It’s on the Books--1996 Should Be a Healthier Year

The new year has ushered in several state laws that might affect you or your family’s health.

Prenatal HIV testing: Requires health-care providers to offer HIV testing and counseling to every pregnant woman during prenatal care. The measure--the subject of some controversy over rights of privacy--is considered important because zidovudine (AZT) dramatically reduces HIV transmission from a woman to her fetus. A woman can refuse testing, but health-care providers must retain strict records documenting the offer and any testing and counseling that takes place.

Cigarette vending machines: Prohibits the sale of tobacco products from all vending machines except those in establishments with an on-sale premise liquor license. But vending machines in these establishments must be at least 15 feet from the entrance. The law is aimed at reducing the easy access of tobacco products by minors.


Hepatitis B shots: Specifies that, beginning Aug. 1, 1997, Hepatitis B immunizations will be required for children who enter licensed child-care facilities and schools at the kindergarten level or below. The vaccine consists of three shots given at specific intervals. The first shot is usually administered between birth to 2 months of age.

Medi-Cal gripes: This law creates numerous options for Medi-Cal enrollees appealing complaints. It also requires the Department of Corporations to refer all Medi-Cal enrollee complaints to the Department of Health Services for investigation and resolution.

Teen pregnancy: Sets aside money to fund grants to local educational agencies for implementing teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Domestic violence: States that a person cannot be denied health, life or disability insurance due to being a victim of domestic abuse.