An Assembly Bill that would revise the criteria under which the California Department of Public Health (DPH) issues civil penalties is currently under final consideration by the California State Senate, where it is expected to pass and be sent to the Governor.
AB 506 (Kalra, D-San Jose) would change the requirement that DPH has to prove the death of a resident was the “direct proximate cause” of a violation by the facility, to instead require proof that violation was a “substantial factor” in the death of a resident and that the death was a “foreseeable result” of the violation.
LeadingAge California, along with the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF), California Hospital Association (CHA), and the Disability Services Network (DSN) have been working throughout the year with the author and sponsors of the legislation to resolve our concerns.
The sponsors and opponents of AB 506 reached an agreement last month to include the component of “foreseeability” in the definition of “direct proximate cause” to assuage our concerns around changing the requirement, thereby allowing us to go neutral on the bill. However, DPH has opposed this compromise, stating that they do not agree with including “foreseeability” in the new requirement. To date, the author has chosen to keep the “foreseeability” language in the bill, despite the fact that DPH is opposing. The bill will very likely get off the senate floor today and head to the Governor for signature.
We are continuing to work with our coalition to ensure that the language around “foreseeability” stays in the bill. If this language were removed from the bill, we, along with the rest of our coalition partners, would move to an oppose position on this bill.