March 12, 2021

In This Issue
The Year a Global Pandemic Changed Our Lives; Thank You Maine Physicians
APRN Training & Supervision: “Laws are Like Sausages. Better Not to See Them Being Made”
Governor Amends Vaccination Timeline; All Adults Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine by May 1
Covid-19: Both Vaccinations Now Done and Done: Richard A. Evans MD
Maine DHHS: Strategies for Addressing Disparate Impacts of COVID-19
US FDA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: March 12, 2021
Abyde joins with Maine Medical Association as a new Corporate Affiliate
Next MMA Legislative Call Will Be Wednesday, March 17th
Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership’s Renowned Physician Executive Leadership Institute – The Advanced Course Enrollment is OPEN
PPE Available Through the MMA & ActionPPE
A Message from Maine Responds: Volunteer Opportunity
Maine Legislature Week 9 Update
Maine Legislature: Public Hearings, Work Sessions, New Bills
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
Maine Lung Cancer Coalition Webinar March 24, 2021
Maine CDC Physicians To Host Regular Clinician COVID Vaccine Info Sessions
Suicide Prevention and Management in Healthcare Practice Settings: A Comprehensive Evidence-Based Approach
AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)
Nurse Practitioner
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Belgrade Regional Health Center Seeks a Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine)

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Maine Legislature Week 9 Update

Committee on Health and Human Services

Three work sessions of interest occurred this week within the Health and Human Services Committee: LD 121, LD 265, and LD 372. The first, LD 121, An Act To Require a Background Check for High-risk Health Care Providers under the MaineCare Program, passed unanimously with the one change of wording from “may” to “shall”. The bill requires MaineCare provider applicants who are in high-risk providers categories to undergo criminal background checks. “High-Risk” is determined by technical rules, alongside the ACA’s fingerprint criminal background checks for high-risk Medicaid Providers.

LD 265 and LD 372 proved to be contentious in committee and both resulted in divided reports. LD 265, An Act To Provide Women Access to Affordable Postpartum Care, would extend from 60 days to 12 months the period of time following delivery of a baby that a woman may be eligible for services. The Department of Health and Human Services would be required to submit a waiver of state plan amendment request to the CMS and if the waiver or state plan is not granted then the Department is to implement coverage under the General Fund. MMA’s Dr. Addler testified in support of this bill. The point of concern was the length of coverage, implementation date, and waiver piece. The length of coverage was recommended to be shortened to 6 months by Rep. Javner, this was to lessen the fiscal amount. It was noted that this period was agreed upon in the previous session for this bill. The fiscal note for the bill from the 129th Legislature was presented, the fiscal amount was about $600,000. The fiscal impact for the 12-month period is about $500,000. This discrepancy is due to the Medicaid expansion, there was a decrease in eligible persons under this coverage. Currently, there are about 250 people who would be impacted by this coverage. The new COVID-19 Relief Bill would provide coverage for this program, this is the reasoning for changing the implementation date. The committee thought it best to align the date with the Relief Bill effect date. This same reasoning was responsible for the questioning of keeping the waiver in the bill. The concern was whether the waiver would be unnecessary given the coverage the Relief bill would provide. It was ultimately decided that the waiver provision should remain in the case of a future date where the COVID relief is not in effect. The committee motioned out-to-pass as amended (different effect date), the decision was split (7 yes, 5 no), and a divided report made.

LD 372, An Act To Provide Maine Children Access to Affordable Health Care, would expand CUB care by raising the eligibility threshold from 200% of the FPL to 300% and established that people 19 and younger and immigrants 21 and younger who fall into this range are covered. A fiscal note has not been made yet, but this was a concern. The other concern was that raising the eligibility to 300% of the FPL would include a large portion of Maine residents. Rep. Lemelin did not agree with adding the immigrant eligibility portion of the bill. After a long discussion/debate the bill ended with a divided report (7 yes, 5 no).

Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services

On Tuesday, the HCIFS Committee held public hearings on two bills of interest: LD 541 and LD 617. LD 617 was paired with LD 523, as they are essentially the same bill (An Act Concerning Prior Authorizations for Prescription Drugs).  Senator Claxton and Representative Brooks, the two sponsors, explained that the bill would establish a real-time communication between providers and carriers, leading to better health care. Dr. Geoff Gratwick was in full support, along with Maine Association of Health Plans, Northern Light Health, Maine Health, and Maine Medical Association. Read Dan Morin’s testimony in support here, in which he noted that 28% of doctors believe prior authorization causes adverse events for patients.

LD 541 is a new version of one of the many bills that died with the onset of the pandemic during the 129th Legislature. It would designate Maine Health Data Organization as the holder of data and the overseer of the reporting of public health activities. The bill was met with support from MHDO, no opposition, and Maine DHHS came out neither for nor against. MMA did not testify on this bill.

Senate and House Sessions

Because of the House and Senate meeting as their full bodies on Wednesday and Thursday, there were only two days of public hearings and work sessions.  Next week promises to be a busy and productive week, as hundreds of bills were ordered to be printed. 

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