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San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

New Health Laws 2016 Affecting California Physicians

SFMS, in partnership with the Cooperative of American Physicians, have compiled a list of the most important bills pertaining to the practice of medicine and/or impacting physicians in 2016. All laws are effective January 1, 2016, unless otherwise specified.


AB 637 - Expanded Role of NPs and PAs on POLST

AB 637 authorizes as valid the completion and signature on the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment form (POLST) by a nurse practitioner (NP) or a physician assistant (PA) acting under the supervision of the physician. The bill stemmed from a SFMS resolution and was a CMA-sponsored legislation.


AB 679 - CURES Prescriber Enrollment

All California-licensed physicians authorized to prescribe, order, administer, furnish, or dispense Schedule II, III, or IV controlled substances must be registered to access Controlled Substance Utilization Review & Evaluation System (CURES) as required by California Health and Safety Code Section 11165.1. AB 679 extends the current deadline for enrollment with the Department of Justice to access information contained in the CURES database from January 1, 2016, to a new deadline of July 1, 2016.


SB 277 - Public Health and Safety: Vaccinations

Legislation championed by the San Francisco Medical Society, CMA, and Senator Richard Pan, MD, SB 277 eliminates the personal belief exemption from school vaccination requirements, barring parents from skipping their children’s school-required immunizations unless they have a medical exemption from a physician.

Students may obtain a written medical exemption to vaccinations from a licensed physician (MD or DO) that includes the following information:

  • That the physical condition or medical circumstances of the child, which may include family medical history, are such that the required immunization(s) is not indicated
  • Which vaccines are being exempted
  • Whether the medical exemption is permanent or temporary
  • The expiration date, if the exemption is temporary

SB 299 - Medi-Cal: Provider Enrollment

SB 299 grants an exemption from notarization requirements for any Medi-Cal provider that choose to enroll electronically. It also mandates the Department of Health Care Services to collect an application fee for continued enrollment. 

AB X2-15 - End of Life Option Act

AB X2-15 enacts the End of Life Option Act authorizing an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease resulting in death within six months to request and obtain a prescription for a drug that the individual may self-administer to end the individual’s life. The bill makes the participation of a physician providing care to a qualified patient seeking an aid-in-dying drug entirely voluntary, and establishes procedures and reporting processes, as well as provides the necessary forms required for both medical records and reporting to the State Department of Public Health.

AB X2-15 will not go into effect until 90 days after the extraordinary session on health care is adjourned, which is projected to be in January 2016 at the earliest and November 2016 at the latest. The bill has a sunset date of January 1, 2026.

Click here to view the full article from the November/December 2015 issue of San Francisco Medicine.

This bill summary is provided courtesy of the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc., with the assistance of Capitol Advocacy, a full-service government relations company based in Sacramento. This is not a complete list of all health-related legislation recently passed and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice provided by a retained attorney in any particular medical situation.

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