Client Bill of Rights: California Ethical Treatment for Persons with Substance Use Disorder Act

Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 11857) of Part 2 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code

SECTION 1. Legislative Counsel’s Digest:

The California Ethical Treatment for Persons with Substance Use Disorder Act is enacted to protect substance use disorder treatment clients and their families. This act aims to establish ethical standards for treatment providers and ensure the availability of high-quality, ethical treatment. The provisions of this act are intended to maximize protections for clients, families, and communities.

SEC. 2. Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 11857) is added to Part 2 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code, as follows:

CHAPTER 14. Ethical Treatment for Persons with Substance Use Disorder

(a) This chapter shall be known as the California Ethical Treatment for Persons with Substance Use Disorder Act.

  1. (b) The purpose of this chapter is to provide protection for substance use disorder treatment clients and their families. It shall be construed in favor of maximizing protections for clients, families, and the communities in which they live.

11857.1. Definitions:

(a) “Certified treatment program” refers to a program certified pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 11830) of Part 2.

(b) “Licensed treatment facility” means a facility that is, or is required to be, licensed to provide substance use disorder treatment services, including a residential alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility licensed under Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 11834.01) of Part 2.

(c) “Treatment provider” refers to a licensed treatment facility or a certified treatment program.

11857.2. Client Bill of Rights:

(a) Every treatment provider operating in the state shall adopt and make available to all clients and prospective clients a client bill of rights that ensures the following rights for persons receiving treatment for a substance use disorder:

(1) To be treated for the life-threatening, chronic disease of substance use disorder with honesty, respect, and dignity, including privacy in treatment and in the care of personal needs.

(2) To be fully informed by the treatment provider of all aspects of recommended treatment, including the option of no treatment, risks, and expected results.

(3) To be treated by qualified staff members.

(4) To receive evidence-based treatment.

(5) To receive simultaneous treatment for co-occurring behavioral health conditions, when medically appropriate and authorized by the treatment provider.

(6) To receive an individualized, outcome-driven treatment plan.

(7) To remain in treatment for as long as the treatment provider is authorized to treat the client.

(8) To receive support, education, and treatment for their families and loved ones, if authorized by the treatment provider.

(9) To receive care in a treatment setting that is safe and ethical.

(10) To be free from mental and physical abuse, exploitation, coercion, and physical restraint.

(11) To be informed of these rights upon enrollment for treatment, as acknowledged in writing or documented in the clinical record.

(12) To be informed by the treatment provider of the law regarding complaints, including the address and telephone number of the department.

(13) To receive ethical care that complies with the requirements set forth in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 10500) of Division 4 of Title 9 of the California Code of Regulations and the alcohol and other drug program certification standards adopted in accordance with Section 11830.1, if applicable.

(b) This section does not require a treatment provider to offer treatment or services for which they will not be reimbursed.

11857.3. Marketing and Advertising:

(a) Treatment providers shall not engage in false, misleading, or deceptive marketing practices, including but not limited to:

(1) Misrepresenting the qualifications, credentials, or experience of staff members or treatment providers.

(2) Making false claims about the effectiveness or outcomes of treatment.

(3) Using testimonials or endorsements that are not genuine or accurate.

(4) Failing to disclose material information regarding the nature of the treatment, costs, potential risks, and limitations.

(5) Engaging in bait-and-switch tactics or offering inducements that are prohibited by law or professional standards.

(6) Using marketing materials that target vulnerable populations or exploit their vulnerabilities.

(b) Treatment providers shall ensure that all marketing and advertising materials are truthful, accurate, and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

(c) Treatment providers shall provide clear and easily understandable information about their services, fees, and treatment approaches in their marketing materials.

(d) Treatment providers shall not engage in deceptive or coercive practices to solicit clients or pressure them into seeking treatment.

(e) Treatment providers shall not use testimonials or endorsements that violate patient confidentiality or privacy rights.

(f) The department responsible for oversight of treatment programs shall establish guidelines and standards for the marketing and advertising practices of treatment providers, and treatment providers shall comply with these guidelines and standards.

11857.4. Confidentiality and Privacy:

(a) Treatment providers shall maintain the confidentiality and privacy of client information in accordance with state and federal laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the regulations adopted thereunder.

(b) Treatment providers shall obtain informed consent from clients regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information, and shall provide clients with a clear understanding of their rights regarding the privacy and confidentiality of their information.

(c) Treatment providers shall implement appropriate security measures to protect client information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.

(d) Treatment providers shall not disclose client information without the client’s written consent, except as authorized or required by law or regulations.

(e) Treatment providers shall inform clients of their rights regarding the privacy and confidentiality of their information, including the right to access their own records and to request amendments or corrections.

(f) Treatment providers shall have policies and procedures in place to address breaches of client confidentiality and privacy and shall notify affected clients in a timely manner in the event of a breach.

11857.5. Grievance and Complaint Procedures:

(a) Treatment providers shall have established procedures for addressing client grievances and complaints and shall provide clients with information on how to file a complaint or grievance.

(b) Treatment providers shall respond to client grievances and complaints in a timely and appropriate manner.

(c) Treatment providers shall not retaliate against clients who file grievances or complaints in good faith.

(d) The department responsible for oversight of treatment programs shall establish procedures for receiving and investigating client grievances and complaints, and treatment providers shall cooperate with the department in the resolution of such grievances and complaints.

11857.6. Enforcement:

(a) The department responsible for oversight of treatment programs shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter and shall take appropriate action against treatment providers found to be in violation of these provisions.

(b) The department may impose penalties, including fines, license suspension or revocation, or other appropriate sanctions, for violations of this chapter.

(c) Clients who believe their rights under this chapter have been violated may file a complaint with the department, and the department shall investigate and take appropriate action in response to such complaints.

11857.7. Severability:

If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected.

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