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Limón Bill Gives Healthcare Providers Full Information in Emergencies

Assemblymember Monique Limón

Assemblymember Monique Limón

SACRAMENTO—Assembly Bill 1119, authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) ensures that emergency healthcare providers have full medical records so that they can make well-informed healthcare decisions when treating patients with mental illnesses. The measure passed unanimously out of the Assembly Health Committee on May 9. Emergency medicine providers treating patients with mental illnesses report they often have limited access to health records for their 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.”

For example, having a patient’s 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 a patient’s primary care provider, psychiatrist or therapist. 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.

“AB 1119 will help our members provide better care to our patients. Accessing these medical records in an emergency means we’ll be able to restart a patient on medication and connect patients to their mental health providers for follow up care,” said Dr. Larry Stock, President of the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

AB 1119 seeks to provide the clarification recommended by the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) to allow for the sharing of medical information for patients with a mental illness. The measure will be heard on the Assembly Floor in upcoming weeks. 
Assemblymember Monique Limón represents the 37th Assembly District which includes Santa Barbara, Ventura, Goleta, Carpinteria, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Buellton, Solvang, Summerland, Isla Vista, Montecito and parts of Oxnard. She currently serves as an Assembly Assistant Majority Whip.

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