Bill Text: CA AB326 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Chaptered


Bill Title: Health care service plans: Consumer Participation Program.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Passed) 2021-10-09 - Chaptered by Secretary of State - Chapter 741, Statutes of 2021. [AB326 Detail]

Download: California-2021-AB326-Chaptered.html

Assembly Bill No. 326
CHAPTER 741

An act to amend Section 1348.9 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to health care.

[ Approved by Governor  October 09, 2021. Filed with Secretary of State  October 09, 2021. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 326, Luz Rivas. Health care service plans: Consumer Participation Program.
Existing law, until January 1, 2024, requires the Director of the Department of Managed Health Care to establish the Consumer Participation Program, which allows the director to award reasonable advocacy and witness fees to a person or organization that represents consumers and has made a substantial contribution on behalf of consumers to the adoption of a regulation or with regard to an order or decision impacting a significant number of enrollees. By March 1, 2004, and annually thereafter, existing law requires the department to report to specified committees of the Legislature on prescribed information relating to the program, including the amount of reasonable advocacy and witness fees awarded.
This bill would indefinitely extend the operation of that program, would delete the annual reporting requirement to the specified legislative committees, and would instead require the department to annually post that information on its public internet website by March 1, 2022, and each March 1 thereafter.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1348.9 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

1348.9.
 (a) On or before July 1, 2003, the director shall adopt regulations to establish the Consumer Participation Program, which shall allow for the director to award reasonable advocacy and witness fees to a person or organization that demonstrates that the person or organization represents the interests of consumers and has made a substantial contribution on behalf of consumers to the adoption of a regulation or to an order or decision made by the director if the order or decision has the potential to impact a significant number of enrollees.
(b) The regulations adopted by the director shall include specifications for eligibility of participation, rates of compensation, and procedures for seeking compensation. The regulations shall require that the person or organization demonstrate a record of advocacy on behalf of health care consumers in administrative or legislative proceedings in order to determine whether the person or organization represents the interests of consumers.
(c) This section applies to all proceedings of the department, but does not apply to resolution of individual grievances, complaints, or cases.
(d) Fees awarded pursuant to this section may not exceed three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) each fiscal year.
(e) The fees awarded pursuant to this section shall be considered costs and expenses pursuant to Section 1356 and shall be paid from the assessment made under that section. The amount of the assessment shall not be increased to pay the fees awarded under this section.
(f) By March 1, 2022, and annually each March 1 thereafter, the department shall post all of the following information on its public internet website:
(1) The amount of reasonable advocacy and witness fees awarded each fiscal year.
(2) The individuals or organization to whom advocacy and witness fees were awarded pursuant to this section.
(3) The orders, decisions, and regulations pursuant to which the advocacy and witness fees were awarded.

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