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Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Two Important Healthcare Bills To Improve Patient Access

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills into effect related to patient health information and electronically filled prescriptions.

Senate Bill 1419 by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) added new patient protections into law that ensure patients receive challenging health information in the time and manner that works best for them. It also guaranteed patient privacy is maintained at all times by adding new protections for the most sensitive data, allowing for doctor-patient relationships to grow based on informative communication, support, and trust.

In expressing his support for the passage of SB 1419, California Medical Association President Robert E. Wailes, MD said:

“Giving patients access to their own health information is very important because it allows them to be partners in their care,” he said. “SB 1419 will give patients the support they need when learning of sensitive and potentially life-changing information about their health and well-being.”

Assembly Bill 852 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) prohibits pharmacies, pharmacists, and other practitioners authorized to dispense prescription drugs from refusing to fill prescriptions exclusively on the basis that the prescription was not filled through their main software. By adding clarifying language related to the bill’s predecessor (AB 2789 in 2018), AB 852 exempts certain prescribers, such as those affected by natural tragedies or those who write a low volume of prescriptions each year, from having to comply with e-prescribing requirements if its cost prohibitive.

“AB 852 will give physicians more flexibility in complying with California’s prescribing mandate,” Wailes said. “By allowing exceptions to e-prescribing requirements for health care practitioners who meet certain criteria, this bill will ensure that patients are able to get the medications they need without delay,” said Wailes.