HAH Update – 9 Bills Pass Legislature

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HAH Update

May 2, 2014

Nine Bills Pass Legislature

During the 2014 state legislature HAH tracked, sponsored and had an impact on more legislation than ever. The legislation which the association supported will generate revenue, cut down on regulatory and legal burdens, increase patient access and improve the healthcare delivery system in our state.

“Our thanks go to members for their input, institutional knowledge and support,” said George Greene, President & CEO of HAH, “to the Governor and the Department of Human Services, and to legislators who work tirelessly to sift through thousands of bills each session. In particular, I would like to thank the following key legislators for supporting HAH’s positions during this legislature: Senator Josh Green, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health; Representative Della Au Bellati, Chair of the House Committee on Health; Representative Sylvia Luke, Chair of the House Committee on Finance; Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Chair of the Senate Committee on Human Services; Senator David Ige, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means; Representative Scott Nishimoto, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Finance; Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor; Representative Angus McKelvey, Chair of the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce; Senator Rosalyn Baker, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection; Representative Mele Carroll, Chair of the House Committee on Human Services; and Representative Karl Rhoads, Chair of the House Committee on Judiciary.”

The following nine bills from HAH’s legislative package passed out of the legislature this session:

Home Care Licensing (HB2094).  Extends the 2014 sunset of Act 21, Special Session Laws of Hawaii 2009, to June 20, 2019 and appropriates funds to establish a full-time equivalent permanent position in the Department of Health to facilitate the licensing of home care agencies.

Mental Health Notice of Discharge (HB1723).  Exempts hospital discharges of non-forensic psychiatric patients from section 334-60.7, Hawaii Revised Statutes, discharge requirements, allowing hospitals to discharge involuntary civil commitment patients when the treating physician determines patient is fit for discharge without seeking court approval, as previously required.  The measure will make important services available to other members of the community, and will result in significant cost savings to hospitals with psychiatric facilities.

Sustainability – Hospital (HB2293).  Extends the sunset for the hospital sustainability bill beyond the existing sunset of June 30, 2014. The legislation raises funds from private facilities to draw down $38.3 million in federal matching Medicaid funds to improve reimbursements that would maintain access to care for this population. No state funds and no taxpayer dollars will be used.

Sustainability – Nursing Facility (SB2057)Extends the sunset for the nursing facility sustainability bill beyond the existing sunset of June 30, 2014. The legislation raises funds from private facilities to draw down $9.5 million in federal matching Medicaid funds to improve reimbursements that would maintain access to care for this population. No state funds and no taxpayer dollars will be used.

Emergency Management (HB849).  Recodifies Hawaii’s emergency management statutes by updating statutes established more than half a century ago, recognizing changes in the field of emergency management and reorganization of the federal emergency management infrastructure.

Telehealth (SB2469).  Modernizes the practice of medicine in Hawaii by promoting telehealth—which is used effectively and extensively throughout the country—by requiring coverage for telehealth services. The bill would (1) require reimbursement for telehealth services to be equivalent to reimbursement for the same medical services provided in person; and (2) include primary care providers, mental health providers, oral health providers, advanced practice registered nurses, psychologists, and dentists as eligible telehealth providers.

POLST – APRN (HB2052). Increases access to Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) by updating references from “physician orders for life-sustaining treatment” to “provider orders for life-sustaining treatment” throughout chapter 327K, HRS; expanding healthcare provider signatory authority to include advanced practice registered nurses; and correcting inconsistencies over terms used to describe who may sign a POLST form on behalf of a patient.

Naturopathic Physicians (SB2577). Requires naturopathic practitioners to fulfill the same education, examination, and training requirements as physicians or osteopathic physicians licensed under chapter 453 to qualify for prescription privileges.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (Act 46). Replaces references to advanced practice registered nurse recognition with advanced practice registered nurse licensure to align Hawaii’s law with national standards.

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