Health Bills Continue Through Committee

by David Gorn

TOPIC ALERT:

The Assembly Committee for Aging and Long-Term Care this week approved a bill to ensure that four types of health care facilities comply with federal law. The bill is designed to establish guidelines in lieu of state standards yet to be written.

SB 534 by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) is an important bill to the Department of Public Health, which would have regulatory say over four types of facilities: licensed ambulatory surgery clinics, chronic dialysis clinics, rehabilitation clinics and intermediate care facilities.

Currently, the department doesn't have state-level enforcement standards for those facilities, so state officials want to use federal certification standards until California can come up with its own.

Those standards have been a long time coming, said Assembly member Mariko Yamada (D-Davis), chair of the Assembly Committee for Aging and Long-Term Care, which held its final regular legislative hearing of the year on Tuesday.

"It appears there have been multiple attempts to address this issue since 2006," Yamada said. "It seems so straightforward to allow the federal standard to be enforced, pending the other actions."

"That would be our hope -- that it would be chaptered this year, and we agree it is straightforward," said Cheryl Gordon, branch chief of policy and enforcement for the Department of Public Health

The bill passed committee on a unanimous 6-0 vote. It now heads to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.


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