SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California may require anti-vaccination families to go through the State Department of Public Health in order to get a medical exemption.
The law already eliminates all non-medical exemptions in order for students to enter school; however, the number of medical exemptions issued has more than tripled since that law went into effect in 2015.
Senate Bill 276 would require all doctors to submit a standardized exemption form to the state and verify they have personally examined a child. Currently, doctors are able to submit an exemption on the local level using whatever form they would like. The loophole has led some families to get medical exemptions elsewhere.
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According to the Senate Analysis done on SB 276:
“Many of the exemptions are clustered in the same schools, creating concentrated pockets of unvaccinated individuals. At almost 60 schools in the state, more than 10% of kindergarteners had medical exemptions. According to PHO, the rise in medical exemptions is associated with an increase in physicians issuing exemptions for children without medically-justified contraindications. While the vast majority of physicians uphold standards of care, a small number of unethical physicians have monetized their license by selling medical exemptions for profit.”
The State Department of Public Health would create the form by July 1, 2020, and make it available to licensed physicians and surgeons statewide. Physicians would be legally required to use that form a year later. The form would need to include:
- The name, medical license number, business address, and telephone number of the licensed physician or surgeon
- The child’s name and the child’s parent/guardian name
- Statement certifying the licensed physician or surgeon personally examined the child
- Description of the medical reason for the exemption
In order to submit an exemption, the doctor would be required to discuss the new requirements with the parents or guardians and do an examination of the child. The State Public Health Officer, or a designee, would then approve or deny the request. If a request is denied the Public Health Officer would need to include a reason and would allow a doctor to submit additional information within 30 days for further review.
California would also be required to maintain a database of approved medical exemption requests and give access to local health officers.