Governor Signs Sen. Dodd’s Hospital Emergency Response Bill

Monday, September 19, 2022

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced today that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed his bill to help hospitals respond to public health crises such as pandemics and natural disasters, ensuring patients get the care they need.

“California hospitals have been hit hard by the pandemic, destructive wildfires and other natural disasters,” Sen. Dodd said.  “That’s why I’m so thankful Gov. Newsom signed my bill, which will ensure that when a public emergency strikes, hospitals can respond, adapting to fast-changing conditions to serve patients as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Dodd’s bill, Senate Bill 979, relaxes insurance restrictions for patients seeking treatment outside of their network coverage areas, ensuring they get medical coverage wherever an emergency hits. It is sponsored by the California Hospital Association.

SB 979 passed both the Senate and Assembly with overwhelming support before being signed by Gov. Newsom.

“The ability of patients to access vital health care services during natural disasters and public health emergencies has taken an important step forward thanks to the governor’s signing of SB 979,” said Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association. “SB 979 will help ensure that insurance companies and health plans put the needs of patients first by relaxing restrictions on prior authorizations for treatment, suspending limitation on prescription refills and giving emergency health care providers other necessary flexibilities in the event of a widespread crisis.”


Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at