Massachusetts Medical Society: 2017-2018 State Legislation

2017-2018 State Legislation

1. H.3571 - An Act Relative to Out of Network Billing

Sponsor: Mariano

This bill would establish a Special Legislative Commission to conduct an investigation and study regarding transparency and consumer protection in the health insurance market, including but not limited to Out-of-Network billing and limited or narrow network insurance products.  A representative of the MMS would be named to the Commission, which would be charged with reporting back to the Legislature by January 1, 2019.

Status:  Referred to Financial Services Committee.


2. H.1146, S.1213 - An Act to Relative to the Prescription Monitoring Program

Sponsor: Cronin, Keenan

This bill would expand MassPAT, the Commonwealth’s prescription monitoring system, to include reporting of Methadone. 

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee.


3. H.2174, S.501 - An Act Relative to Reimbursement for Telemedicine

Sponsor: Hogan, Chandler

This bill would require insurers to adequately reimburse for services submitted under existing telemedicine codes such as telephone consults, chart reviews and MD to patient communication including telephone, video and secure email communications.

Status:  Referred to Financial Services Committee.


4. H.2180, S.1099 - An Act to Allow for Patient Choice to Promote Prescription Safety

Sponsor: Malia, Keenan

This bill would help reduce prescription drug abuse by allowing patients to fill less than the full amount of their prescriptions without additional co-pays or requiring a new prescription.

Status:  H.2180 referred to Financial Services Committee.  S.1099 referred to MH/SA Committee.  


5. H.3093, S.783 - An Act Improving Medical Decision Making

Sponsor:   Markey, Brownsberger

This bill would require collaboration in the health care industry around the issue of guardianship for incompetent patients lacking a health care proxy.  The purpose of the bill is to expedite the medical decision making process for such patients in order to ensure access to necessary care in a timely manner. 

6. H.2437 - An Act to Promote Team Based Health Care

Sponsor: Cassidy

This bill would ensure that evolving models of team-based healthcare will be led by physicians – the health care professionals best suited to guide other members of patient care teams – and would clarify the important role that advanced care nurses and physician assistants play as part of the teams.  In addition, the bill would further enhance transparency in team based care, ensuring that patients understand who is providing care and who is leading their team.

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee.


7. H.278, S.214Z - An Act Improving Students’ Access to Life Saving Treatments

Sponsor: Kafka, Brownsberger

Status:  Referred to Education Committee.


8. H.2446 - An Act to Ban Maintenance of Certification as a Condition of Licensure.

Sponsor: DiZoglio

This bill would prohibit the Board of Registration in Medicine, insurers and facilities from requiring physicians to maintain national board certifications as a condition for state licensure, credentialing or contracting purposes. 

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee.


9. H.599 - An Act to Reduce Administrative Burdens for Healthcare Providers

Sponsor: Cronin

This legislation would reduce the administrative burden of physicians by prohibiting health care entities from forcing health care providers to create new legal entities and/or establish new tax identification numbers as a condition of contracting to provide health care services. Such requirements are costly and burdensome for physicians.

Status:  Referred to Health Care Financing Committee. Hearing May 16, 2017.


10. H,1160 - An Act Relative to Bicycle Safety

Sponsor: Galvin

As rates of cyclists continue to rise in Boston and elsewhere in the state, and as helmet usage for bicyclists involved in accidents requiring EMS remains below 50%, this bill seeks to expand to persons of all ages the bike helmet requirement that currently applies to persons 16 years or younger. The bill also directs the Department of Public Health to pursue means by which to encourage bicycle operators to wear highly-visible waist-up clothing while bicycling.  

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee. 


11. H.2439 - An Act Relative to Medical Peer Review  

Sponsor: Cusack

This bill would help insure high standards of care by updating existing peer review statutes and corresponding confidentiality protections.  Under current law, only certain peer review programs are afforded confidentiality. This legislation would expand that definition to include ACO’s and other entities with legitimate interests in reviewing the quality of care provided to the patients of the Commonwealth. 

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee.


12. H.1176 - An Act to Ban Smoking in Certain Public Areas

Sponsor: Kafka

This bill would prohibit smoking or the use of electronic cigarettes at outdoor pedestrian only public areas, such as Faneuil Hall. 

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee.


13. H.604, S.604 - An Act to Increase MassHealth Rates

Sponsor: DuBois, Brady

This bill would implement “pay parity” whereby MassHealth rates would be equal to or above Medicare rates for the same services. (I-15 A 101)

Status:  Referred to Health Care Financing Committee.


14. H.1145 - An Act Relative to Child-proof Detergent Pods

Sponsor: Cronin

This bill would protect children from poisoning by detergent packet products by prohibiting the sale of such products unless they meet child resistant packaging requirements, include warning labels and are manufactured to be less attractive to children in color and design.

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee.


15. S.498 - An Act Relative to Communications Between Health Insurers and Patients

Sponsor: Brady

This bill would prohibit health insurers and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) from initiating communication with patients and their families regarding treatment options and code statuses without a physician’s knowledge or presence.

Status:  Referred to Financial Services Committee. Hearing May 16, 2017.


16. H.2212 - An Act to Extend Patient Protections to Recipients of MassHealth

Sponsor: Cusack

This bill would extend the protections of the Patient Protection Act to recipients of MassHealth and require Medicaid to meet the prompt payments provisions of that law for services rendered to MassHealth beneficiaries. It would also require timely notification of defective claims, limit recoupment, and prohibit retroactive denial of claims.

Status:  Referred to Health Care Financing Committee.  Hearing May 16, 2017.


17. H.791 - An Act Relative to Patient Care Access

Sponsor: Galvin

This bill would increase reporting requirements for liability insurers; allow future sources to be included as evidence of collateral sources; require expert witnesses in actions against physicians to be board certified in the same specialty as the defendant physician; grant the Board of Registration in Medicine authority to review the testimony of expert witnesses from a clinical perspective as to the standard of medical care; allow for periodic payments of awards over $50,000; and eliminate joint and several liability. 

Status:  Referred to Judiciary Committee.  


18. H.2183, S.509 - An Act Relative to Insurance Companies and Quality Measures

Sponsor: Mariano, Creem

This bill would provide standards to assure the integrity of the information used by insurers in measuring “quality” for pay-for-performance, tiering of co-payments and other purposes.  It would also ban the practice of placing physicians who are new to practice in a low quality/high cost tier. 

Status:  Referred to Financial Services Committee.


19. H.1175 - An Act Relative to Hospital Medical Staffs 

Sponsor: Kafka

This bill would assure the autonomy of hospital medical staffs by statutorily establishing basic self-governing rights including establishing by-laws, electing officers, assessing dues and hiring independent legal counsel. Would allow an existing med staff the right to reorganize and redefine its own governance structure as appropriate; all properly licensed and hospital credentialed physicians involved in patient care to be eligible for voice and vote in organized medical staff self-governance.  Ensures the confidentiality of hospital medical staff members’ personal and financial information disclosed pursuant to hospital conflict of interest policies.

Status:  Referred to Public Health Committee.


20. S.764 - An Act Relative to the Valuation of Professional Practices in Divorce Proceedings. 

Sponsor: Brady

This bill would ensure that professional corporations, including physician office practices, be valued at fair market value, as defined consistently with federal statutes governing other transactions involving physician practices.

Status:  Referred to Judiciary Committee.  Hearing May 8, 2017.

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