Written by The Business Journal Staff
The California State Legislature has approved the passage of Senate Bill 1152, a measure aimed at reforming the discharge process for homeless patients in hospitals.
Authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez, O.D. (D-West Covina), SB 1152 addresses a practice known as “patient dumping” where homeless patients can reportedly be discharged under unsafe conditions.
“I believe the way in which we treat our most vulnerable individuals is a reflection of our society as a whole,” Hernandez said. “That’s why California must do everything possible to help homeless individuals get back on their feet, and I believe SB 1152 is a vital step toward achieving that reality.”
Under SB 1152, hospitals are required to include a written homeless patient discharge planning policy and process, and discharge them to a safe and appropriate location. Hospitals are further required to develop 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 to assist with ensuring the appropriate homeless patient discharge.
SB 1152 would also require the hospital to ensure that certain conditions are met as part of the discharge process of a homeless patient. These include offering the patient a meal, appropriate vaccinations and infectious disease screenings, weather-appropriate clothing, transportation to the discharge destination and providing necessary medication if the hospital has a retail pharmacy.
The bill is being sponsored by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California.
The bill is now headed for the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.