California Adopts Legislation to Allow Blood Collections With RNs Available Via Telehealth

October 04, 2022

California Governor Gavin Newson signed legislation (SB 1475) Sept. 28 that permanently authorizes blood collections in which the registered nurse (RN) placed in charge is either physically present or available via telehealth.

Previously, California law mandated that a registered nurse be physically present at all sites whenever blood was donated, but blood collectors in the state had been able to utilize a remote telehealth option to meet the state’s staffing requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). California had been the only state with a requirement to have an RN physically present at all locations where blood was being collected. Blood drives would have had to be canceled if an RN was unavailable. 

AABB joined partner organizations in the blood community, including the Blood Centers of California (BCC), America’s Blood Centers and American Red Cross, in offering the blood community’s support for the legislation. In a letter to legislative leaders, AABB emphasized that blood collectors in California have already demonstrated that blood can safely be collected when blood collection staff have access to a registered nurse via telehealth.

“Throughout the pandemic, blood centers across California have demonstrated that blood can safely be collected from healthy volunteer blood donors, whether registered nurses are physically present or consulted virtually,” said Susan Noone, MPH, CQA(ASQ), regional director at Vitalant and president of BCC. “I thank our legislative leaders for taking action to improve blood availability and address shortages in the health care workforce while continuing to protect the safety of California blood donors.”

The legislation also includes provisions to related to donor hemovigilance, stipulating that blood collectors must report any adverse donor events requiring emergency medical intervention to the California Department of Health Care Services. This includes specifying whether a registered nurse was physically present on the premises. At the request of the Department, blood collectors must also report written procedures for managing adverse donor reactions.