Amended in Assembly April 7, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 474


Introduced by Assemblybegin delete Member Brownend deletebegin insert Members Brown and Thurmondend insert

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(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Cristina Garcia)

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(Principal coauthor: Senator Liu)

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(Coauthor: Assembly Member Chu)

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February 23, 2015


begin deleteAn act to amend Section 1432 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to health facilities. end deletebegin insertAn act to add Section 12201.02 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services, and making an appropriation thereforend insertbegin insert.end insert

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 474, as amended, Brown. begin deleteHealth facilities: antiretaliation protections. end deletebegin insertPublic social services: SSI/SSP.end insert

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Existing law provides for the State Supplementary Program for the Aged, Blind and Disabled (SSP), which requires the State Department of Social Services to contract with the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to make payments to SSP recipients to supplement Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments made available pursuant to the federal Social Security Act.

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Under existing law, benefit payments under the SSP are calculated by establishing the maximum level of nonexempt income and federal SSI and state SSP benefits for each category of eligible recipient. The state SSP payment is the amount, when added to the nonexempt income and SSI benefits available to the recipient, which would be required to provide the maximum benefit payment.

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This bill, for the 2015-16 fiscal year, and annually thereafter, would require the state maximum SSP grant for individuals to be readjusted and increased so that the state SSP payment and federal SSI payment, when combined, equal 112% of the federal poverty level. By increasing the amount of SSP payments, which are expended from a continuously appropriated fund, the bill would make an appropriation.

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Existing law prohibits a licensee of a long-term health care facility from discriminating or retaliating in any manner against a complainant, or a patient or employee in its facility, based on the presentation of a grievance or complaint or activities related to a specified investigation or proceeding at the facility. Existing law makes the willful violation of these provisions punishable as a crime.

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This bill would expand the antiretaliation protections to apply to all health care workers of a long-term health care facility. The bill would increase the civil penalties and criminal penalties that apply to licensees who violate the provisions. The bill would also specify that a complainant who has been discriminated against may recover attorney’s fees and other legal costs.

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Because this bill would expand the scope of a crime, it would impose a state-mandated local program.

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The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

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This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

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Vote: begin deletemajority end deletebegin insert23end insert. Appropriation: begin deleteno end deletebegin insertyesend insert. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: begin deleteyes end deletebegin insertnoend insert.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

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begin insertSection 12201.02 is added to the end insertbegin insertWelfare and
2Institutions Code
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begin insert, to read:end insert

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3

begin insert12201.02.end insert  

Notwithstanding any other law, for the 2015-16
4fiscal year, and annually thereafter, the state maximum SSP grant
5for individuals shall be readjusted and increased so that the state
6SSP payment and federal SSI payment, when combined, shall equal
7112 percent of the federal poverty level.

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SECTION 1.  

Section 1432 of the Health and Safety Code is
9amended to read:

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1432.  

(a)  (1) A licensee shall not discriminate or retaliate in
2any manner against a complainant, patient, employee, member of
3the medical staff, or any other health care worker of the long-term
4health care facility, on the basis or for the reason that the person
5has done either of the following:

6(A) Presented a grievance, complaint, or report to the facility,
7to an entity or agency responsible for accrediting or evaluating the
8facility or the medical staff of the facility, or to any other
9governmental entity.

10(B) Initiated, participated, or cooperated in an investigation or
11administrative proceeding related to the quality of care, services,
12or conditions at the facility that is carried out by an entity or agency
13responsible for accrediting or evaluating the facility or its medical
14staff, or any other governmental entity.

15(2) An entity that owns or operates a long-term health care
16facility shall not discriminate or retaliate against a person because
17that person has taken an action described in this subdivision.

18(3) A violation of this section is subject to a civil penalty of not
19more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). The civil penalty
20shall be assessed and recovered through the same administrative
21process set forth in Chapter 2.4 (commencing with Section 1417).

22(b)  An attempt to expel a patient from a long-term health care
23facility, or any type of discriminatory treatment of a patient by
24whom, or upon whose behalf, a grievance or complaint has been
25submitted, directly or indirectly, to a governmental entity or
26received by a long-term health care facility administrator or any
27proceeding instituted under or related to this chapter within 180
28days of the filing of the complaint or the institution of the action,
29shall raise a rebuttable presumption that the action was taken by
30the licensee in retaliation for the filing of the complaint.

31(c)  (1) An attempt to terminate the employment, or other
32discriminatory treatment, of an employee, complainant, patient,
33member of the medical staff, or any other health care worker who
34has presented a grievance or complaint or has initiated, participated,
35or cooperated in an investigation or proceeding of a governmental
36entity as specified in subdivision (a), where the facility or licensee
37had knowledge of the employee, complainant, patient, member of
38the medical staff, or any other health care worker’s initiation,
39participation, or cooperation, shall raise a rebuttable presumption
40that the action was taken by the licensee in retaliation if it occurs
P4    1within 120 days of the filing of the grievance or complaint, or the
2institution of the action.

3(2) For purposes of this section, discriminatory treatment of an
4employee, member of the medical staff, or any other health care
5worker includes, but is not limited to, discharge, demotion,
6suspension, or an unfavorable change in, or breach of, the terms
7or conditions of a contract, employment, or privileges of the
8employee, member of the medical staff, or any other health care
9worker of the health care facility, or the threat of any of these
10actions.

11(d)  Presumptions provided for in subdivisions (b) and (c) are
12presumptions affecting the burden of producing evidence as
13provided in Section 603 of the Evidence Code.

14(e)  If the civil penalty assessed is one thousand dollars ($1,000)
15or less, the violation shall be issued and enforced in the same
16manner as a class “B” violation, except in no case shall the penalty
17be trebled. If the civil penalty assessed is in excess of one thousand
18dollars ($1,000), the violation shall be issued and enforced in the
19same manner as a class “A” violation, except in no case shall the
20penalty be trebled.

21(f)  A person who willfully violates this section is guilty of an
22infraction punishable by a fine of not more than twenty thousand
23dollars ($20,000).

24(g)  A licensee who violates this section is subject to a civil
25penalty or a criminal fine, but not both.

26(h)  A long-term health care facility shall prominently post in
27a facility location accessible to staff, patients, and visitors written
28notice of the right to request an inspection pursuant to Section
291419, the procedure for doing so, including the right to remain
30anonymous, and the prohibition against retaliation.

31(i) (1) An employee who has been discriminated against in
32employment pursuant to this section is entitled to reinstatement,
33reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts
34of the employer, and the legal costs associated with pursuing the
35case, or to any remedy deemed warranted by the court pursuant to
36this chapter or any other applicable provision of statutory or
37common law.

38(2) A health care worker who has been discriminated against
39pursuant to this section is entitled to reinstatement, reimbursement
40for lost income, and the legal costs associated with pursuing the
P5    1case, or to any remedy deemed warranted by the court pursuant to
2this chapter or any other applicable provision of statutory or
3common law.

4(3) A member of the medical staff who has been discriminated
5against pursuant to this section is entitled to reinstatement,
6reimbursement for lost income resulting from a change in the terms
7or conditions of his or her privileges caused by the acts of the
8facility or the entity that owns or operates the facility or any other
9health facility that is owned or operated by that entity, and the
10legal costs associated with pursuing the case, or to any remedy
11deemed warranted by the court pursuant to this chapter or any
12other applicable provision of statutory or common law.

13(4) For purposes of this subdivision, “legal costs” means
14attorney’s fees, litigation costs, and expert witness fees incurred
15in the litigation.

16(j) For purposes of this section, “long-term health care facility”
17means a facility defined under Section 1418, including, but not
18limited to, the facility’s administrative personnel, employees,
19boards, and committees of the board, and medical staff.

20(k) For purposes of this section, “complainant” means a person
21who has filed a complaint, as defined in Section 1420.

22(l) This section does not abrogate or limit any other theory of
23liability or remedy otherwise available at law.

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SEC. 2.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
25Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
26the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
27district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
28infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
29for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
30the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
31the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
32Constitution.

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