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AB-1357 Emergency departments: diversion of patients.(2013-2014)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  April 08, 2013

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1357


Introduced by Assembly Member Roger Hernández

February 22, 2013


An act to amend Section 1317 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to health facilities.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1357, as amended, Roger Hernández. Emergency departments: diversion of patients.
Existing law establishes the State Department of Public Health and sets forth its powers and duties, including, but not limited to, the licensing and regulations of health facilities, including, but not limited to, health facilities operating emergency departments.
Existing law requires a health facility maintaining or operating an emergency department to provide emergency services and care to any person requesting those services and care for any condition in which the person is in danger of loss of life, or serious injury or illness. Violation of these provisions is a crime.
This bill would require emergency room funds in the County of Los Angeles that were approved by voter initiative, which are collected from properties within the San Gabriel Valley, to remain in that geographic region of the county.
This bill would establish a task force to study and audit the funds collected from properties in the San Gabriel Valley since the passage of the local voter initiative, and to report its findings to the Legislature by January 1, 2015.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1317 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1317.
 (a) Emergency services and care shall be provided to any person requesting the services or care, or for whom services or care is requested, for any condition in which the person is in danger of loss of life, or serious injury or illness, at any health facility licensed under this chapter that maintains and operates an emergency department to provide emergency services to the public when the health facility has appropriate facilities and qualified personnel available to provide the services or care.
(b) In no event shall the provision of emergency services and care be based upon, or affected by, the person’s ethnicity, citizenship, age, preexisting medical condition, insurance status, economic status, ability to pay for medical services, or any other characteristic listed or defined in subdivision (b) or (e) of Section 51 of the Civil Code, except to the extent that a circumstance such as age, sex, preexisting medical condition, or physical or mental disability is medically significant to the provision of appropriate medical care to the patient.
(c) Neither the health facility, its employees, nor any physician and surgeon, dentist, clinical psychologist, or podiatrist shall be liable in any action arising out of a refusal to render emergency services or care if the refusal is based on the determination, exercising reasonable care, that the person is not suffering from an emergency medical condition, or that the health facility does not have the appropriate facilities or qualified personnel available to render those services.
(d) Emergency services and care shall be rendered without first questioning the patient or any other person as to his or her ability to pay therefor. However, the patient or his or her legally responsible relative or guardian shall execute an agreement to pay therefor or otherwise supply insurance or credit information promptly after the services are rendered.
(e) If a health facility subject to this chapter does not maintain an emergency department, its employees shall nevertheless exercise reasonable care to determine whether an emergency exists and shall direct the persons seeking emergency care to a nearby facility that can render the needed services, and shall assist the persons seeking emergency care in obtaining the services, including transportation services, in every way reasonable under the circumstances.
(f) No act or omission of any rescue team established by any health facility licensed under this chapter, or operated by the federal or state government, a county, or by the Regents of the University of California, done or omitted while attempting to resuscitate any person who is in immediate danger of loss of life shall impose any liability upon the health facility, the officers, members of the staff, nurses, or employees of the health facility, including, but not limited to, the members of the rescue team, or upon the federal or state government or a county, if good faith is exercised.
(g) “Rescue team,” as used in this section, means a special group of physicians and surgeons, nurses, and employees of a health facility who have been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and have been designated by the health facility to attempt, in cases of emergency, to resuscitate persons who are in immediate danger of loss of life.
(h) (1) This subdivision facilitates the continuation and expansion of emergency medical services and trauma services in the San Gabriel Valley.
(2) For the purpose of emergency room funds in the County of Los Angeles that were approved by voter initiative in that county, funds collected from properties within the San Gabriel Valley shall remain in that geographic region of the county.
(3) Funds allocated pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be used for the purposes intended by the voter initiative, within that geographic area, to reduce ambulance diversion.
(4) A task force is hereby established consisting of the Director of the Emergency Medical Services Authority, the Director of the State Department of Public Health, the California State Auditor, and a representative of a local hospital task force to be selected by the other members. The task force shall study and audit the funds collected from properties in the San Gabriel Valley since the passage of the local voter initiative to gain an understanding as to how the moneys have been allocated and to gage what improvements, if any, have been made. The task force shall report its findings to the Legislature by January 1, 2015.
(i) This section shall not relieve a health facility of any duty otherwise imposed by law upon the health facility for the designation and training of members of a rescue team or for the provision or maintenance of equipment to be used by a rescue team.