Dignity in Discharge Law: What You Need to Know
CPEHN was proud to sponsor Senate Bill (SB) 1152 in 2017-2018. Thank you to author Senator Ed Hernandez and to all of our community partners who helped lobby for this bill. CPEHN stands committed to seeing a successful implementation of the law surrounding this important issue. Read below to find out more about the changes we will see this year.
Beginning January 1, 2019, all hospitals in California must develop a plan for safely discharging patients without homes. This law prohibits hospitals from engaging in previously reported tactics, such as discharging patients in hospital gowns, leaving patients at unsafe locations, and failing to make necessary mental health referrals.
Specifically, hospitals must do the following:
- Attempt to secure a sheltered discharge location, resource permitting, or discharge a patient to the location of their choice.
- Provide transportation to the discharge location, within 30 miles or 30 minutes of the hospital.
- Offer the patient weather-appropriate clothes.
- Offer the patient a meal.
- Provide referrals to health and mental health resources.
Note for homeless services providers: The law directs hospitals to receive your agreement to discharge a patient to your facility. The law states a preference for this arrangement in order to best coordinate care. However, in order to protect the rights of the patient, if a patient specifically requests to be discharged to your facility, the hospital may do so regardless of your agreement or the appropriateness. If the patient has not specifically requested your facility and the hospital transports the patient there without your agreement, that hospital is in violation of the law and you should report the violation as directed below.
SB 1152 focuses on improved coordination of support resources. By July 1, 2019, each hospital must create a plan for collaborating with community resources, such as shelters, mental health providers, and supportive services. If you could like to be included or involved in this plan, contact your local hospitals.
Hospitals are required to comply with all of the elements of SB 1152 as a condition of licensure. Any violation of the provisions of SB 1152 should be reported the California Department of Public Health, Licensing & Certification Program. To file a complaint, you will need to know the name and location of the facility committing the violation, as well as the date of incident. Visit bit.ly/CDPHcomplaints to file a complaint online. Or email the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) at email@example.com.