Supervisor Hahn Celebrates the State Assembly Health Committee’s Unanimous Approval of AB 1795

Sacramento, CA— Today, members of the California State Assembly’s Health Committee voted 9-0 in favor of AB 1795, an LA County-sponsored bill championed by Fourth District LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn. The bill will now be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Under current California State law, law enforcement personnel are allowed to transport intoxicated patients or patients experiencing mental health episodes to sobering centers or mental health centers but Emergency Medical Technicians but paramedics are barred from doing so. Instead, paramedics are required to bring these patients to a hospital emergency room, which is often not the best place for these patients and contributes to overcrowding.

“The bottom line is that if people like you and I can take an individual to a sobering center or a mental health urgent care center,” said Supervisor Hahn, “why can’t a highly trained medical professional do the same?”

Supervisor Janice Hahn has been a strong advocate for this reform and recommended that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors support AB 1795, state legislation sponsored by State Assemblyman Mike Gipson, which would allow local Emergency Medical Services agencies to submit plans to the State Emergency Medical Services Authority for the transport of patients to a sobering center or mental health urgent care center.

The homeless crisis makes this effort increasingly important.  30% of homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles County suffer from serious mental illness.  18% suffer from substance abuse disorders. These facilities are designed to be both more appropriate and more effective places to treat certain individuals in their moment of need—keeping them out of long, expensive hospital stays and out of jail. There are 5 Mental Health Urgent Care Centers in the County and one Sobering Center located in Skid Row.

“Our mental health urgent care centers and the sobering center at Skid Row were designed to provide humane, compassionate care, tailored to meet the needs of their patients,” said Supervisor Hahn. “This change is common sense. Our paramedics’ hands are tied by an outdated state law.”

In 1970, Supervisor Janice Hahn’s father, former-Supervisor Kenny Hahn, proposed the creation of California’s first paramedic system.  Supervisor Janice Hahn is now excited to be working to improve the program that her father worked so hard to create.