Three AIDS Healthcare Foundation-Supported Bills Clear Their Houses of Origin in California Legislature
Three bills supported by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation have cleared their houses of origin in the California Legislature, according to a foundation release. "[The] overall goal of these bills is to provide the highest quality HIV specialty care, which is often more cost-effective," AHF Chief of Public Affairs Cesar Portillo said. A brief description of each of the bills follows:
- AB 937, sponsored by Assembly member Paul Koretz (D), aims "to end a wave of bankruptcy among HIV specialists" by developing "risk-adjusted, capitated provider reimbursement rates" for treating HIV patients, according to the release. "This bill is designed to increase access to high-quality, cost-effective health care for HIV patients by increasing their participation in health plans. The risk-adjusted rate for HIV care is necessary to ensure that health plans and providers do not have an incentive to deny necessary, but frequently costly, care and treatment," Koretz said (AHF release, 6/13). The bill also calls for hearings on the "advantages and disadvantages of risk-adjusted capitation rates for chronic health conditions" to be held and reported on by Dec. 31, 2002 (AB 937 text, 6/14).
- SB 613, sponsored by Sen. Richard Alarcon (D), requires that the state Department of Health Services "notify a Medi-Cal managed care plan whenever the Medi-Cal eligibility of a beneficiary, who is enrolled in that plan and who is suffering from a life-threatening condition, is being terminated or interrupted for any period of time." Notification must be made "at least" 32 days prior to the termination or interruption date. The bill will "enable health plans to assist patients in providing Medi-Cal with the needed updated information to maintain their medical health coverage. The potential consequences of patients having their benefits interrupted is dire for patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions," Alarcon said.
- AB 180, sponsored by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D), would remove an impending repeal of the existing exemption from sales tax that is applied to merchandise sold at "certain" thrift stores and expand that exemption to cover retail items sold at thrift stores that support "medical, hospice or social services to chronically or terminally ill individuals." The bill also expands the definition of life-threatening illness to include cancer and would benefit stores operated by the AHF, the American Cancer Society and the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association (AHF release, 6/13).