November has roared in with some nice cooler weather, which is greatly appreciated, as I make the trek to the Capitol. Committee weeks are well underway and health care related bills are starting to hit the system.
In Senate Health Policy Committee several bills were heard. Chair Diaz, passed his SB 312 that the FMA supports which would allow reimbursement for Telehealth “Audio Only” visits and allow for prescribing of schedule 3, 4, and 5 drugs. This was allowed under the Governor’s executive order during Covid. Also relating to Telehealth, Sen Brodeur’s bill, SB 330, passed allows for asynchronous communication to be reimbursed under Medicaid.
The extender bills are beginning to be filed and I anticipate the ophthalmologist vs optometrist surgery battle to be back as well as the anesthesiology turf war. More extender bills ahead to be certain.
The Governor has called a special session for the week of November 15-19 to beef up protections for workers whose employers institute vaccine mandates. The Governor called the special session in response to the Biden announcement of a vaccine mandate for private companies with more than 100 employees.
Some of the special session issues are as follows:
- Increasing protections to not allow employer-based discrimination tied to vaccine status
- Making those fired over noncompliance with a vaccine mandate have access to unemployment assistance
- Funding to investigate complaints related to Covid- 19 vaccination mandates, such as those imposed by the federal government
- Creating a public records exemption blocking release of records related to those investigations
- Repealing the 2002 law that gave state health officer power to order vaccinations
- Addressing school mask mandates
Reapportionment is well underway and we anticipate the first maps to be rolled out soon. At that time, incumbents will know if their district includes another incumbent and political life in the Capitol becomes very interesting.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.