[MMA News Now, March 20, 2014] The first deadline for viable bills hits March 21, so legislation that has yet to gain traction will likely be tabled until next session. Fortunately, most of the MMA-backed bills are continuing to move forward.
“It’s a frenetic pace this year,” said Dave Renner, MMA’s director of state and federal legislation. “Committees continue to meet late into the evening but we feel good about the progress our health care legislation is making.”
Here’s a summary of MMA’s top priorities:
Negotiations continued between both sides regarding advanced practice registered nurses’ (APRNs) push for independent practice. The MMA continues to advocate for language that will provide protections from APRNs who practice beyond their expertise and will promote team-based care and collaboration between physicians and APRNs.
Bills that would prohibit minors from using artificial tanning facilities are moving through the legislative process with very little opposition. The bills are awaiting final action on the floors of both bodies and are now supported by the tanning industry.
Legislation to return the program to its nation-leading status will be heard in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee the evening of March 20. A bill has already passed on to the floor in the house. The bills would allow storage of blood spots and test results for an extended period of time. The bills also allow for the development of new tests.
All-Payer Claims Database
Legislation to permanently suspend the Provider Peer Grouping program and authorize new uses for the state's All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) is now awaiting passage on both floors. The bill would allow the state to use the APCD for evaluation of programs like health care homes and the SIM (State Innovation Model) grant, programs to reduce hospital readmissions, and efforts to review geographic and population variations on care and illness burdens.
Legislation that would treat e-cigarettes like tobacco is awaiting action in the Senate’s Commerce Committee and has passed onto the floor in the house. The senate bill contains one key provision that the house bill does not—adding e-cigarettes to the state’s Freedom to Breath indoor air quality laws. The House bill contained the same language upon introduction, but it was stripped in the face of opposition from e-cigarette retailers. The house bill does, however, include a provision that would ban the use of e-cigarettes in all state-owned buildings.
Legislation that would make naloxone more available to first responders and community organizers dealing with intravenous drug users as well as provide some limited immunity for those who witness an overdose passed through to the house floor on March 19.
A policy omnibus bill will be heard March 21 in the House’s Health and Human Services Committee. It contains many of the MMA’s top priorities including tanning, APCD, newborn screening and e-cigarettes. These bills will move forward on their own and as part of the omnibus. “It’s called dual tracking,” said Eric Dick, MMA’s manager of state legislative affairs. “It allows multiple ways for legislation to move forward and become law.”