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February 12, 2020

In This Issue
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
World Experts and Funders Set Priorities for COVID-19 Research
Maine CDC Resources on Coronavirus
Maine's Weekly Influenza Report
Register now for Revealing a Path Forward: Maine's Annual Conference on Problem Gambling
Targeted Basic Skills Training: Addressing Nicotine and Tobacco Use through Prevention, Policy and Treatment Initiatives
Recovery in Maine: Short Films and Community Discussion
AMA Medical Students
Opioid Related Webinars Offer CME Credit
129th MAINE LEGISLATURE, SECOND REGULAR SESSION
Next MMA Legislative Call Will Be Tuesday, February 18th
State House Highlights of the Week
UPCOMING EVENTS
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
MMA partners with the Maine Suicide Prevention Program and the Maine CDC/Sweetser to offer training for clinicians.
10th Annual Maine Patient Safety Academy - March 30, 2020
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Medical Director, Primary Care Physician
Physician - Nasson Health Care
Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
BC/BE Family Medicine or Internal Medicine Physician
Family Medicine Opportunity in Beautiful Western Maine
Orthopedic Surgeon Opportunity in Beautiful New England
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians
Volunteer Opportunity with Partners for World Health - Portland, ME

 
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State House Highlights of the Week

President-elect Karen Saylor, M.D., last week testified on behalf of MMA in support of the Governor’s health care reform bill. LD 2007 establishes the Made for Maine Health Coverage Act. It establishes the Maine Health Insurance Marketplace Trust Fund; authorizes the State to enter into state-federal health coverage partnerships that support the availability of affordable health coverage;  establishes a pooled market for individual health plans and small group health plans and changes reinsurance to be retrospective and applied to the pooled market, and creates clear choice design for cost sharing and requires coverage of certain primary care and behavioral health visits without the application of any deductible. The bill has yet to be scheduled for a Work Session

Senator President Troy Jackson and Speaker Sara Gideon on Tuesday released a joint health care reform package consisting of four bills. Although not yet in print form the four bills and major moving parts are listed below:

An Act to Lower Health Care Costs

It allows Maine to take control of growing health care costs in a complicated health care system. It holds all the players in the health care system accountable and establishes a process for effective, data-driven reforms. It would establish the Maine Commission on Affordable Health Care to seek reining in health care spending for everyone by limiting the amount the cost of care can increase each year.

An Act To Save Lives by Capping the Out-of-pocket Cost of Certain Medications

Caps the amount patients in the individual and small group markets pay for life-saving insulin at $100.

An Act to Establish Patient Protections in Billing for Health Care

It provides cost information to patients before they choose what procedures to schedule and where to schedule them. It promotes billing transparency to patients who face unexplained “facility fees” the moment they walk in the door, ensures patients don’t get billed months after a procedure, and requires further explanation of fees so patients can make informed choices about their health care.

An Act To Protect Consumers from Surprise Emergency Medical Bills

It protects patients from high-cost bills from out-of-network providers when they never had an opportunity to choose a cheaper option

Movement of current bills of interest:

LD 1855—Act to Include Student Absences for Mental Health or Behavioral Health Needs as Excusable Absences:

Passed the House; on the way to the Senate

Current law provides that a person’s absence from school is excused when the absence is due to personal illness. This amendment version would change the law to specify that a student’s absence from school is excused when the absence is due to reasons of physical health, as well as the person's mental and behavioral health

LD 1937—An Act To Provide Timely Access to Behavioral Health Services for Maine Children and to Address Trauma and the Impacts of the Opioid Crisis

Work Session scheduled for February 13

Will provide critically needed MaineCare rate increases for children’s residential programs and Home and Community Based Treatment (HCT). Fiscal Note: State General Funds of approximately$8 million

LD 1946—An An Act To Improve Access to Mental and Behavioral Health Care by Providing Care in Clinical Reproductive and Sexual Health Care Settings

Work Session not yet scheduled

Establishes a program within the Department of Health and Human Services to deliver mental health and behavioral health services in clinical reproductive and sexual health care settings and by enhancing patient screening and care coordination. It includes an appropriations and allocations section with a $150,000 annual appropriation beginning in fiscal year 2020-21.

LD 1948—An Act To Prohibit, Except in Emergency Situations, the Performance without Consent of Pelvic Examinations on Unconscious or Anesthetized Patients

Unanimous Committee vote to pass an amended version; yet to be reported to the full Legislature

Prior to administering or supervising a pelvic, rectal or prostate examination on an anesthetized or unconscious patient, a physician must obtain the patient's written  informed consent to the examination or if the examination is authorized pursuant to the implied consent provision in the Maine Health Security Act

LD 1957—An Act To Provide Women Access to Affordable Postpartum Care

Unanimously passed by the Committee on February 12

The original bill would have extended from 60 days to 12 months the period of time following delivery of a baby that a woman may be eligible for services under MaineCare. The Committee passed the bill unanimously but amended it for a maximum of 6 months coverage.

Supplemental Budget Released

The Supplemental Budget has been released by the Governor and while the budget itself hasn’t been released in bill form, hearings have been scheduled starting on February 18. MMA Government Affairs is currently reviewing the proposal for specific issues that may be of interest or concern in treating your patients. 

With a little more than a month gone in the 2020 Legislative session, lawmakers still have a lot of ground to cover. Very little has made it to the Governor’s desk, let alone out of committees of jurisdiction and some of the biggest bills are moving very slowly under the dome.  Health care is a major issue yet again with a handful of priority MMA bills that still have a ways to go. As a result of the impending time/work crunch, legislative leaders have waived the requirement that bills be advertised for public hearing two weeks in advance. Public hearings for new bills will now be posted one week in advance only. This is not an uncommon procedure. The Committee deadline to vote on 60% of assigned bills was February 7. The scheduled deadline for committees to vote on 100% of assigned bills is March 6.

 

 

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