Lawmakers Advance Bills on Physical Therapy, Hospital Smoking Ban

On Monday, the Assembly and the Senate advanced two health-related bills.

Hospital Smoking Ban Bill

The Assembly voted 45-23 to pass a bill (AB 1278), by Assembly member Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), that would ban smoking on hospital campuses, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports.

The measure would expand a current ban that covers hospital facilities and areas near entrances.

Hill said the bill would encourage patients, employees and visitors not to smoke, while also protecting people from the effects of secondhand smoke.

The measure now moves to the Senate (Mishak, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 1/30).

Physical Therapy Bill

Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously approved a bill (SB 924), by Sen. Curren Price (D-Inglewood), that would allow consumers to seek treatment from physical therapists without getting a referral from their physicians.

The bill also would require a physical therapist to refer patients to a physician if they need medical attention.

Under the measure, the therapist must receive physician approval to continue treating the patient if therapy extends beyond either 12 visits or 30 business days.

The bill now moves to the Assembly (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/30).

Robert Weiss
In my opinion as a lymphedema patient advocate, a California resident and author of a California bill for the treatment of lymphedema patients according to current treatment protocols, this bill is a disaster for the 200,000 lymphedema patients in California. The bill is counter to the current concept of "patient-centered medicine". Briefly I contend that: 1) The accepted protocol for treatment of lymphedema, "complex decongestive therapy" includes manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, garment fitting, decongestive exercises and home self-treatment protocols are not part of a PT curriculum and are not tested for in the licensing process; 2) Any licensed PT or OT in California, trained & certified or not in the specialized lymphedema treatment protocols can legally treat a lymphedema patient; 3) Self-referred treatment of self-diagnosed lymphedema is dangerous absent a physician's determination that certain co-morbidities do not exist. AB1000 offers no LE patient protection.
Paul Gaspar
Nice to see that the Senate approves of smart, effective health care. Direct access to PT will be great for CA. Kudos to Senators Walters, Price, and Steinberg!

to share your thoughts on this article.