2015 Legislative Update…Daniel Nnorth & Claudia Schott

First of all; Happy New Year!! 2016 looks very promising for SB 323 (nurse practitioner full practice authority bill). The bill will be reintroduced once the new Speaker of the Assembly is in place in March. Some are hoping that the extra votes needed to get the ball rolling again will happen. Newspapers have been criticizing SB323. If your newspaper was one of them, you can help the bill by writing a letter to the editor explaining your point of view and encouraging them to back SB 323. The following is a SAMPLE Letter to the Editor: California already has over 18,000 nurse practitioners trained and educated to provide basic routine care to California residents. I urge our legislators to pass SB 323 (Hernandez), a law which will put patients first by breaking down the arbitrary barriers in California law that prevents nurse practitioners from using all of their skills and education to provide basic, routine care.
California is the only western state that has not modernized its laws.  I am concerned about the news reports I’ve read concerning the lack of primary care providers in rural areas of our state.  Senate Bill 323 will break down the barriers that prevent nurse practitioners from using all their education and training to care for patients. It will update California’s health care rules so nurse practitioners can provide complete primary care.
I urge this newspaper to tell our legislators:  Put patients first, and pass SB 323!

The Hospital and Family Caregivers Act (SB 675), effective January 1, 2016, will now mandate that hospitals record the name of a family caregiver and provide training to that caregiver when the person is discharged to the home. AARP is working on informational posters and wallet cards to be hopefully available mid-month.

Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act – Now requires that the state regulates home care agencies. Agencies that employ these workers will have to register with the state and be monitored–they weren’t regulated before. The workers will have to go through a background check.  You will be able to check online if someone had a background check and passed.  Independent workers are not required to register, but can register. The law will have to have a soft launch on January 1, but will not be in full swing until at least mid-year. DPSS will eventually have some materials and work with us on how to get the information out to you

Update on the Close the Loophole issue – Legislators defeated a last-ditch effort to derail the Department of Labor’s proposed Fiduciary Duty rule. The rule will require financial advisers to provide advice which is in their clients’ best interest.  It was part of a bigger package that the House passed to fund the federal government through September of 2016. This bill not only avoids the deep cuts to scores of critical programs, it provides noteworthy increases for many services critical to older Americans, including health, nutrition and caregiver services, as well as increases for the Social Security Administration to improve fraud prevention. Amazing what can happen just before Christmas!