Many people have allergies in one form or another. When we need medical help for our allergies we need it immediately, not after months of unnecessary delay because of antiquated regulations. That’s why I introduced Assembly Bill 1739, which passed the Assembly with a unanimous vote this week.
AB 1739 speeds access to allergy care for Medi-Cal patients by allowing primary care doctors to use a blood test to diagnose allergies without referral to a specialist, as currently required under the program’s outdated reimbursement policies. Those policies will be brought up-to-date to make them consistent with current medical standards so that blood tests are treated as equivalent to skin-prick tests for confirming an allergy diagnosis.
Because of the recent expansion in the number of Medi-Cal recipients, many patients are having difficulty finding physicians who will accept their insurance. This problem is compounded for those seeking the dwindling number of specialists accepting Medi-Cal due to the state not re-instating the reimbursement rates for physicians to accept this form of insurance.
The lack of specialists has forced many patients to go undiagnosed and untreated for months while waiting for an appointment with an allergist. Under AB 1739, patient health will improve and taxpayer dollars will be saved by reducing the number of unnecessary referrals to more expensive specialists and by requiring fewer office visits.
AB 1739 has been forwarded to Governor Brown, who will have until September 30 to sign the bill. If you would like to weigh-in on this legislation, the Governor’s office may be contacted at: www.gov.ca.gov/home.php