MMA Legislative Committee Develops Agenda for 123rd Maine Legislature
The MMA's Legislative Committee, chaired by Katherine S. Pope, M.D., held its organizational meeting for the 123rd Maine Legislature on Tuesday, November 28, 2006. Approximately 20 members and guests attended the meeting and participated in the discussion about issues on organized medicine's agenda for the new state legislature.
The meeting agenda follows:
MAINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
FOR THE 123RD MAINE LEGISLATURE
Frank O. Stred Building, Manchester, Maine
Tuesday, November 28, 2006, 6 – 9 p.m.
1. Welcome and Introductions (Dr. Pope, Chair)
2. Revised Legislative Committee Process (attachment: Dr. Pope’s outline of process) (Dr. Pope)
3. Administrative Items (Dr. Pope)
· Update email addresses for Political Pulse
· Legislative Committee meeting schedule & topics
· Legislative Committee conference calls as needed
· Political Pulse publication begins Friday, 1/5/07
· Doctor of the Day Program
· Physicians' Day at the Legislature: Thursday, March 29, 2007
· Likely bill cloture deadline: Friday, December 15, 2006
3. Review of 2006 Election Results (Mr. Smith/Mr. MacLean)
(attachments - election results/MPAF results)
· Maine Senate: 18 D, 17 R
· Maine House: 89 D, 60 R, 2 U
· Leadership races
o Senate President: Beth Edmonds (D-Cumberland
o Senate Majority Leader: Libby Mitchell (D-Kennebec)
o Assistant Senate Majority Leader: John Martin (D-Aroostook)
o Senate Minority Leader: Carol Weston (R-Waldo)
o Assistant Senate Minority Leader: Richard Rosen (R-Penobscot)
o Speaker of the House: Glenn Cummings (D-Portland)
o House Majority Leader: Hannah Pingree (D-North Haven)
o Assistant House Majority Leader: Sean Faircloth (D-Bangor)
o House Minority Leader: Josh Tardy (R-Newport)
o Assistant House Minority Leader: Robert Crosthwaite (R-Ellsworth)
4. Update on the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the Dirigo Health Program (Mr. Smith) (attachments: materials from recent Commission meetings)
5. Update on Coalition for Health Care Access & Liability Reform – web site www.protectmepatientsnow.org is live (Mr. MacLean)
6. Discussion of potential MMA/specialty society legislation for the 123rd Maine Legislature (attachments: list of resolutions & list of bill proposals) (All)
The following is a list of issues discussed at the meeting and the Committee's recommendation:
MAINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Committee on Legislation
List of Issues for Consideration by the Committee for Inclusion in the MMA Legislative Agenda for the 123rd Maine Legislature
DECISIONS MADE ON 11/28/06
1. MaineCare fee increase (Gordon Smith/MMA Executive Committee). Baldacci Administration expected to include in biennial budget proposal; MMA will submit separate stand-alone bill proposing a $3 million General Fund increase. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS GOING FORWARD WITH BILL.
2. CON Capital Investment Fund (Gordon Smith/ASUs). Extend the sunset on the provision setting aside 12.5% of the CIF for non-hospital projects from 7/1/08 to 7/1/09 or 7/1/10. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS GOING FORWARD WITH BILL.
3. Minute Clinics (Kevin Flanigan, M.D.). Codify AMA guidelines for in-store clinics. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE LEANS TOWARDS GOING FORWARD WITH BILL, BUT AWAITS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE DISCUSSION.
4. Retrospective insurance denials/requests for refunds (John Makin, M.D.). Shorten the look-back period in current law from 18 months to 180 days in accordance with AMA policy. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE SEES NO COMPELLING REASON TO GO FORWARD; EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT SHORTENING OF TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF CLAIMS.
5. Sales tax exemption for free clinics (Peter McGuire, M.D.). Andy drafted proposed language earlier in the summer; check with Senator Sullivan’s staff to ensure that she will submit bill. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE EXPECTS MMA TO WORK WITH SPONSOR & OTHER SUPPORTERS OF BILL.
6. Jury duty exemptions (NP/PA associations). Extend exemption from jury duty to NPs/Pas. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE EXPRESSED NO CONCERN ABOUT BILLS IF NP/PA ASSOCIATIONS WISH TO SUBMIT BILLS, BUT NOT A PRIORITY FOR MMA.
7. Liability protection for specialty consultations provided by regional resources (Stephanie Lash, M.D.). Seek liability protection for tertiary care center specialists who provided regional or statewide consultations based upon limited information to practitioners at facilities beyond the specialist’s network and medical staff obligations. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE WANTS STAFF TO EXPLORE THIS MORE WITH DR. LASH TO CLARIFY ISSUES & ATTEMPT TO IDENTIFY A POSSIBLE LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION, SUCH AS AMENDMENT OF GOOD SAMARITAN LAW.
8. Establish medical expert witness standards/permit licensing board to discipline (Stephanie Lash, M.D.). Seek protection against unqualified expert witnesses. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE SEES THIS AS A COMPLICATED ISSUE & IDENTIFIES ARGUMENTS ON BOTH SIDES – SEES NO COMPELLING CASE FOR ATTEMPTED LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION.
9. Primary enforcement of seat belt laws (Public Health Committee; Bill Strassberg, M.D.). MMA will work with coalition including Maine DOT & Department of Public Safety, AAA of Northern New England, & others. AAA has been coordinating the coalition work. Resolution #7 passed at the 2006 annual session directs MMA to support this. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE EXPECTS MMA TO WORK WITH COALITION SUPPORTING THIS BILL TO BE SUBMITTED BY SEN. SAVAGE.
10. Informed consent for HIV testing (John Makin, M.D.). Conform informed consent standards to new CDC guidelines. Maine CDC plans to submit legislation to do this. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE EXPECTS MMA TO SUPPORT THIS BILL TO BE SUBMITTED BY MAINE CDC.
11. Minors’ consent to health care treatment (Maine Chapter, AAP). Block EOB from going to parents when minor consents to care. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE SUGGESTS EXPLORING A FUND TO PAY PRIVATELY FOR SUCH SERVICES TO AVOID SUBMITTING CLAIMS TO PAYERS.
12. Vaccine funding. Increase funding for the Maine Immunization Program. Dr. Mills estimates that approximately $6 million over the biennium will be necessary to cover the budget gap in the program that has resulted in a reduction in vaccines being supplied to private practices and the inability to cover new vaccines for children. We are not certain whether Dr. Mills has requested that this be included in the Governor’s proposed biennial budget. Resolution #5 passed at the 2006 annual session directs MMA to pursue this. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS GOING FORWARD WITH BILL.
13. Committee on Physician Health (Committee proposal). Expand the program to include the Board of Pharmacy. Unclear whether MMA or Board will submit bill drafted by Gordon Smith. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS GOING FORWARD WITH BILL.
14. Funding for unused drug program (Stevan Gressitt, M.D.). Increase funding for unused drug return program. Estimated cost is $300,000 to move forward. Senator Lynn Bromley and Representative Anne Perry are potential sponsors. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE IS MODESTLY SUPPORTIVE OF GOING FORWARD WITH BILL.
15. Maine Controlled Substances Act (Stevan Gressitt, M.D.). Regain clinical/professional control of controlled substances in Maine. Senator Lynn Bromley and Representative Anne Perry are potential sponsors. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS AGAINST GOING FORWARD WITH BILL – SEES NO COMPELLING CASE FOR ACTION.
19. Medical Home (Kevin Flanigan, M.D.). Endorse the concept of citizens of all ages having the resources to maintain a “Medical Home.” LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT STAFF WORK WITH DR. FLANIGAN TO DRAFT A JOINT RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE CONCEPT OF A “MEDICAL HOME” FOR SUBMISSION SOME TIME DURING THE SESSION – NEED NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED PRIOR TO CLOTURE DEADLINE.
The MMA must submit proposed legislation to the Office of the Revisor of Statutes by the "cloture deadline," anticipated to be Friday, December 15, 2006. If you have comments about this list of issues or other issues to bring to the Committee's attention, please contact Andrew MacLean, Deputy Executive Vice President at email@example.com. [return to top]