BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                            



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        SB 282|
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                                       CONSENT


          Bill No:  SB 282
          Author:   Yee (D)
          Amended:  As introduced
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 5/7/13
          AYES:  Evans, Anderson, Corbett, Jackson, Leno, Monning
          NO VOTE RECORDED: Walters


           SUBJECT :    Confidential medical information: required  
          authorization to disclose

           SOURCE  :     California Association of Marriage and Family  
          Therapists


           DIGEST  :    This bill extends provisions to require that the  
          authorization to disclose medical information also accompany a  
          demand for settlement or offer to compromise issued prior to the  
          service of a complaint in any action arising out of the  
          professional negligence of a person holding a valid license as a  
          marriage and family therapist, similar to requirements for  
          physicians or surgeons.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1. Defines "medical information" to mean any individually  
             identifiable information, in electronic or physical form, in  
             possession of or derived from a provider of health care,  
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             health care service plan, pharmaceutical company, or  
             contractor regarding a patient's medical history, mental or  
             physical condition, or treatment.  Existing law defines  
             "individually identifiable" to mean that the medical  
             information includes or contains any element of personal  
             identifying information sufficient to allow identification of  
             the individual, such as the patient's name, address,  
             electronic mail address, telephone number, or social security  
             number, or other information that, alone or in combination  
             with other publicly available information, reveals the  
             individual's identity.  

          2. Provides that an authorization for the release of medical  
             information by a provider of health care, health care service  
             plan, pharmaceutical company, or contractor is valid only if  
             specified conditions are met, including: 

             A.    The authorization is clearly separate from any other  
                language present on the same page and is executed by a  
                signature which serves no other purpose than to execute  
                the authorization.

             B.    The authorization is signed and dated by the patient,  
                the patient's representative, or the spouse of the  
                patient, as specified.

             C.    The authorization states the specific uses and  
                limitations on the types of medical information to be  
                disclosed.

             D.    The authorization states the name or functions of the  
                provider of health care, health care service plan,  
                pharmaceutical company, or contractor that may disclose  
                the medical information.

             E.    The authorization states the name or functions of the  
                persons or entities authorized to receive the medical  
                information.

             F.    The authorization states the specific uses and  
                limitations on the use of the medical information by the  
                persons or entities authorized to receive the medical  
                information. 


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          3. Requires that whenever, prior to the service of a complaint  
             upon a defendant in an action arising out of the professional  
             negligence against a surgeon or physician, a demand for  
             settlement or offer to compromise is made on a patient's  
             behalf shall be accompanied by an authorization to disclose  
             medical information to persons or organizations insuring,  
             responsible for, or defending professional liability that the  
             physician or surgeon may incur.  Existing law further  
             provides that the authorization shall authorize disclosure of  
             information which is necessary to investigate issues of  
             liability and the extent of potential damages in evaluating  
             the merits of the demand or offer. 
          
          This bill adds licensed marriage and family therapists (MFT) to  
          the above provision, thus requiring that any settlement demand  
          or offer to compromise served on a MFT shall be accompanied by  
          an authorization to disclose medical information, as specified. 

           Background
           
          The Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) protects  
          the privacy of medical records by specifying how and to whom the  
          information they contain may be released.  Under the CMIA, no  
          healthcare provider may disclose medical information without  
          first obtaining an authorization, except in specified  
          circumstances, including when compelled to do so by a party to a  
          proceeding before a court or administrative agency. 

          SB 1229 (Keene, Chapter 484, Statutes 1985) required that  
          pre-litigation demands for settlement or offers to compromise  
          based on a physician's or surgeon's alleged professional  
          negligence be accompanied by an authorization to disclose to an  
          insurer any medical information necessary to investigate the  
          issue of liability and the extent of potential damages in  
          evaluating the merits of the demand.  This bill extends the same  
          requirement to prelitigation demands based on the alleged  
          professional negligence of a licensed marriage and family  
          therapist. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  
           No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/9/13)


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          California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists  
          (source)

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author, "In the case  
          that an [licensed marriage and family therapist] LMFT is sued  
          for malpractice there is currently no requirement that the  
          LMFT's insurer be granted access to the medical records of the  
          patient before a settlement is made.  The medical records are an  
          essential element in determining whether or not to agree to a  
          settlement, and without the information necessary to fully  
          evaluate the claim it is unfair to expect an insurer to respond  
          to a claim in a timely manner."


          AL:d  5/9/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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