Governor Signs Limón Bill Giving Healthcare Providers Full Information in Mental Health Emergencies
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Bill 1119, authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) to ensure that emergency healthcare providers have full medical records, has been signed by the Governor. With this new law, emergency healthcare providers will have access to full medical records in case of a mental health crises or situation where a patient is unable to provide consent so that they can make well-informed healthcare decisions when treating patients.
“Lack of information is a substantial barrier to effective care in the emergency room, where patients are in crisis and timely consent is not always possible,” said Assemblymember Limón. “AB 1119 provides emergency physicians with improved access to important medical records to allow them to deliver critical care to patients in need.”
Emergency medicine providers treating patients with mental illnesses report they often have limited access to health records for their patients. Having complete medical information allows an emergency physician to restart a medication or follow an existing treatment plan. Healthcare providers have interpreted existing law differently resulting in incomplete health records and others not released to emergency physicians at all. Having access to a complete medical record means the emergency physician can consult with the current primary care provider, psychiatrist or therapist for a patient. Improved information could allow the emergency physician to make a follow-up appointment for the patient before discharge. This bill addresses the lack of clarity in the law which leads to inconsistent interpretations, with some healthcare providers requiring prior patient consent and some not.
"We are grateful to Assemblymember Limón for authoring this important bill and to the Governor for signing it into law today. This new law gives emergency physicians access to critical medical records, including a patient's previous diagnoses and prescription history, allowing us to provide better care for patients with mental health needs who come to the ER. The more I know about a patient's medical history, the better care I can give them when they need it most," said Dr. Aimee Moulin, President of the California Chapter American College of Emergency Physicians.
AB 1119 was signed on September 27, 2017, and will become law on January 1, 2018.