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As part of a growing trend to regulate behavioral health, two new laws have been passed that will impact some California behavioral health providers and laboratories, with two complementary legislative proposals that Gov. Newsom is vetoing but should come back.

AB 919, which comes into effect January 1, 2020, limits the extent to which behavioral health care providers can offer accommodation and transportation as part of their services. California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) certified ambulatory care providers and laboratories that rent, operate, or own housing must maintain separate housing contracts that provide that clients are responsible for the costs of housing, regardless of any benefits. insurance.

AB 919 also (1) limits the ability of outpatient treatment programs to provide low cost housing and transportation services, including requiring clients to enter into a reimbursement plan for any subsidized service and (2) limits transport services within 125 miles for ground transport, air transport being compulsorily accompanied by a return ticket for one year after the trip. We note that AB 919 departs from similar, but more stringent, provisions of the Federal Anti-Recoil Law, emphasizing the need for affected suppliers and laboratories to be mindful of federal and state requirements in their business practices.

AB 919 requires DHCS to establish an enforcement program and allocate personnel resources for supervision and guidance, and provides that violations may result in license suspension or revocation.

Additionally, AB 290 limits the ability of California health care providers to pay the cost of health insurance premiums, either directly or through associated nonprofit entities. Paying patient health insurance premiums is a common practice among dialysis treatment providers, but this law will also have an impact on behavioral health providers who engage in this practice.

In addition to AB 919 and AB 290, the California legislature passed AB 920 and SB 589; the two were subsequently opposed by Governor Newsom. AB 920 would have required that outpatient alcohol or drug addiction recovery or treatment programs be accredited by DHCS, as opposed to the current voluntary certification status of such programs. We believe this bill will be reintroduced in the 2020 legislative session in a revised form.

Also passed by the legislature, but with a veto, Senate Bill 589 would have prohibited licensed and unlicensed drug treatment facilities, sober residences, and traders from making false or misleading claims about services or services. geographic locations of a supplier. Similar to AB 920, we believe this bill will be reintroduced in revised form in 2020.

What should substance use disorder suppliers and labs in California do next?

  • Familiarize yourself with the requirements of AB 919 and AB 290, as well as the upcoming DHCS guidelines on these new laws.

  • Review policies and procedures relating to the provision of accommodation and transportation, or funding of health insurance premiums, to existing and prospective customers to ensure compliance with California laws.

  • Review agreements with third parties who provide transportation or accommodation on behalf of a treatment center or to clients of a treatment center.

  • Consider training the appropriate staff, management and ownership to ensure compliance with the new laws.

  • Stay alert to regulatory and legislative changes that could have an impact on business practices.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaRevue nationale de droit, volume IX, number 297