MSNJ Legislative Update: May 10, 2013

Pediatric Respite Care Facilities

The Assembly Regulated Professions Committee unanimously approved A. 3558 which will provide a license for pediatric respite care facilities.  A pediatric long-term care facility is not required to seek a dual license under this bill.  MSNJ took no position on this bill, but recognizes its potential to help families deal with pediatric illnesses.

Mental Health Coverage for Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Disorders

The Assembly Health Committee passed A. 1665/S. 1253, which would revise statutory mental health coverage requirements and require all health insurers and SHBP to cover treatment for alcoholism and other substance-use disorders under the same terms and conditions as for other diseases or illnesses. MSNJ has supported mental health parity measures, including this one, for years. The bill is particularly important in light of the focus on mental health issues related to gun violence.

Influenza Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers

The Assembly Health Committee passed A. 2172, which would require that a healthcare facility annually offer on-site or off-site influenza vaccinations to its health care workers, and they would be required to receive an influenza vaccination, but would be permitted to present acceptable proof, including an attestation by the health care worker, of a current influenza vaccination from another vaccination source, or sign a written declination statement. The bill is poised for full votes in both houses; the Governor vetoed the bill last year. MSNJ supports the bill.

Prescription Drug Donation Repository Program

The Assembly Health Committee passed A. 2188/A. 3964, which would establish a prescription drug donation repository program in the Department of Health (DOH).  This program will provide for the donation of unused prescription drugs and supplies by persons, health care facilities, and pharmacies to a central repository for redistribution to authorized medical facilities and pharmacies in order to re-dispense these medications, which would otherwise be destroyed, for use by individuals who meet eligibility criteria specified by the Commissioner of Health. MSNJ supports the bill, as it is in line with our goal to reduce abuse and diversion of drugs, particularly opioids.

Limitation of Settings for Certain Surgeries

The Senate Health Committee approved S. 2079, sponsored by Senator Richard Codey, which would limit settings where certain surgeries may be performed.  Under the bill, a physician may only perform any of the following procedures in an office or facility that is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, or The Joint Commission: a liposuction procedure that involves more than 750 cubic centimeters of aspirate; a procedure that utilizes a breast implant; or an aesthetic truncal contouring procedure that involves the excision of skin. This bill is supported by plastic surgeons, but opposed by dermatologists. MSNJ opposes the bill on the principle that clinical matters of such specificity should not be legislated.

Medicaid Expansion

The Senate Health Committee also passed S. 2644, sponsored by Senators Joseph Vitale, Nia Gill and Loretta Weinberg, which would expand Medicaid eligibility pursuant to the federal Affordable Care Act.  The bill essentially is the legislative version of the Governor’s decision to expand Medicaid eligibility under the ACA.  MSNJ’s position on expansion can be found here.

Value Based Benefit Design for Chronic Health Conditions

The Assembly Appropriations committee passed A. 1214, which establishes a pilot program to utilize value-based benefit design in the State Health Benefits Plan to increase health benefits coverage for certain employees concerning chronic health conditions.  The coverage design will utilize explicit financial incentives to increase the employee’s interaction with appropriate health care providers, and encourage use of those health benefits that specifically relate to the employee’s chronic health condition.  MSNJ is monitoring this bill, which mirrors the goals of ACOs and other new payment models that focus on outcomes.

Health Benefit Mandate for Breast Imaging Services

The Assembly Appropriations committee also passed A. 2022/S. 792, which contains an insurance mandate for certain tests following mammograms and requires certain notice about risk factors. 

The bill requires health insurers to provide health benefits coverage for additional testing deemed medically necessary by a patient’s health care provider, of an entire breast or breasts, after a baseline mammogram examination, if the mammogram demonstrates extremely dense breast tissue, if the mammogram is abnormal within any degree of breast density including not dense, moderately dense, heterogeneously dense, or extremely dense breast tissue, or if the patient has additional risk factors for breast cancer.  Additional risk factors include, but are not limited to, family history of breast cancer, prior personal history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing, extremely dense breast tissue based on the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System, or other indications as determined by the patient’s health care provider. The bill also requires providers of mammography services to include information on breast density in mammography reports sent to patients and physicians, if a patient’s mammogram demonstrates extremely dense breast tissue based on the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System.  The bill provides that the information on breast density must include the following statement:  “Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is extremely dense as determined by the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology.  Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal.  However, extremely dense breast tissue can make it harder to find cancer on a mammogram and may also be associated with a risk factor for cancer.  This information about the result of your mammogram is given to you to raise your awareness.  Use this information to talk to your health care provider about this and other risks for breast cancer that pertain to your personal medical history.  A report of your results was sent to your physician.”

MSNJ was engaged in improving the bill along with radiology and ob/gyn specialty societies, so that it reflects clinical realities and current practices.  Insurance providers and business groups oppose the bill.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

One response to “MSNJ Legislative Update: May 10, 2013”

  1. Britanny Levine says :

    It is good that insurance companies will now be required to provide coverage for additional medical tests necessary for the patient’s diagnosis. This would be very useful for elderly health care as well since you can monitor their medical condition much better without worrying about the extra expenses.

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