What are the Material Changes to the Current Law?
Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 1152 into law on September 30, 2018. SB 1152 modifies Section 1262.5 of the Health & Safety Code which currently requires hospitals to have a written discharge planning policy and procedure that provides for appropriate post-hospital care for patients after discharge. Existing law focuses on those patients who are likely to suffer adverse health consequences after being discharged from the hospital if there is no adequate discharge planning. The new law goes further by focusing specifically on homeless patients.
Effective January 1, 2019, SB 1152 will require hospitals to modify their current hospital discharge policies by including a written homeless patient discharge planning policy and procedure. Hospitals must revise current discharge policies to assist homeless patients in preparing for their return to the community by helping them identify a post-discharge destination, with priority given to identifying a sheltered destination with supportive services. Prior to discharging a homeless patient, hospitals are required to document and perform a checklist of events, such as offering the homeless patient a meal, screening for infectious disease, weather-appropriate clothing and transportation to a certain destination within a 30 mile radius. Beginning July 1, 2019, hospitals must also have a written plan for coordinating services and referrals for homeless patients with the county behavioral health agency, health care and social services agencies in the region, health care providers and nonprofit social services providers. Each hospital will be required to maintain a log of the homeless patients discharged from their facilities and the post-discharge destinations of each homeless patient.
Who is Affected by the New Law
The law applies directly to general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals and special hospitals licensed by the California Department of Public Health. However, the new law may indirectly affect behavioral health or other health care facilities that accept homeless patients discharged from a hospital.
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