California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC § 1317.1

Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions shall control the construction of this article and Section 1371.4 :

(a)(1) “Emergency services and care” means medical screening, examination, and evaluation by a physician and surgeon, or, to the extent permitted by applicable law, by other appropriate licensed persons under the supervision of a physician and surgeon, to determine if an emergency medical condition or active labor exists and, if it does, the care, treatment, and surgery, if within the scope of that person's license, necessary to relieve or eliminate the emergency medical condition, within the capability of the facility.

(2)(A) “Emergency services and care” also means an additional screening, examination, and evaluation by a physician, or other personnel to the extent permitted by applicable law and within the scope of their licensure and clinical privileges, to determine if a psychiatric emergency medical condition exists, and the care and treatment necessary to relieve or eliminate the psychiatric emergency medical condition, within the capability of the facility.

(B) The care and treatment necessary to relieve or eliminate a psychiatric emergency medical condition may include admission or transfer to a psychiatric unit within a general acute care hospital, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1250 , or to an acute psychiatric hospital, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1250 , pursuant to subdivision (k).  Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed to permit a transfer that is in conflict with the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (Part 1 (commencing with Section 5000) of Division 5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code ).

(C) For the purposes of Section 1371.4 , emergency services and care as defined in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to Medi-Cal managed care plan contracts entered into with the State Department of Health Care Services pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000), Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 14200 ), and Chapter 8.75 (commencing with Section 14590) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code , to the extent that those services are excluded from coverage under those contracts.

(D) This paragraph does not expand, restrict, or otherwise affect the scope of licensure or clinical privileges for clinical psychologists or other medical personnel.

(b) “Emergency medical condition” means a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:

(1) Placing the patient's health in serious jeopardy.

(2) Serious impairment to bodily functions.

(3) Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

(c) “Active labor” means a labor at a time at which either of the following would occur:

(1) There is inadequate time to effect safe transfer to another hospital prior to delivery.

(2) A transfer may pose a threat to the health and safety of the patient or the unborn child.

(d) “Hospital” means all hospitals with an emergency department licensed by the state department.

(e) “State department” means the State Department of Public Health.

(f) “Medical hazard” means a material deterioration in medical condition in, or jeopardy to, a patient's medical condition or expected chances for recovery.

(g) “Board” means the Medical Board of California.

(h) “Within the capability of the facility” means those capabilities that the hospital is required to have as a condition of its emergency medical services permit and services specified on Services Inventory Form 7041 filed by the hospital with the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

(i) “Consultation” means the rendering of an opinion or advice, prescribing treatment, or the rendering of a decision regarding hospitalization or transfer by telephone or other means of communication.  When determined to be medically necessary, jointly by the treating physician and surgeon, or by other appropriate licensed persons acting within their scope of licensure, under the supervision of a physician and surgeon, and the consulting physician and surgeon, “consultation includes review of the patient's medical record, examination, and treatment of the patient in person by a consulting physician and surgeon, or by other appropriate licensed persons acting within their scope of licensure under the supervision of a consulting physician and surgeon, who is qualified to give an opinion or render the necessary treatment in order to stabilize the patient.  A request for consultation shall be made by the treating physician and surgeon, or by other appropriate licensed persons acting within their scope of licensure under the supervision of a treating physician and surgeon, provided the request is made with the contemporaneous approval of the treating physician and surgeon.  The treating physician and surgeon may request to communicate directly with the consulting physician and surgeon, and when determined to be medically necessary, jointly by the treating physician and surgeon and the consulting physician and surgeon, the consulting physician and surgeon shall examine and treat the patient in person.  The consulting physician and surgeon is ultimately responsible for providing the necessary consultation to the patient, regardless of who makes the in-person appearance.

(j) A patient is “stabilized” or “stabilization” has occurred when, in the opinion of the treating physician and surgeon, or other appropriate licensed persons acting within their scope of licensure under the supervision of a treating physician and surgeon, the patient's medical condition is such that, within reasonable medical probability, no material deterioration of the patient's condition is likely to result from, or occur during, the release or transfer of the patient as provided for in Section 1317.2 , Section 1317.2a , or other pertinent statute.

(k)(1) “Psychiatric emergency medical condition” means a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that it renders the patient as being either of the following:

(A) An immediate danger to himself or herself or to others.

(B) Immediately unable to provide for, or utilize, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

(2) This subdivision does not expand, restrict, or otherwise affect the scope of licensure or clinical privileges for clinical psychologists or medical personnel.

(l) This section shall not be construed to expand the scope of licensure for licensed persons providing services pursuant to this section.


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