California Drug Formulary Bill - AB 1224 Clears Senate Committee Hurdle

by Helios | Sep 04, 2015

Following passage by the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 31, 2015, the California Drug Formulary Bill AB1124 is now heading for the Senate floor where it will be amended later today with agreed-upon language. The bill should receive enough votes next week for passage in the Senate and will then move on to the Assembly for concurrence and final passage.

The latest version of the bill provides intent language guiding the development of the formulary by the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (the Division). It also establishes a phased implementation for claims with dates of injury prior to July 1, 2017. The benefit of a phased implementation is that it gives treating physicians and payers time to work through any potential issues for injured workers with long-term use of medications not included in the formulary. Another critical component of the legislation is an exemption from the normal rulemaking process for drug updates once the formulary is operational. The Division will set up a streamlined process so the formulary can be updated quickly as new drugs are approved or as new safety information related to current drugs in the formulary is released. 

We are grateful for the invitation to participate on a small working group that helped shape the agreed-upon language for this legislation. The meetings were intense and lively but the committee was resolute and focused to ensure the drug formulary was crafted to optimize outcomes for injured workers. Moreover, we applaud the efforts of Assembly Member Perea and his staff for negotiating the various interests and for the development of a bill that will have a lasting, positive impact on the California workers’ compensation system. 

Helios joined a broad coalition of stakeholders, including the Chamber of Commerce and insurance trade associations in supporting the bill. Once the bill passes the Assembly, it will go to the Governor’s office where Governor Brown is expected to affix his signature in approval. Text and status of the legislation can be viewed here.

Additionally, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation is wasting no time in the development of the drug formulary. The first public forum on the topic will be held on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in their Oakland office. Our government affairs team will be there, actively engaged in the rulemaking process.