CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE
[Liability of of Health Care Sevice Plans]
- (a) For services rendered on or after January 1, 2001, a
health care service plan or managed care entity, as described in
subdivision (f) of Section 1345 of the Health and Safety Code, shall
have a duty of ordinary care to arrange for the provision of
medically necessary health care service to its subscribers and
enrollees, where the health care service is a benefit provided under
the plan, and shall be liable for any and all harm legally caused by
its failure to exercise that ordinary care when both of the following
- (1) The failure to exercise ordinary care resulted in the denial,
delay, or modification of the health care service recommended for, or
furnished to, a subscriber or enrollee.
- (2) The subscriber or enrollee suffered substantial harm.
- (b) For purposes of this section:
- (1) substantial harm means loss
of life, loss or significant impairment of limb or bodily function,
significant disfigurement, severe and chronic physical pain, or
significant financial loss;
- (2) health care services need not be
recommended or furnished by an in-plan provider, but may be
recommended or furnished by any health care provider practicing
within the scope of his or her practice; and
- (3) health care services
shall be recommended or furnished at any time prior to the inception
of the action, and the recommendation need not be made prior to the
occurrence of substantial harm.
- (c) Health care service plans and managed care entities are not
health care providers under any provision of law, including, but not
limited to, Section 6146 of the Business and Professions Code,
Sections 3333.1 or 3333.2 of this code, or Sections 340.5, 364,
425.13, 667.7, or 1295 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
- (d) A health care service plan or managed care entity shall not
seek indemnity, whether contractual or equitable, from a provider for
liability imposed under subdivision (a). Any provision to the
contrary in a contract with providers is void and unenforceable.
- (e) This section shall not create any liability on the part of an
employer or an employer group purchasing organization that purchases
coverage or assumes risk on behalf of its employees or on behalf of
self-funded employee benefit plans.
- (f) Any waiver by a subscriber or enrollee of the provisions of
this section is contrary to public policy and shall be unenforceable
- (g) This section does not create any new or additional liability
on the part of a health care service plan or managed care entity for
harm caused that is attributable to the medical negligence of a
treating physician or other treating health care provider.
- (h) This section does not abrogate or limit any other theory of
liability otherwise available at law.
- (i) This section shall not apply in instances where subscribers or
enrollees receive treatment by prayer, consistent with the
provisions of subdivision (a) of Section 1270 of the Health and
Safety Code, in lieu of medical treatment.
- (j) Damages recoverable for a violation of this section include,
but are not limited to, those set forth in Section 3333.
- (k) [Exhaustion of IMR]
- (1) A person may not maintain a cause of action pursuant to
this section against any entity required to comply with any
independent medical review system or independent review system
required by law unless the person or his or her representative has
exhausted the procedures provided by the applicable independent
- (2) Compliance with paragraph (1) is not required in a case where
either of the following applies:
- (A) Substantial harm, as defined in subdivision (b), has occurred
prior to the completion of the applicable review.
- (B) Substantial harm, as defined, in subdivision (b), will
imminently occur prior to the completion of the applicable review.
- (3) This subdivision shall become operative only if Senate Bill
189 and Assembly Bill 55 of the 1999-2000 Regular Session are also
enacted and enforceable.
- (l) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to
any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional or
otherwise invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of the section and
the application of those provisions to other persons or circumstances
shall not be affected thereby.