California passes Senate Bill 1419 to overhaul how electronic medical records are released

On September 30, Governor Newsome signed Senate Bill 1419legislation sponsored by the California Medical Association to provide physicians with the ability to respect the privacy and wishes of patients when disclosing their protected health information.

While the 21st The Century Cures Act’s Information Blocking Rule has allowed patients far greater access to their healthcare data, leading to unintended consequences and unnecessary distress for patients who receive information about their health care results. test electronically without interpretation by a doctor.

SB 1419, as currently written, makes changes to California law, including: giving doctors more time to interpret potentially life-changing test results before releasing them electronically to the patient; provide additional legal protections for highly sensitive data, such as adolescent mental health and reproductive data; and clarify that clinical notes are considered part of the patient’s medical record.

This bill would be define “testing” for these purposes would apply to both clinical laboratory testing and imaging scans, such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound or other similar technologies and would also make changes compliant. The bill would remove the requirement that a health professional review the results before they are released to the patient via posting on the Internet or other electronic means.

Minor patients

The the legislation would change California law to say that a representative of a minor does not have the right to inspect or obtain copies of the minor’s medical records, including clinical notes, in certain circumstances, including when the health care provider believes that such access by the representative would have a “detrimental effect on the provider’s professional relationship with the minor patient”, the minor’s physical safety, or the minor’s psychological well-being. The decision made by a health care provider does not entail any liability for the provider, unless it is found that the provider made the decision in bad faith.

Mental health records

The the legislation would also amend the current law so that if a health care provider believes there would be a “substantial risk of significant harm or harm” to a patient who sees or receives a copy of their mental health records, the provider may refuse to disclose the records to the patient, under certain conditions.

However, the provider must allow inspection of records by licensed physicians and surgeons, licensed psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, or licensed professional clinical counselors, appointed at the patient’s request.

In addition, the provider who denies a patient’s request for mental health records must also inform the patient of their refusal to provide access to the records and inform the patient of their right to require the provider to authorize the inspection by/provide copies to one of the above-mentioned healthcare professionals, designated by the patient’s written authorization.

California Medical Association Commentary

“Giving patients access to their own health information is very important because it allows them to be partners in their care. SB 1419 will give patients the support they need as they learn sensitive and potentially life-changing information about their health and well-being,” said California Medical Association President Robert E. Wailes, MD

Norman D. Briggs