Senator Kamlager, Mayor Garcetti, and Health Care Advocates Call on Governor Newsom to Sign Street Medicine Act, First of Its Kind, into Law

SACRAMENTO, CA — A robust coalition of health care and housing organizations, as well as city and county electeds, have come together to voice their support of AB 369: The Street Medicine Act, authored by Senator Kamlager (D - 30). AB 369, having sailed through the Legislature and received nearly unanimous support recently in the Assembly and Senate, is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. 

AB 369 would allow for people experiencing homelessness (PEH) to access health and social services outside the walls of a traditional medical clinic, including street medicine, shelter-based care, and within transitional housing. Understanding PEH are oftentimes faced with overwhelming barriers to health care, AB 369 aims to truly meet people where they are. 

“The urgent need for health care doesn’t stop at the streets--in fact, it’s even more needed, ” said Senator Kamlager. “AB 369 provides robust solutions to some of California’s most pressing issues, that of homelessness and health care, and the longer we wait to support true health care accessibility, the more lives are lost. I’m grateful to have seen AB 369 pass out of the Legislature and continue to maintain widespread organizational support and am hopeful Governor Newsom will sign it into law. “

Health care delivery models like mobile clinics and street medicine programs provide medical and behavioral health care, treat for substance use, help enroll PEH in social services, and assist with housing transitions. AB 369 builds upon the work already being done by street medicine programs. The bill aims to remove barriers to care by: 

  • Extending Medi-Cal presumptive eligibility to PEH
  • Allowing PEH to receive Medi-Cal services and referrals from all licensed primary care providers regardless of empanelment
  • Removing the ID requirement for PEH seeking care
  • Allowing PEH to receive comprehensive Medi-Cal benefits outside the walls of a traditional medical setting.

AB 369 is the first legislation of its kind in the country. The bill is supported by 70 entities, including the California Medical Association, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, California Association of Veteran Service Agencies, the counties of Kern and San Francisco, and many others. 

"Throughout the pandemic, cities like Los Angeles worked hard to bring COVID-19 testing and vaccines directly to those living on the street," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Senator Kamlager's bill will not only increase access to comprehensive health care and services for Californians experiencing homelessness— it will help to save lives."

“California’s Street Medicine Act (AB 369) provides a vital lifeline of health care services for Californians experiencing homelessness,” said Carmela Coyle, President & CEO of the California Hospital Association. “By removing barriers that deny medical treatment and other benefits normally covered by Medi-Cal, AB 369 takes an important step toward increasing access to comprehensive care and achieving greater health equity for all.”

“Family physicians care for individuals throughout their lives and address the whole spectrum of life’s medical challenges, so they understand the importance of providing health care services to persons experiencing homelessness where they are,”  said Shannon Connolly, MD, President of California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP). “They are part of street medicine teams that go to people experiencing homelessness to provide them with medical and behavioral health care, treatment for substance use disorders, and basic necessities. CAFP supports AB 369 because it will increase access to comprehensive care and improve health equity for Californians experiencing homelessness.”

“The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems strongly supports AB 369, which will increase access to comprehensive care and is a vital step in achieving equity and inclusion for Californians experiencing homelessness,” said Sarah Hesketh, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH).  “Public health care systems serve many vulnerable populations in our communities, and breaking down barriers to care is critical. The street medicine model directly addresses unsheltered homeless individuals’ unique needs and circumstances, allowing teams to provide medical and behavioral health care, treatment for substance use disorders, assistance with housing transitions, and other necessities. We thank Senator Kamlager for her leadership on this important issue.”

“Housing California is pleased to support AB 369 from Senator Kamlager,” said Housing California Policy Director Chris Martin. “Those experiencing homelessness die on average 30 years sooner than the general population because they lack access to basic but essential health services and preventative medicine. Incorporating street medicine into existing health care infrastructure is a significant step in achieving health justice, equity, and inclusion for Californians experiencing homelessness. AB 369 provides a path to direct, comprehensive care that will save lives and we urge the Governor to sign this critical legislation.”

AB 369 was presented to the Governor on September 10. Senator Kamlager, and the wide range of AB 369 supporters, eagerly await the Governor’s signature. 

See the full legislative package Senator Kamlager is authoring here

To set up an interview with Senator Kamlager or any of the supportive organizations, please contact Elizabeth Wells, elizabeth.wells@sen.ca.gov

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Senate District 30 ranges from Century City to South Los Angeles and takes in Culver City, Cheviot Hills, Crenshaw District, USC, downtown L.A. and a portion of Inglewood.