and all applicable health records could be accessed without a subpoena by the: CDPH, newly established review panel, secretary of California HHS, Medical Board of California, and Osteopathic Medical Board of California. Without the privacy safeguard of the subpoena process, medical privacy would be violated. This intrusion would set precedence allowing private medical records to be exposed, including cyber security breaches and related lawsuits. SEC. 3 Section 120372 (a)(2)(H), (b), (c)(2), (f)

SB 276 August, 2019 Update PDF