Hepatitis Bills in the New Legislative Session
There are several bills related to hepatitis prevention and awareness in California's current legislative session. Here are some of the bills to follow:
AB 300, introduced by Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), imposes minimum statewide standards for the regulation of practitioners engaged in the business of tattooing, body piercing, and the application of permanent cosmetics in California, including evidence of current Hepatitis B vaccination and completion of training in bloodborne pathogens.
AB 310, also introduced by Assemblymember Fiona Ma, would prohibit health care service plans and health insurers that offer outpatient prescription drug coverage from requiring coinsurance from the enrollee as a basis for cost sharing (e.g., specialty drug tiers). The bill would also impose certain limitations on copayments and out-of-pocket expenses for outpatient prescription drugs.
AB 604, introduced by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), would allow the California Department of Public Health to authorize health and social service programs to provide syringe exchange services in any location where the department determines that the conditions exist for the rapid spread of HIV, viral hepatitis or other infections spread through the sharing of used syringes.
AB 1382, introduced by Roger Hernández (D-West Covina), would authorize HIV counselors to perform hepatitis C virus (HCV) or combined HIV/HCV tests in addition to HIV tests that are classified as waived under the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA).
SB 41, introduced by Senator Leland Yee (D, San Francisco), would allow pharmacists and physicians the discretion to furnish 30 or fewer syringes to adults without a prescription as part of the State's comprehensive strategy to prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne diseases.
SCR 36, introduced by Senator Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), would designate May 19th as California's Viral Hepatitis Awareness Day. This resolution helps to increase awareness among Californians of the importance of viral hepatitis prevention, screening, and treatment.
For more on these bills and how to express your support, visit our Policy News and Calls to Action pages. Please get involved and advocate for these bills to help reduce the burden of viral hepatitis in California.
San Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force Releases Recommendations
The San Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force released a report expressing grave concern about the hepatitis C epidemic in San Francisco and outlining a series of recommendations for the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to mount a comprehensive effort to fight the disease. Some recommendations in the document include: establishing a hepatitis C coordinator position at the San Francisco Department of Public Health; ensuring full access to hepatitis C treatment and care through Healthy San Francisco; developing citywide educational/awareness campaigns; and creating a pilot legal supervised injection facility as part of a comprehensive hepatitis C prevention strategy.