Health Care Action At State Capitols: Hospital Fees, Nurses' Prescribing Power

Lawmakers around the country consider a bevy of bills related to health policy.

The Associated Press: Okla. Senate Panel Approves Hospital Fee Extension
Legislation that would extend a program that helps reimburse hospitals and other health care providers that provide Medicaid services was approved by a state Senate panel Wednesday. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Health and Human Services voted to extend the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program through 2019. The measure now goes to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration (Talley, 2/6).

The Associated Press: Senate Panel Backs Abortion Coverage Ban
An Arkansas Senate panel approved a measure Wednesday banning insurers participating in an exchange created under the health care law from covering most abortions, while the sponsor of legislation banning abortions 20 weeks into a pregnancy said he's facing resistance for it not exempting victims of rape or incest. By a 5-2 vote, the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced legislation barring abortion coverage in the health insurance exchange, with exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother (2/6).

The Associated Press: ND Bill Aims To Protect Seniors, Vulnerable Adults
Health care workers, law enforcement and other professionals would be required to report the abuse of senior citizens and other vulnerable adults under bipartisan legislation considered by the North Dakota Senate. Sen. Phil Murphy, D-Portland, said North Dakota and Colorado are the only two states that don't require the reporting of adult abuse (MacPherson, 2/6).

The Texas Tribune: Bill Targets Caribbean Medical School With Eye On Texas
For more than a year, a foreign medical school has been seeking approval to operate in Texas, and its controversial bid has overcome a number of roadblocks. This legislative session, a recently filed bill will put it to one more high-stakes test. What the American University of the Caribbean, a for-profit medical school owned by DeVry Inc., wants is a certificate of authority from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Hamilton, 2/7).

The Texas Tribune: Bill Would Strengthen Nurses' Prescriptive Power
A long-awaited agreement between physicians, nurses and state legislators to increase the prescriptive power of advanced practice nurses could improve Texans' access to care, health care leaders said Wednesday. … The legislation, filed by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, chairwoman of the House Public Health Committee, and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, will eliminate on-site physician supervision requirements to allow doctors to delegate the authority to prescribe and order medical devices to advanced practitioner nurses; increase the number of advanced practice nurses a physician can supervise from four to seven; and improve coordination between the Texas Medical Board and the Board of Nursing and Physician Assistants (Aaronson, 2/6).

The Lund Report: Senate Committee Votes To Give Urban Nurse Practitioners Prescriptive Powers
The Senate Health Committee unanimously passed a bill Monday that would allow nurse practitioners across the state to prescribe and dispense medicine. Senate Bill 8 could go to a full senate vote as early as tomorrow when it's expected to pass. The bill would then be heard before the appropriate House committee. Nurse practitioners have had the ability to prescribe and dispense medicine for about a decade in rural counties, where access to doctors and pharmacies may be limited. The Portland-based clinic chain ZoomCare pushed the bill because its medical model often uses lower-cost medical providers such as nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to provide basic care (Gray, 2/6).

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