April 11, 2003

 
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GOHPF IS DRAFTING HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL - HAT AWAITS RESULTS
Plan to be made public at the end of April and to be considered by legislators before adjournment in June.
 

Trish Riley and Ellen Schneiter, the principal staff in the Governor's Office of Health Policy & Finance (GOHPF), apparently are drafting the Governor's health care reform bill and are expected to share the bill with the Health Action Team (HAT), the advisory group of stakeholders, on Friday, 4/25/03 or perhaps the following week.  The MMA's representative on the HAT, Maroulla Gleaton, M.D., Chairs the Cost Containment Subcommittee of the HAT.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gleaton also chairs the MMA's Ad Hoc Committee on Health System Reform and has been guiding the Committee towards completing a 'white paper' including principles of reform supported by the MMA.  The Committee met on Thursday evening to complete a rough draft of the paper.  Dr. Gleaton expects to present the paper to the Steering Committee soon and to make it public when the HAT and Legislature receive the Governor's proposal.

Judiciary Committee Endorses MMA's "Terror Immunity" Bill
At a work session on Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended passage of L.D. 846, An Act to Protect Health Care Practitioners Responding to Public Health Threats.  The MMA developed a consensus amendment to the bill with the Maine Hospital Association and the Maine Trial Lawyers Association.  The bill will provide liability protection for health care practitioners and emergency medical personnel who volunteer to assist the State in response to a public health threat.  The bill also would provide liability protection for hospitals designated by the State to assist in responding to such a threat.

The MMA thanks Dr. Larry Mutty for his work on this bill since its inception! [return to top]

Riverview Psychiatric Center Bed Capacity Controversy Addressed
Since the new state psychiatric hospital was proposed, the MMA, Maine Osteopathic Association, Maine Psychiatric Association, Maine Chapter - American College of Emergency Physicians, and citizen advocates have disputed the number of beds projected by the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services and its consultants to be necessary in the new facility to address the community's needs.

In this session, Senate President Beverly Daggett submitted on behalf of  the MMA, MPA, and ME-ACEP, L.D. 480, Resolve, to Maintain Flexibility and Safety in Caring for People with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness.  The Resolve directed the DBDS to maintain one patient wing in the Stone Building at AMHI in a 'patient configuration' in case the new facility proves to have insufficient capacity and proposed a process for monitoring the acute psychiatric care needs of the community. 

Following several weeks of negotiation among representatives of DBDS and proponents of the bill, Senator Daggett presented the Health & Human Services Committee with a letter outlining an agreement that maintains one patient wing in the Stone Building for one year and establishes a cooperative process for monitoring the acute psychiatric care needs of the community.

ME-ACEP President Phil Tedrick, D.O., MMA Executive Committee Chair Larry Mutty, M.D., and Retired State Forensic Service Director Ulrich Jacobsohn, M.D. devoted countless hours to concluding this agreement.

 

  [return to top]

HHS Committee Hears Bill to Ban Smoking in Bars
On Monday, 4/7/03, the Health & Human Services Committee heard public testimony on L.D. 1346, An Act to Protect Workers from Secondhand Smoke and to Promote Worker Safety, sponsored by Senator Karl Turner (R-Cumberland).  Submitted by Senator Turner on  behalf of the Maine Coalition on Smoking OR Health, the bill would close the remaining loopholes in Maine's clean indoor air statutes, primarily bars and lounges, pool halls, and off-track betting establishments.

At the public hearing proponents greatly outnumbered opponents.  MMA Executive Vice President Gordon Smith, a former Chair of the Coalition, spoke as the lead witness on behalf of the Coalition.  He was followed by bar owners, workers, and musicians.  Jo Linder, M.D., current Chair of the Coalition and an emergency physician from Falmouth, also spoke in favor of the bill.  Some bar owners and representatives of the tobacco industry opposed the bill.  Because its membership is divided on the issue, the Maine Restaurant Association, a strong opponent of the restaurant smoking ban several years ago, spoke 'neither for nor against' the bill.

The Committee has scheduled a work session on L.D. 1346 for Monday, April 14th.  Please urge members to support the bill by contacting them at home this weekend using the information below or on Monday at the State House using the toll free lines listed at the end of the Political Pulse.

Health and Human Services

     Senate: Michael F. Brennan, Chair (D-Cumberland)

                                            (H) 773-1995

                                            SenMichael.Brennan@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      John L. Martin (D-Aroostook)

                                            (H) 444-5556

                                            SenJohn.Martin@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      Carol Weston (R-Waldo)

                                            (H) 589-4481

                                            rcweston@midcoast.com

 

    House:  Thomas J. Kane, Chair (D-Saco)

                                            (H) 934-2066

                                            no email

 

                      Edward R. Dugay (D-Cherryfield)

                                            (H) 546-9752

                                            edugay@midmaine.com

 

                      Marie Laverriere-Boucher (D-Biddeford)

                                            (H) 284-6701

                                            RepMarie.Laverriere@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      Margaret M. Craven (D-Lewiston)

                                            (H) 783-1897

                                            RepMargaret.Craven@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      William M. Earle (D-Damariscotta)

                                            (H) 563-8441

                                            RepWilliam.Earle@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      William R. Walcott (D-Lewiston)

                                            (H) 783-4059

                                            RepWilliam.Walcott@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      Thomas F. Shields (R-Auburn)*

                                            (H) 782-7451

                                            RepTom.Shields@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      Darlene J. Curley (R-Scarborough)

                                            (H) 883-2836

                                            RepDarlene.Curley@legislature.maine.gov

 

                      James J. Campbell, Sr. (R-Newfield)

                                            (H) 793-2396

                                            JSCampbell@psouth.net

                     

      Sarah O. Lewin (R-Eliot)

                           (H) 439-0354

                           RepSally.Lewin@legislature.maine.gov

  [return to top]

HHS Committee Revisits DHS Drug & Audit Programs from 120th Legislature
This week, the MMA spoke in favor of bills addressing 2 of the Association's biggest legislative concerns during the 120th Maine Legislature - - the expanded drug prior authorization program and the contingent fee audit program.

L.D. 1288, An Act to Increase Public Access to the Prior Authorization Process would establish the Drug Utilization Review Committee in statute and would require it to conduct its business to a greater extent in the public view.  Although this bill was submitted on behalf of PhRMA, provider and patient advocates remain concerned about the lack of public input in the program.  DHS opposed the bill, citing patient confidentiality and manufacturer proprietary concerns. 

This is the second time this session that the HHS Committee has heard concerns about the drug management program.  Earlier, Rep. Marilyn Canavan (D-Waterville) submitted L.D. 849, An Act to Ensure Fairness in Maine's Prescription Drug Laws on behalf of NAMI - Maine.

L.D. 1288 has been scheduled for a work session on Tuesday, 4/15/03.  THE COMMITTEE HAS ASKED FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THIS PROGRAM ON PHYSICIANS AND PATIENTS SO PLEASE CONTACT ANDY MacLEAN BEFORE TUESDAY IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN ON YOUR PRACTICE OR SITUATIONS IN WHICH PATIENT CARE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED BY THIS PROGRAM.

L.D. 1356, An Act to Provide Fair Hearing Procedures in the Department of Human Services, submitted on behalf of the Maine Pharmacy Association in response to the recoupment action pursued last year against True's Pharmacy owned by Rep. Bob Nutting (R-Oakland), would make a number of procedural changes to DHS' auditing and recoupment functions to address perceived over-reaching by the Department in the True's case.  The True's case was initiated by a contingent fee audit.  As you may remember, the MMA's bill, L.D. 246, An Act to Ensure Appropriate Audit Procedures, passed in the 120th Legislature and requires DHS to end the audits by 6/30/03.

The Committee has scheduled a work session on L.D. 1356 for Monday afternoon, 4/14/03.

While it is unlikely that either of these bills will pass in their current form, each present you with an opportunity to communicate any concerns you have about either of these programs.  Please see the committee contact information listed in the section of the Political Pulse about the proposed ban on smoking in bars. [return to top]

Infertility Mandate Headed for Study
At a work session on Wednesday, 4/9/03, the Insurance & Financial Affairs Committee decided by a 9-1 "straw vote" to ask the Bureau of Insurance to do a mandate study on L.D. 213, An Act to Assist Maine's Infertile Citizens this summer.  Earlier in the session, the Committee had voted to carry this bill over to the second session.  [return to top]

IFS Committee Deals with "Extraterritorial Application" of Mandates
This week, the IFS Committee held both a public hearing and work session on the MMA's bill, L.D. 1353, An Act to Ensure Women's Health Care Coverage for all Maine Women, sponsored by House Majority Leader John Richardson (D-Brunswick).  The purpose of L.D. 1353 was to clarify that the mandated women's health care benefits, such as direct access for the annual OB/GYN exam and contraceptives, apply to women living and working in Maine but covered by an out-of-state health insurance carrier.  The Maine Women's Lobby, Planned Parenthood, the Family Planning Association, and Consumers for Affordable Health Care all joined the MMA and Maine Division - ACOG in supporting the bill.  No one opposed the bill.  Anthem spoke "neither for nor against" and raised administrative issues.  During the work session, the Committee decided to ask the Bureau of Insurance to do a "mandate study" of the likely impact on premium of the extraterritorial application of all the mandated benefits. 

The Committee has voted to carry over this bill to the second session and to have the mandate study conducted over the summer. [return to top]

Legislative Committee Meeting Highlights
The MMA Legislative Committee met on Tuesday evening, 4/8/03.  The meeting agenda is below.  The Committee focused on proposed amendments to the certificate-of-need process and funding for the Maine Health Data Organization.  Extending the reach of the CON process to physicians' offices has been the subject of L.D. 584, An Act to Strengthen the Maine Certificate of Need Act of 2002 (carried over to the second session) and the GOHPF work.  It is likely that the Maine Health Data Organization will be amending its assessment process through rulemaking this spring.  The MMA will continue to oppose funding the MHDO through assessments on individual physicians.

Remember, you all are invited to the next Legislative Committee meeting on 5/13/03 and to participate in the weekly conference calls on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

MAINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

Frank O. Stred Building, Manchester, Maine

April 8, 2003

 

Agenda

 

 

Updates

 

1.         MMA Bill Tracking Sheet (attached)

 

2.            Overview of 'cost' and 'quality' bills

 

3.            Overview of tobacco bills

 

4.            Overview of firearms bills

 

5.            Overview of GOHPF work and timeframe

 

6.         L.D. 263, An Act to Define a Scope of Practice for Acupuncture

 

7.         L.D. 363, An Act to Ensure Patient Access to Medical Records

 

8.         L.D. 945, An Act to Facilitate Communication between Prescribers and Dispensers of Prescription Medicine

 

9.         L.D. 423, An Act to Improve the Process of Credentialing Health Care Providers (committee amendment attached)

 

10.       L.D. 897, An Act Concerning Health Insurance Reimbursement and Contracting Practices (committee amendment attached)

 

11.       L.D. 480, Resolve, to Maintain Flexibility and Safety in Caring for People with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (draft letter agreement attached)

 

12.       Other

Action Items

 

1.         L.D. 584, An Act to Strengthen the Maine Certificate of Need Act of 2002 (attached) & GOHPF HAT Cost Containment Subcommittee draft report (attached)

 

2.         L.D. 649, An Act to Allow the Practice of Optometry on the Same Premises as an Optical Shop or Other Establishment (attached)

 

3.         Maine Health Data Organization funding issues (proposed fee increases attached)

 

4.            Abortion bills (attached)

 

  • L.D. 299, An Act to Amend the Abortion Reporting Laws to Eliminate Immunity for a Physician Who Reports Data on an Abortion
  • L.D. 798, An Act to Amend the Abortion Consent Laws
  • L.D. 1101, An Act to Establish and Enforce Abortion Facility Safety Requirements
  • L.D. 1102, An Act to Protect the Mental Health of Women and Girls
  • L.D. 1129, An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Abortion Reporting

 

5.         Review of L.D. 1477 - L.D. 1517 from 4/7/03 Political Pulse

 

6.         Other

 

Next meeting:  Tuesday, May 13, 2003, 6 p.m.

  [return to top]

MMA Position on Bills Reviewed 4/8/03

LD 1477, An Act To Amend the Laws with Regard to Legislative Reports on Children's Mental Health Services (Kane) (monitor; psychiatrists)

LD 1478, An Act To Change the Membership of the Review Team for Aversive Behavior Modifications for Persons with Mental Retardation or Autism (Craven) (monitor; psychiatrists)

LD 1480, An Act To Change the Time Requirement for Mental Retardation Evaluations (Walcott) (monitor; psychiatrists)

LD 1487, An Act To Allow Judges' Faxed Signatures in Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment Proceedings (Weston) (support; psychiatrists)

LD 1488, An Act To Extend Licensing Periods for Agencies Providing Mental Health Services (Brennan) (monitor; psychiatrists)

LD 1490, An Act To Update and Clarify the Law Regarding the Conversion of a Nonprofit Hospital and Medical Service Organization to a Domestic Stock Insurer (Douglass) (monitor)

LD 1491, An Act To Delay the Repeal of Laws Governing the State's Response to an Extreme Public Health Emergency (Pendleton) (support; emergency physicians)

LD 1502, An Act To Clarify the Exclusion of Assumed Reinsurance from Policy Claims Priority (Young) (monitor)

LD 1507, An Act To Clarify and Update the Laws Related to Health Insurance (Canavan) (monitor)

LD 1511, An Act To Make Technical Changes to the Laws Concerning Tobacco Manufacturers (Norbert) (support)

LD 1516, An Act To Prevent Certain Deliveries of Tobacco Products (Martin) (support)

LD 1517, An Act To Make Necessary Technical Changes Relating to the Maine Business Corporation Act and the Maine Professional Service Corporation Act (Norbert) (monitor)

.
[return to top]

Conference call and Meeting Information
The MMA Legislative Committee (and any interested member) will next meet in person at the MMA office on Tuesday, May 13th at 6 p.m.

The Committee's conference call for Wednesday, April 16th at 7 p.m. will use ACCESS PHONE NUMBER AND CODE:

Access phone number:  800-989-2842

Access code:  6223374 [return to top]

Bills for Review and Discussion on 4/16/03
The Committee will discuss and take a position on the following bills during the Legislative Conference Call on 4/16/03 at 7 p.m.. 

LD 1527, Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 120: Release of Information to the Public, a Major Substantive Rule of the Maine Health Data Organization (Kane)

LD 1540, An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Health Care System and Health Security Board (O' Neil)

LD 1546, An Act To Amend Certain Provisions Relating to a Permit To Carry Concealed Firearms To Be Consistent with Changes to the Statute Relating to Possession of Firearms by Prohibited Persons (Carr)

[return to top]

Upcoming Public Hearings
Monday, 4/14/03

1 p.m., Judiciary - L.D. 299, An Act to Amend the Abortion Reporting Laws to Eliminate Immunity for a Physician Who Reports Data on an Abortion; L.D. 798, An Act to Amend the Abortion Consent Laws; L.D. 1101, An Act to Establish and Enforce Abortion Facility Safety Requirements; L.D. 1102, An Act to Protect the Mental Health of Women and Girls; L.D. 1129, An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Abortion Reporting

Tuesday, 4/15/03

1:30 p.m., Business, Research and Economic Development - L.D. 1390, An Act to Provide Self-regulation for Registered Dental Hygienists; L.D. 1152, An Act to Authorize Collaborative Practice for Emergency Contraception; L.D. 1469, An Act to Raise the Fee Caps of the Board of Dental Examiners

1 p.m., Insurance and Financial Services - L.D. 1502, An Act to Clarify the Exclusion of Assumed Reinsurance from Policy Claims Priority; L.D. 1507, An Act to Clarify and Update the Laws Related to Health Insurance

1 p.m., Judiciary - L.D. 1511, An Act to Make Technical Changes to the Laws Concerning Tobacco Manufacturers; L.D. 1517, An Act to Make Necessary Technical Changes Relating to the Maine Business Corporation Act and the Maine Professional Service Corporation Act;' L.D. 1487, An Act to Allow Judges' Faxed Signatures in Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment Proceedings

Wednesday, 4/16/03

1 p.m., Insurance and Financial Services - L.D. 1087, An Act to Require All Health Insurers to Cover the Costs of Hearing Aids

Thursday, 4/17/03

9 a.m., Labor - L.D. 1013, An Act to Address Maine's Direct Care Worker Shortage  [return to top]

Legislative links

  • Maine Legislature's main page
  • Joint Standing Committee list
  • Legislative action - audio links
  • AMA's Washington, D.C. website
  • [return to top]

    To Contact Your State Legislator in Augusta
    For Members of the House:

    The Honorable John/Jane Doe

    State House Station 2

    Augusta, Maine 04333-0002

    1-800-423-2900/207-287-1400 (to leave a message)

    For Senators:

    The Honorable John/Jane Doe

    State House Station 3

    Augusta, Maine 04333-0003

    1-800-423-6900/207-287-1540 (to leave a message) [return to top]

    To Contact Governor Baldacci
    The Honorable John E. Baldacci

    State House Station 1, Augusta, Maine 04333-0001, 287-3531

    governor@maine.gov [return to top]

    For more information or to contact us directly, please visit www.mainemed.com l ©2003, Maine Medical Association