NP “Clean-up” bill – CMA Supports, AB 852 Now Relates to Dispensing

The old version of AB 852 (Wood) (a holdover from 2021, or “two-year bill”) would have added the new category of nurse practitioners who are authorized to practice independently starting January 1, 2023, to provisions of law that include physician and surgeons and other relevant health care licensees, corrected a drafting error from AB 890 (Wood) related to the conditions when an independent NP must refer to a physician and surgeon, added the new independent NPs to pharmacy definitions for prescribers, and makes other technical and clarifying changes.

The current version of AB 852 would prohibit a pharmacy, pharmacist, or other practitioner authorized to dispense or furnish a prescription from refusing to dispense or furnish an electronic prescription solely because the prescription was not submitted via, or is not compatible with, their proprietary software. The bill would authorize a pharmacy, pharmacist, or other authorized practitioner to decline to dispense or furnish an electronic prescription submitted via software that fails to meet any one of specified criteria, including compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The bill would establish additional exceptions to the requirement that health care practitioners issue a prescription as an electronic data transmission prescription, including for a prescriber who registers with the California State Board of Pharmacy and states that they satisfy one or more criteria, including that they issue 100 or fewer prescriptions per calendar year. The bill would make specified exceptions to the requirement for a pharmacy to immediately transfer an electronic prescription to an alternative pharmacy upon request of the patient, including if the action would result in a violation of any state or federal law.

CMA is in support of the current version of the AB 852, specifically as it relates to the provisions around electronic prescribing. You may view their letter here. CSAP will reconsider its position on this bill next week.

SB 964 (Wiener) 

SB 964 (Wiener) – Our last report stated, “The workforce expansion bill was heard in the Assembly Health Committee this week and passed out. The bill will next be heard in the Assembly Higher Ed Committee on June 21st. SYASL will meet with the Chairman of the Higher Education Committee on Monday to discuss CSAP’s concerns with the bill. The bill was recently amended to include a fairly robust stakeholder process, which CSAP could expect to be a member of, which is good. Rather than stipulate that the University of California do a study, the bill may be amended to leave more open who might do a study and make recommendations back to the Legislature. This would also be an improvement. More to come.”

Senator Wiener has agreed to remove the University of California and leave open for the stakeholder process to decide which consultants may be hired to do such a study. Senator Wiener has told CSAP’s advocates at SYASL that the amendment will be made most likely in the Senate Appropriations Committee in early August. CSAP will continue to work with the Governor’s staff as this bill gets closer to his desk to ensure that – if this provision stays in SB 964, that as many guardrails as possible are on this process.

Attention Licensees: California Health Workforce Research Data Center News Update

The Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), formerly known as the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, is partnering with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)and the Board of Registered Nursing to collect important health workforce data. HCAI is the leader in collecting data and disseminating information about California’s healthcare infrastructure. HCAI promotes an equitably distributed health workforce and publishes valuable information about healthcare outcomes.

With the passage of Assembly Bill 133 (Chapter 143, Statutes of 2021), HCAI is launching the California Health Workforce Research Data Center (Center). The Center will serve as the state’s central repository for health workforce data, and will collect, analyze, and distribute information on educational and employment trends for healthcare occupations in the state. An annual report will be produced discussing:

  • Supply and demand of the health workforce
  • Geographical distribution of the health workforce
  • Diversity of the health workforce, by specialty (including, but not limited to, data on race, ethnicity, and languages spoken)
  • Current and forecasted demand for healthcare workers, by specialty
  • Educational capacity to produce trained, certified, and licensed healthcare workers, by specialty and by geographical distribution

HCAI, in partnership with the Board of Registered Nursing and DCA, has developed a workforce survey for you to complete during your electronic licensure renewal process. They are asking for your help with this important data collection effort, by completing this survey at time of licensure renewal. This data will help shape the future of health workforce policy in California. The workforce survey will be available beginning July 1, 2022. HCAI plans to present data and findings from the Center at future Board of Registered Nursing meetings, social media posts and other outlets.