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Key Legislation
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The Legislature has introduced over 1,800 new pieces of legislation in 2014.  Of these numerous bills, OPSC is tracking over 100 bills for its members.  The Legislative Committee has reviewed most of these bills and have recommended positions on a majority of the measures.

Assembly Bills

Senate Bills

Assembly Bills

AB 1759 (Pan) Medi-Cal: reimbursement rates
This is the Medi-Cal primary care provider reimbursement rate increase bill.  It extends the primary care provider rate increase indefinitely, as allowed by federal law and as long as federal financial participation is available.  The bill creates an annual independent assessment of Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates and those rates’ impact on access to and quality of care in the Medi-Cal program.  Recent amendments also apply the bill to other, non-physician primary care providers in conformance with federal law (which in practice are mainly nurse practitioners and physician assistants).
OPSC Position: Support

AB 1771 (V.M. Perez) Telephonic and electronic patient management services
This requires telehealth services to be covered.  Specifically, it requires health plans and insurers, for policies started or renewed on or after 2015, to cover telephone and electronic patient management services (“telehealth”) provided by a physician at the same rate as in-office visits, as long as the telehealth services are similar in nature (length and complexity).  Physicians can currently bill for telehealth, but insurers in California are not consistent in their reimbursement for telehealth services.  This bill seeks to address this problem.
OPSC Position: Support

AB 1805 (Skinner) Medi-Cal: reimbursement: provider payments
This repeals the Medi-Cal provider rate cuts.  Specifically, it restores the 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates that was enacted in the 2011 State Budget and it eliminates any retro-active cuts to providers as well.
OPSC Position: Support

AB 1886 (Eggman) Medical Board of California
This bill requires disciplinary and legal action against licensed physicians and surgeons to be posted on the Medical Board of California’s (MBC) website indefinitely.  Current law requires such information to be removed from the MBC website after ten years.
OPSC Position: Oppose

AB 1890 (Chau) Athletic trainers
This licenses athletic trainers.  It specifically enacts the Athletic Training Practice Act to license and regulate athletic trainers.  The bill originally established the Athletic Trainer Licensing Committee under the Osteopathic Medical Board (OMB), but has since been amended to remove the OMB from the bill.
OPSC Position: Neutral as Amended

AB 2214 (Fox) Emergency room physicians: continuing medical education: geriatric care
This bill would add geriatric care to the continuing education requirements for emergency room physicians by requiring the Medical Board’s Division of Licensing, in determining those requirements, to include a course in geriatric care.
OPSC Position: Oppose

AB 2400 (Ridley-Thomas) Health care coverage: physician contracts
This bill prohibits a contract between a physician or physician group with a health plan or insurer that is issued, amended, delivered, or renewed on or after January 1, 2015, from requiring a physician, as a condition of entering into the contract, to participate in any product that provides different rates, methods of payment, or lines of business unless that participation is negotiated and agreed to between the health plan and the physician.
OPSC Position: Support

AB 2458 (Bonilla) Medical residency training program grants
This bill establishes the Graduate Medical Education Fund to administer and fund grants to graduate medical education residency programs located in California hospitals or teaching health centers.  The bill appropriates $25,000,000 from the General Fund in 2014-15 and $2,840,000 per year for 3 years, starting in 2014-15 fiscal year, from the California Health Data and Planning Fund.
OPSC Position: Support

AB 2514 (Pan) Income taxes: credits: rural health care professionals
This bill, in order to increase access to healthcare in underserved areas of the State, allows a tax credit for health care professionals who reside and practice in rural health care professional shortage areas, pursuant to an agreement with the State Department of Health Care Services, in a certain amount of the healthcare professionals’ student loans. 
OPSC Position: Support

Senate Bills

SB 492 (Hernandez) Optometrist: practice: licensure
This is one of three scope of practice bills introduced last year by Senator Hernandez.  Specifically, this bill expands the scope of practice of optometrists certified to use therapeutic pharmaceutical agents by allowing them to use all therapeutic pharmaceutical agents approved by the FDA for use in treating eye conditions.  This bill also allows optometrists to provide habilitative services, and expands optomestrists’ ability to diagnose and treat certain diseases.
OPSC Position: Oppose Unless Amended

SB 500 (Lieu) Medical practice: pain management
This bill requires the Medical Board to update its standards regarding competent review in cases regarding the management, under-treatment, under-medication, and overmedication of a patient’s pain, by July 1, 2015.  The bill also requires the MBC to convene a task force to develop and recommend updated standards and to update the standards by July 1st every 5th year thereafter.  OPSC has requested amendments that will include the OMB in the task force. 
OPSC Position: Support if Amended

SB 1083 (Pavley) Physician assistants: disability certifications
This bill would amend the Physician Assistant Practice Act to authorize a physician assistant to certify disability, after performance of a physical examination by the physician assistant under the supervision of a physician and surgeon consistent with the act. The bill would correspondingly expand the definition of practitioner to include a physician assistant
OPSC Position: Oppose

SB 1429 (Steinberg) Civil damages: medical malpractice
This is the Pro Tem’s bill to serve as a vehicle for a legislative compromise on MICRA.  It is currently just an intent bill, stating the Pro Tem’s desire to “bring interested parties together to develop a legislative solution to issues surrounding medical malpractice injury compensation.”
OPSC Position: Oppose 

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