AB 2537 And SB 275 – Impose Requirements On General Acute Care Hospital Employers And Other Healthcare Employers Regarding Personal Protective Equipment

CATEGORY: Client Update for Public Agencies, Fire Watch, Law Enforcement Briefing Room, Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education, Public Employers, Public Safety
DATE: Oct 26, 2020

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, health care facilities in California quickly experienced a severe supply shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, respirators, and eye protection.  The resulting shortage led health care employers in some cases to require their employees to ration and even re-use PPE. AB 2537 and SB 275 were enacted to protect healthcare workers from the spread of infectious diseases and to ensure an adequate supply of PPE to prepare for future public health emergencies. The two bills impose a number of requirements on public and private health care employers.

AB 2537 applies to any public or private sector employer that employs workers to provide direct patient care in a general acute care hospital. SB 275 has a broader scope and also applies to employers that employ workers in a skilled nursing facility, a medical practice that is operated or maintained as part of an integrated health system or health facility, or a licensed dialysis clinic.

Both bills codify existing law by specifying that covered health care employers must supply PPE to any employees who provide direct patient care, or who provide services that directly support patient care in a general acute care hospital, and must ensure that employees actually use the PPE supplied to them.

In addition, AB 2537 requires general acute care hospital employers to maintain a stockpile of specific types of PPE, in which any single-use equipment must consist of unexpired, new equipment. The bill also imposes certain reporting requirements relating to the stockpiling and consumption rate of PPE. SB 275 requires the State to maintain a similar stockpile for emergency use, as well as imposing additional stockpiling and reporting obligations on covered health care employers beginning January 1, 2023.

(AB 2537 adds Section 6403.3 to the Labor Code. SB 275 adds Section 13101021 to the Health and Safety Code and adds Section 6403.1 to the Labor Code.)