The California State Legislature has passed two California Medical Association (CMA)-sponsored bills: AB 2121, a life-saving measure requiring alcohol servers and managers to complete a training course on responsible beverage service; and SB 1177, to establish a Physician Health and Wellness Program for California physicians. Another CMA-sponsored bill, SB 563, was incorporated into SB 1160 to increase transparency and accountability in the workers’ compensation utilization review process. These bills are now on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature.
AB 2121 would make Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control responsible beverage training mandatory statewide for anyone serving alcoholic beverages. Educating beverage servers in bars and restaurants is a key component to reducing drunk-driving fatalities. The bill was spurred by a tragic drunk-driving accident that took the lives of two medical students from the University of California, San Diego.
In 2013, alcohol-involved collisions resulted in nearly 1,100 deaths in California and more than 16,000 injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.
“Many of these tragedies can be avoided by giving alcohol servers the tools needed to effectively and safely intervene with an intoxicated patron," said CMA President Steve Larson, M.D., MPH. "AB 2121 will make our streets safer and reduce the death toll caused by drunk driving, and we urge the governor’s support of this measure.”
SB 1177 would authorize the Medical Board of California to establish a Physician and Surgeon Health and Wellness Program for California physicians suffering from substance abuse disorders.
CMA-sponsored SB 563, which was absorbed into SB 1160, would expressly prohibit financial incentives for workers' compensation utilization review physicians and companies, ensuring focus accurately remains on the question of medical necessity and that injured workers get timely access to the care they need. The bill also includes a number of other reforms to the utilization review process.
For more information on these any other bills of interest to physicians, CMA members can sign up for CMA's Legislative Hot List at www.cmanet.org/newsletters.