|March 18, 2020
State House Highlights of the Week
In response to the rapidly changing health crisis the Presiding Officers of the Maine Legislature late last week cancelled all committee meetings, including public hearings, work sessions and confirmation hearings for the rest of the session. The one exception was the Appropriations Committee, for various budgetary matters and work related to the Governor’s Supplemental Budget. It was also announced the Legislature would meet one more day to consider bills “directly related to coronavirus response and other critical services, then adjourn.” The Capitol was then closed to the public, with only legislators, staff and media members allowed in the building while lawmakers worked. Other unfinished legislative matters will be carried over until the Legislature reconvenes.
Governor Janet Mills issued a proclamation of civil emergency Sunday to help the state cope with the growing outbreak of COVID-19 just days after the Legislature’s announcement.
The following is a general overview of legislation passed Tuesday before adjournment. All bills still not acted upon or under consideration will remain active until the Legislature reconvenes. Lawmakers had about one month left until its regularly scheduled date of adjournment, April 15. The decision to shut down was made by both Republicans and Democrats after the Legislature’s consultation with public health officials.
LD 2126—Governor’s Supplemental Budget—Signed into law by the Governor
$17.4 million to the Budget Stabilization Fund to prepare for the possibility of future COVID-19 related expenses or any shifts in Maine’s economy as a result of COVID-19.
$15 million for rate increases to support direct health care providers who are caring for Maine seniors, people with disabilities and children with behavioral health needs.
$1 million for the Maine CDC to supplement federal funds for expanded capacity at the State laboratory and hire personnel such as epidemiologists and public health nurses to respond to the pandemic
More than half of the $73 million ($38 million) overall budget total will be allocated for pre-K-12 education
$10 million to repair the State’s roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure.
$648k - COVID-19 Stipends for Nurses
$455k - Health & Environmental Testing Lab
$351k - Public Health Nurse Recruitment
$279k - Office of Behavioral Health Services
$259k - Home Community Therapy
$359k - Medication Management Team
$1.6 Million - 20 Child Protection Caseworkers
$2.6 Million - Section 29 waitlist
LD 2167—An Act To Implement Provisions Necessary to the Health, Welfare and Safety of the Citizens of Maine in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency—Signed into law by the Governor
Temporarily expands and extends unemployment benefits for workers impacted and unable to work as a result of COVID-19. Waives the one-week waiting period.
Allows the Medical Direction and Practices Board the ability to implement emergency protocols (rather than going through the rules process), meet electronically and delegate authority to the EMS medical director and associate medical director.
Creation of a loan guarantee program for individuals (employees and employers) through the Finance Authority of Maine.
LD 2163—An Act To Address Funding Needs Related to COVID-19—Signed into law by the Governor
Creates an $11 million COVID-19 response fund to address unanticipated needs as they arise through January 15, 2021.
LD 2025—Act To Authorize Emergency Medical Services Personnel To Provide Treatment within Their Scope of Practice in a Hospital Setting with the Permission of the Hospital—Signed into law by the Governor
Authorizes an EMS provider to treat a patient of the hospital in a hospital setting that is within their scope of practice
LD 1975—An Act To Facilitate Dental Treatment for Children—Signed into law by the Governor
Prohibits insurance carrier from imposing any dental or oral health service or treatment waiting period for, except for orthodontic treatment, for an enrollee under 19 years of age.
LD 1948—An Act To Prohibit, Except in Emergency Situations, the Performance without Consent of Pelvic Examinations on Unconscious or Anesthetized Patients—Signed into law by the Governor
Requires written informed consent prior to administering or supervising a pelvic examination, rectal examination or prostate examination on an anesthetized or unconscious patient
LD 2007—Act To Enact the Made for Maine Health Coverage Act and Improve Health Choices in Maine—Sent to Governor’s desk
Governor’s bill: Merges small group and individual markets, changes reinsurance market and establishes a State-based Exchange
LD 1974—An Act To Promote Telehealth—Sent to Governor’s desk
DHHS to amend its rule for Targeted Case Management Services to provide for reimbursement of certain case management services
LD 2068—Resolve, Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 15: Death with Dignity Act Reporting Rule, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention—Sent to Governor’s desk
LD 2105—An Act To Protect Consumers from Surprise Emergency Medical Bills—Sent to Governor’s desk
This bill amends the law providing consumer protection for surprise medical bills to include surprise bills for emergency services. In the event of a dispute with respect to a surprise medical bill, the bill directs the Superintendent of Insurance to develop an independent dispute resolution process to determine a reasonable payment for health care services.
LD 1660—An Act To Improve Access to Physician Assistant Care—Sent to Governor’s desk
Change scope of practice of physician assistants by removing registration and physician supervisory requirements.
Mandates physician assistants to have collaborative agreements and practice agreements with physicians and other health care professionals to be approved by the allopathic and osteopathic licensing boards.
Clarifies that physician assistants are legally responsible for any medical services provided. Requires health insurance carriers to allow physician assistants to serve as primary care providers under managed care plans.
It also specifies that carriers are required to provide coverage for services provided by physician assistants if those services are within a physician assistant's scope of practice and are covered services under a health plan.
LD 1934—An Act Regarding Prior Authorization for Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder under the MaineCare Program—Sent to Governor’s desk
DHHS may not require prior authorization in MaineCare for medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder for pregnant woman or for intensive outpatient therapy services for a diagnosis of opioid use disorder. Prior authorization may be imposed for dosage increases that exceed the department's dosing criteria
LD 2110—An Act To Lower Health Care Costs—Sent to Governor’s desk
Establishes the Office of Affordable Health Care within the Legislature. The office is charged with analyzing data from the Maine Health Data Organization and the Maine Quality Forum and making recommendations to the Legislature on methods to improve the cost-efficient provision of high-quality health care to the residents of this State. (MMA supports with enacted amendments)
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—Sent to Appropriations Table
Funding to raise rates for certain adolescent rehabilitation facilities under DHHS rules
LD 1955—An Act To Promote Cost-effectiveness in the MaineCare Program and Improve the Oral Health of Maine Adults and Children—Sent to Appropriations Table
Adds comprehensive dental services to the limited dental services currently available to MaineCare members 21 years of age and over.
LD 2159—An Act To Establish the Help Me Grow Program—Referred to Committee on Health and Human Services
This bill establishes the Help Me Grow program in the Department of Health and Human Services. The program is a comprehensive, statewide, coordinated system of early identification, referral and follow-up for children from prenatal care up to 8 years of age and their families.
LD 1591—An Act To Provide Access to Health Care for Maine Citizens—DEAD
Bill would have directed DHHS, using hospital tax revenue, be used for a Medicare Buy-in Program and for subsidies under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and design a wholesale prescription drug importation program.
LD 1096—An Act To Require That Comprehensive Substance Use Disorder Treatment Be Made Available to Maine's Incarcerated Population—DEAD
Bill would have required the Commissioner of Corrections to establish and maintain a substance use disorder treatment program in the correctional facilities.
MMA government affairs will develop a more compressive Legislative Session summary and updated Bill Tracker in the coming week. Thank you and please contact Dan Morin at firstname.lastname@example.org or by call/text anytime at (207) 838-8613.
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