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SB-349 California Ethical Treatment for Persons with Addiction Act.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/09/2021 09:00 PM
SB349:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 349


Introduced by Senator Umberg

February 09, 2021


An act to add Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 11980.01) to Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to substance abuse.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 349, as introduced, Umberg. California Ethical Treatment for Persons with Addiction Act.
Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation of adult alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities by the State Department of Health Care Services and authorizes the department to enforce those provisions. Existing law also requires the department to implement a program certification procedure for alcohol and other drug treatment recovery services. Existing law generally prohibits specified persons, programs, or entities, such as an alcoholism or drug abuse treatment facility or a person employed by, or working for, an alcohol or other drug program, from giving or receiving anything of value for the referral of a person who is seeking alcoholism or drug abuse recovery and treatment services, and authorizes the department to investigate allegations of violations of those provisions, and to assess various penalties upon a person, program, or entity that is found in violation of those provisions. Existing law requires all programs licensed or certified by the department pursuant to those provisions to disclose any ownership or control of, or financial interest in, a recovery residence, as defined.
This bill would create the California Ethical Treatment for Persons with Addiction Act to provide protection for substance abuse treatment clients and their families. The bill would declare the intent for its provisions to be construed in favor of maximizing protections for clients, families, and their communities. The bill would impose requirements and proscribe unlawful acts relating to marketing, advertising, and payment of remuneration or split-fee arrangements, with respect to licensed treatment facilities and treatment providers, as defined by the bill. The bill would require a licensed treatment facility doing business in the state to adopt a client bill of rights for persons seeking treatment for substance use disorder, as specified, and to make the bill of rights available to all patients and prospective patients.
The bill would require a treatment provider to maintain records of referrals to or from a recovery residence, as specified. Specified acts made unlawful by the bill would be subject to a civil fine of up to $20,000 per violation. The bill would authorize the Attorney General, a district attorney, or any other party with an ascertainable interest to bring an action to enjoin a violation of its provisions, declaratory relief, or to recover a civil monetary penalty, as specified. The bill also would authorize the department to investigate allegations of violations of any provisions of the bill and to take subsequent action including, but not limited to, assessing penalties and suspending or revoking the license of a licensed provider.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) California remains in the grip of an epidemic of substance use disorders.
(b) The state is fortunate to have countless excellent addiction treatment programs. These programs and their staff perform tireless and lifesaving work, much of it entirely outside the limelight, and much of it thankless, on an illness that is still far too stigmatized. These are not the programs giving rise to this act.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to create a level playing field that denies advantage to programs and personnel that engage in or support predatory, unsafe, and unethical practices. These practices create barriers to desperately needed treatment, and cause incalculable needless harm to desperate families and the communities they live in. Enacting legislation that sets forth, and provides for the enforcement of, uniform ethical standards for treatment programs benefits all residents of California by improving the availability of high-quality, ethical treatment, and by protecting families and individuals in crisis from misleading information and other unethical practices.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 11980.01) is added to Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:
CHAPTER  3. Ethical Treatment of Persons with Addiction

11980.01.
 (a) This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Ethical Treatment for Persons with Addiction Act.
(b) The purpose of this chapter is to provide protection for substance abuse treatment clients and their families. This chapter shall be construed in favor of maximizing protections for clients and families, and the communities in which they live.

11980.02.
 The following definitions apply for purposes of this chapter:
(a) “Recovery residence” has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 11833.05.
(b) A “referral” occurs when a person or entity informs a patient by any means of the name, address, or other identifying information for a licensed service provider with the intent that the client may consider using the licensed service provider.
(c) “Licensed treatment provider” means an individual who is, or is required to be, licensed, or certified to provide substance use disorder treatment services, and, for purposes of this chapter, also includes treatment facilities.
(d) “Treatment facility” means a facility or program that is, or is required to be, licensed, accredited, or certified to provide substance use disorder treatment services, including services provided under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 11830) of, and an alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility licensed under Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 11834.01) of, Part 2.

11980.03.
 Every licensed treatment facility doing business in the state shall adopt, and make available to all patients and prospective patients, a client bill of rights that ensures that persons seeking treatment for substance use disorder have the right to all of the following:
(a) To be treated for the life-threatening, chronic disease of addiction with honesty, respect, and dignity.
(b) To know what to expect from treatment, and the likelihood of success.
(c) To be treated by licensed and certified professionals.
(d) To receive evidence-based treatment.
(e) To be treated simultaneously for cooccurring behavioral health conditions.
(f) To receive an individualized, outcome-driven treatment plan.
(g) To remain in treatment for as long as necessary.
(h) To receive support, education, and treatment for their families and loved ones.
(i) To receive care in a treatment setting that is safe and ethical.
(j) To receive ethical care that covers and ensures full compliance with the requirements set forth in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 10500) of Division 4 of Title 9 of the California Code of Regulations.

11980.04.
 (a) Any marketing or advertising materials published or provided by a treatment facility shall provide accurate and complete information, in plain language that is easy to understand, and shall include both of the following:
(1) Information about the types and methods of services provided or used, and information about where they are provided, using the categories of treatment and levels of care identified in subdivision (a) of Section 11834.26.
(2) The treatment facility’s name and brand.
(b) Any treatment facility providing outpatient services along with a housing component shall clearly label its program with that information, and shall distinguish itself from licensed residential substance use disorder treatment.
(c) It is unlawful for a treatment provider to knowingly and willfully make a materially false or misleading statement, or provide false or misleading information, about the nature, identity, or location of substance use disorder treatment services in advertising materials, on a call line, on an internet website, or in any other marketing materials.
(d) It is unlawful for a treatment provider to knowingly make a false or misleading statement about their status as an in-network or out-of-network provider.
(e) It is unlawful for any person or entity to knowingly provide, or direct any other person or entity to provide, false or misleading information about the identity of, or contact information for, any treatment provider.
(f) It is unlawful for any person or entity to knowingly include false or misleading information about the internet address of any treatment provider’s website, or to surreptitiously direct or redirect the reader to another website.
(g) It is unlawful for any person or entity to suggest or imply that a relationship with a treatment provider exists, unless the treatment provider has provided express, written consent to indicate that relationship.
(h) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly make a materially false or misleading statement about substance abuse disorder treatment services.
(i) A violation of this section constitutes a deceptive act or practice under the Unfair Competition Law (Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code), regardless of whether any consumer was actually misled or deceived.
(j) A person or entity that knowingly violates any provision of this section is subject to a civil fine not to exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) per violation.

11980.06.
 Every treatment facility provider shall maintain records of referrals made to or from recovery residences, including, if available, information about where the patient referred by a treatment facility ultimately elected to go for those services.

11980.07.
 (a) It is unlawful for any person, including any treatment provider or laboratory, to do any of the following:
(1) Offer or pay anything of value, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, to induce the referral of a patient or patronage to or from a treatment provider or laboratory.
(2) Offer or pay anything of value, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, to induce the referral of a patient or patronage to or from a recovery residence as outlined in Section 11831.6.
(3) Solicit or receive anything of value, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, in return for referring a patient or patronage to or from a treatment provider or laboratory.
(4) Solicit or receive anything of value, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, in return for referring a patient or patronage to or from a recovery residence as outlined in Section 11831.6.
(5) Solicit or receive anything of value, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, or engage in any split-fee arrangement, in any form whatsoever, in return for the acceptance or acknowledgment of treatment from a health care provider or health care facility.
(6) Aid or abet any conduct that violates this section.
(b) This section shall not apply to a discount, payment, waiver of payment, or payment practice that is expressly authorized by Section 1320a-7b(b)(3) of Title 42 of the United States Code or regulations adopted thereunder.
(c) With respect to violations of this section, a person need not have actual knowledge of this section or specific intent to commit a violation of this section.
(d) A violation of this section is subject to a civil fine not to exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) per individual violation.

11980.08.
 (a)  The department shall promulgate regulations to ensure compliance with this chapter by treatment providers and facilities. The regulations shall include an attestation, under oath, of compliance with this act and adoption of policies and procedures by facilities and providers designed to ensure compliance.
(b) (1)  A treatment provider shall not request, receive, or retain payment for substance use disorder treatments provided to a patient by a treatment provider as a result of conduct declared unlawful under this chapter.
(2) Any person or entity who suffers any ascertainable monetary loss or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of any method, act, or practice declared unlawful under this chapter may bring an action or assert a counterclaim therefor in any court of competent jurisdiction, against the treatment provider who committed the violation and against any other person or entity who knowingly aided, abetted, or took part in the violation. In any action under this paragraph, the court shall, in addition to any other appropriate legal or equitable relief, award three times the damages sustained by any person in interest. In any action under this paragraph, the court shall also award reasonable attorney’s fees, filing fees, and reasonable costs of suit.
(3) The Attorney General, a district attorney, or any other person with an ascertainable interest, may bring an action for declaratory relief, to declare that an act or practice violates this chapter. If the action is successful, in whole or in part, the court shall award attorney’s fees, costs of investigation and prosecution, filing fees, and all other reasonable costs of bringing the action, to the plaintiff or prosecutor.
(4) The Attorney General, a district attorney, or any other government entity or agency with ascertainable interest, may bring an action to enjoin any person or entity who has violated, is violating, or is otherwise likely to violate any provision of this chapter. If the action is successful, in whole or in part, the court shall award attorney’s fees, costs of investigation, and prosecution, filing fees, and all other reasonable costs of bringing the action, to the plaintiff or prosecutor.
(5) The department may investigate an allegation of a violation of any provision of this chapter. Upon finding a violation, the department may do any or all of the following pursuant to Section 11831.7 with respect to the offending provider:
(A) Assess a penalty upon the licensed provider.
(B) Suspend or revoke the license of the licensed provider or deny their application for licensure.
(C) Recommend disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, termination of employment and suspension or revocation of their license.
(6) A person or entity who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a civil monetary penalty of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for each violation.
(7) The Attorney General, a district attorney, or any other governmental entity or agency with an ascertainable interest, may bring an action to recover any civil monetary penalty provided for in this chapter. If the action is successful, in whole or in part, the court shall award attorney’s fees, filing fees, and all other reasonable costs of bringing the action, to the plaintiff or prosecutor.