Today's Law As Amended


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AB-3118 Medically supportive food.(2019-2020)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 14042.15 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, immediately following Section 14042.1, to read:

14042.15.
 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature to increase positive health outcomes for Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the County of Alameda by establishing a pilot program to provide medically supportive food to eligible residents and linking that food to nutritional and behavioral supports, including, but not limited to, nutrition education, group medical visits, cooking education, and behavioral counseling.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Food prescription” means a dosage of medically supportive food approved by a provider enrolled in the Medi-Cal program.
(2) “Healthy food voucher” means a coupon for free or discounted medically supportive food.
(3) “Medically supportive food” means any nutrient rich whole food, including any fruit, vegetable, legume, nut, seed, and whole grain used as a medical treatment to address a specific health condition when utilizing evidence-based practices that demonstrate the prevention, reversal, or management of a specific chronic disease.
(4) “Pilot program” means the three-year pilot program established in the County of Alameda to provide medically supportive food as a covered benefit for a Medi-Cal beneficiary who has a chronic health condition.
(c) To the extent funds are made available in the annual Budget Act for this purpose, and no earlier than January 1, 2021, the department shall establish a pilot program for a three-year period in the County of Alameda to provide medically supportive food as a covered benefit for a Medi-Cal beneficiary who has a chronic health condition, including prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, or obesity, when utilizing evidence-based practices that demonstrate the prevention, reduction, or reversal of those specified diseases, subject to utilization controls, as described in Section 14133. Under the pilot program, medically supportive food shall include, but is not limited to, direct medically supportive food assistance, such as all of the following:
(1) Healthy food boxes, groceries, or meals to prevent, reverse, or manage chronic disease.
(2) Healthy food vouchers for food, including fruits and vegetables, to prevent, reverse, or manage chronic disease.
(3) Renewable food prescriptions for food, including fruits and vegetables, to prevent, reverse, or manage chronic disease.
(4) Medically tailored groceries and meals.
(d) The department, in consultation with stakeholders, may establish utilization controls, as described in Section 14133, with respect to the limitation on the number of services, including how these services may be restricted as to a set number within a specified timeframe. In developing these utilization controls under the pilot program, the department shall consider the nutritional needs of a recipient to prevent, reverse, or manage chronic disease, their acuity, and other selection criteria.
(e) For purposes of implementing the pilot program, the department may enter into exclusive or nonexclusive contracts on a bid or negotiated basis, and shall prioritize public, nonprofit, and community-based organizations or entities that provide California-grown produce and products. Any contract entered into or amended pursuant to this section shall be exempt from Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 14825) of Part 5.5 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, Section 19130 of the Government Code, and Part 2 (commencing with Section 10100) of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code, and shall be exempt from the review or approval of any division of the Department of General Services.
(f) (1) Upon the completion of the pilot program, and to the extent it can be determined, the department shall evaluate the impact of the pilot program, including, but not limited to, relevant data collected under the Medi-Cal program, and the pilot program’s impact on hospital readmissions, admissions into long-term care facilities, and emergency room utilization rates. The department shall prepare these findings, including its recommendation on expanding the pilot program on a statewide-basis or for an extended period of time, into a finalized report, and shall submit this report to the Legislature by January 1, 2024, or within 12 months after the end of the pilot program, whichever is sooner.
(2) A report submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(g) Notwithstanding Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, the department shall implement this section by means of a provider bulletin or similar instruction, without taking regulatory action.
(h) This section shall only be implemented to the extent permitted by federal law.
(i) This section shall be implemented only to the extent that federal financial participation is available and any necessary federal approvals have been obtained.
(j) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2026, and as of that date is repealed.
SEC. 2.
 The Legislature finds and declares that a special statute is necessary and that a general statute cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique position of the County of Alameda to continue to build upon its efforts to provide medically supportive food to medically needy residents for purposes of developing a model pilot program to be expanded on a statewide basis.