Legislation on Approval of Psychotropic Medications on Assembly Floor

A bill that would require a patient with a major neurocognitive disorder (MNCD) who has a conservator to go to court for judicial approval when a physician prescribes any psychotropic medication, is currently on the Assembly Floor.

SB 938 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara), would force conservators to attain court approval to administer any antipsychotic or psychotropic medication, including antidepressant, sleeping pill, anti-anxiety medication, antipsychotic, or other psychotherapeutic drugs.

LeadingAge California is concerned that SB 938 places a huge new burden on residents with a MNCD who have a conservator, their families, their physicians and nurses, and the court system. SB 938 would likely delay a resident’s medical treatment due to the time needed to prepare the extensive paperwork for the judge that is required by this bill, get on the judge’s calendar, and obtain a judicial decision. Furthermore, we believe that it is not the court’s role to make or approve medical decisions. There are already significant protections in place to ensure that conservators make decisions based on the best interests of the patient. The court’s role is to appoint a conservator who will act in the patient’s best interest, and to adjudicate disputes.

LeadingAge California is currently part of a coalition of healthcare providers opposed to SB 938 unless it is amended. We are asking the author to limit the bill only to antipsychotic medication and not psychotropic medication.

For questions, please contact Jedd Hampton, director of policy – health services at jhampton@leadingageca.org or (916) 469-3366.