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CA Proposed SB 1120 - AI and Medical Treatment

Article Source:  CA State Senator Josh Becker

Proposed Bill HERE

New Legislation Authored By Senator Becker Ensures That AI Does Not Decide Medical Treatments

SB 1120 requires physicians to make the final decisions on what kind of treatments patients should receive rather than artificial intelligence

Sacramento, CA—Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park), who has long been an advocate for consumer protection, announced legislation that preserves the physician-patient relationship by requiring that physicians make the final decision in a patient’s medical services and treatment. SB 1120, The Physicians Make Decisions Act, mandates physician oversight when algorithms are used to decide on healthcare providers' requests to offer medical services. 

“Artificial intelligence is an important tool in diagnosing and treating patients, but it should not be the only factor in determining if or what kind of healthcare a patient receives,” said Becker. “An algorithm does not fully know and understand a patient’s medical history and needs. The Physicians Make Decisions Act ensures that the human element will always determine quality medical treatments for patients.” 

"We thank Senator Becker for his leadership in introducing SB 1120, which underscores the essential role of physicians in guiding patient care. Artificial intelligence can enhance health care delivery, but it must be overseen by trained medical professionals who understand the complexities of each patient's unique situation. This legislation will help ensure that patients receive the care they need,” said Tanya W. Spirtos, M.D., president of the California Medical Association.

In recent years, health insurance plans have increasingly relied on artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the processing of claims and prior authorization requests. While this has the potential to improve access to care and save insurers money, there are legitimate concerns about inaccuracies and biases, prompting calls for oversight. Wrongful denial of insurance claims based on AI algorithms can lead to serious health consequences, and even death. Leading healthcare organizations have called for oversight over the use of AI in insurance. 

The Physicians Make Decisions Act tackles this pressing issue by requiring a licensed physician to supervise decisions made by algorithms. This approach acknowledges that algorithms cannot replicate the nuanced decision-making process of a physician, ensuring that patients receive fair and appropriate coverage decisions. By reintroducing human oversight, SB 1120 seeks to uphold the integrity of the healthcare system and prioritize patients' well-being above all else.

SB 1120 is sponsored by the California Medical Association, which represents nearly 50,000 physicians in the state. 

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