CANHR's Legislative Alert on AB 2104
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Stop SB 503 - A Deadly Shift in Nursing Home Care

SB 503: A Nursing Home Nightmare
Imagine you are an elderly person who recently suffered a fall at home, injuring your leg and ankle.  You are sent to a hospital for treatment.  At the hospital, you develop an infection and suffer mild delirium.  As a result of the delirium, you are prescribed Ativan, a powerful tranquilizer, and Ambien, a sleeping pill, to make sure you stay in bed to protect your leg. You are sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation.  You do not sign an admission agreement with the nursing home.

At the nursing home, you receive a notice that the nursing home physician, who has never met you, has determined you are not capable of making your own treatment decisions and so the nursing home will make them for you.  The physician has proposed you continue to receive Ativan and Ambien, although they make you groggy and dizzy.  He has also proposed the amputation of your leg because of the injuries sustained in the fall.  The notice tells you that if you want to keep your leg or avoid the sedating drugs, you must contact an attorney and file a lawsuit.  However, you cannot go to an attorney's office because the physician has ordered that you may not leave the facility due to your incapacity.  You have no options.

Using a late-hour legislative maneuver called “gut and amend,” the California Department of Public Health (DPH) has introduced SB 503 (Hernandez), a bill that would permit nursing homes to chemically restrain and make end-of-life decisions for residents alleged to be incapacitated.  The Alameda County Superior Court recently found the law on which SB 503 is based to be unconstitutional.  Rather than re-write the law to comply with the constitutional rights of nursing home residents, DPH is doubling down on its illegal features, expanding the law’s scope to include dangerous chemical restraints and irreversible end-of-life decisions.  The bill radically shifts American law by forcing the residents whose rights are being violated to go to court rather than the nursing homes that are pushing intrusive, involuntary “care.”

SB 503 will be heard on
August 9th, 2016.

The bill was introduced late in the legislative session and there is very little time to kill it.

Please write to the committee (and send a copy to CANHR) by August 2 to register your opposition.  

Assembly Member Jim Wood
Chair, Assembly Health Committee
State Capitol, Room 6005
Sacramento, CA 95814
FAX: (916) 319-2197

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