Senator Kamlager’s Street Medicine Act, First of Its Kind, Passes Off the Senate Floor

SACRAMENTO, CA — Today, Senator Sydney K. Kamlager’s (D - Los Angeles) historic bill, AB 369: The Street Medicine Act, passed off the Senator Floor. The bill passed in a vote of 32-0, and now goes back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote.

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. 

It is the first legislation of its kind in the country. 

“When we see people who are unhoused and not able to consistently access health care, we have to stop and ask ourselves what the underlying reasons are,” said Senator Kamlager. “If the system is built in a way that creates insurmountable barriers to health care for those experiencing homelessness -- reengineer the system.” 

Concerns for basic survival, transportation, lack of a mailing address, lack of ID, and mental illness make it difficult, if not impossible, for PEH to access care in a traditional health care setting. Despite complex care needs, PEH have less access to preventive, primary, and specialty health care services. And, on average, PEH have life expectancies 30 years shorter than their housed peers.

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 would remove barriers to care by: 

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

The bill is supported by over 40 organizations and elected officials. The University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Family Medicine’s Student Run Homeless Clinics and University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, supporters of the bill, were also instrumental in helping craft it. 

Street medicine has been shown to reduce avoidable, expensive hospital admissions by two-thirds, and to reduce the duration of hospitalization. PEH have 740% more hospital days at 170% greater cost per day than people who are housed.

The work of USC’s Street Medicine program was featured in the Indivisible People’s mini-documentary: We Can’t Let Homeless People Die: USC Street Medicine on Skid Row. The documentary was intended to shed light on the day-to-day operations of a street medicine team and also urge support of AB 369.

“We’re not only in the process of making history today,” continued Senator Kamlager. “We’re showing the nation that living on the streets doesn’t make you any less human. Regardless of housing situations, people are deserving of health care and compassion.” 

AB 369 goes back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote. If it passes through, it will then go to the Governor for a signature.

See the full legislative package Senator Kamlager is authoring here

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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.