Three vaccination measures co-sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA) passed through their respective committees in recent weeks – headed on their way to a full California State Assembly vote.
The measures cover several aspects of vaccination: 1) requiring masks for health care workers who do not vaccinate against the flu; 2) requiring parents of children who seek a personal belief exemption to vaccinating their children to obtain a document signed by a licensed health care practitioner and; 3) requiring health plans to reimburse physicians for the costs of acquiring and administering recommended vaccines.
SB 1318 (Wolk) requires health care workers to wear masks wherever they deliver care if they are not vaccinated for the flu. This bill moved out of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on April 25, 2012. The California Nurses Association opposed this bill because they interpreted it as stepping on workers’ rights rather than as a public safety bill, according to an article in The Sacramento Bee.
In addition to CMA, other sponsors include the Health Officers Association of California and the California Association of Nurse Practitioners. The legislation now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 2109 (Pan) requires parents to meet with a health care practitioner if they seek an immunization exemption for school-aged children. Under Assemblymember Pan's bill, physicians or other licensed health care professionals would have to sign forms attesting that they had described the risks and benefits of vaccinations to parents who refuse to have their children immunized before entering public schools.
AB 2109 passed out of Assembly Health Committee and is headed for Assembly Appropriations.
AB 2064 (Perez) requires health plans and insurers to fully reimburse physicians for the costs to acquire and administer recommended vaccines. The bill will also prohibit health plans and insurers from charging co-payments, deductibles or other out-of-pocket expenses that deter parents from immunizing their children, and prohibit health plans and insurers from including the cost of immunizations in a policy's dollar limit.
The purchase of vaccines is the single most expensive part of a pediatric or family practice. When providers are not adequately reimbursed to cover the direct and indirect costs of providing immunizations, the viability of their practice is threatened, which jeopardizes access.
The bill passed out of the Assembly Health Committee on April 24, 2012, and is now headed for the Assembly Floor.