- Furkan Yalcin
SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo announced today that her bill, Modernizing Healthcare Access in California (AB 1697), was signed into law by Governor Newsom. The legislation reduces administrative barriers to healthcare access that patients face in authorizing medical providers or sharing their medical history by giving equal legal weight to electronic signatures.
"Patients deserve timely healthcare and having to sign a paper form should never be a barrier that delays care. Our bill, which was just signed by the Governor, acknowledges the progress we have made in online transactions and digital security, and ensures patients receive prompt care without compromising their security or delaying access to healthcare. This bill brings California into current day technology saving Californians time, money and frustration so they can focus on getting the care they need." said Assemblywoman Schiavo.
Over the course of the pandemic, telehealth created an invaluable link for many to timely access to health care. The Government Accountability Office found that telehealth use among Medicaid beneficiaries increased fifteen fold in 2021. However, as these appointments increasingly occur online, the need for a physical signature on necessary medical release forms has created a new and unnecessary barrier to accessing healthcare. Requiring signatures at a facility during business hours from individuals with inflexible schedules, or requiring a signature via mail, can delay needed care unnecessarily. AB1697 removes those barriers so everyone has access to the healthcare they need and deserve.