Senate Appropriations Committee – 8/12/13

Today, the Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Kevin De Leon, met and took up a couple hundred bills during a hearing that begin at 10am and ended shortly after 7pm.  The committee heard a handful of bills that Health Access is supporting. 

A majority (95%) of the bills taken up today were suspense candidates, meaning that they will be taken up in a subsequent Senate Appropriations “suspense” hearing.  Bills are referred to “suspense” if they exceed the “fiscal impact to the state” limit that has been set by the Appropriations Committee.  In the Senate, a bill is referred to “suspense” if a $50,000 general fund impact and/or $150,000 special fund impact to the state is associated with the bill.

On a majority of the bills heard today, Assemblymembers waived presentation and on some they did not. The following are Health Access supported bills where presentation was waived, but testimony in support and/or opposition was provided:

* AB 1263 (Perez), which would establish the Medi-Cal Patient-Centered Communication program (CommuniCal), to provide and reimburse for medical interpretation services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are limited English proficient (LEP).

* AB 1180 (Pan) which would make changes to California law relating to HIPPAA, changes which are necessary as a result of changes due to the Affordable Care Act.

* AB 411 (Pan) which takes an important step towards identifying and reducing health disparities by requiring Medi-Cal managed care plans to analyze quality data by gender, race, ethnicity, primary language and, to the extent the data is available, by sexual orientation and gender identity.

The following bills were presented on by each respective author and testimony in support and/or opposition was provided:
* AB 974 (Hall) which would require that a hospital notify an emergency contact person before transferring a patient who has received emergency care and been stabilized for transfer.

* AB 361 (Mitchell) which would build on existing pilot programs to establish a state program to enroll frequent users of health services into Health Homes.

All Health Access supported bills that were heard in committee today will be heard in the upcoming Senate Appropriations suspense hearing.  Stay tuned for details on the outcome of that hearing!

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.