Session Update: Health Legislation

This post summarizes the status of various health bills that MACo took a position on.

Ambulance Service Providers and Assignment of BenefitsHB 83/SB 154 would require health insurers to reimburse an ambulance provider (must be owned, operated,or under the jurisdiction of a political subdivision or a volunteer fire company or rescue squad) directly for covered services.  If an ambulance company provides a service to an individual and the company does not participate in that individual’s insurance network, the insurer typically sends payment to the patient who often fails to pay the ambulance service provider.  MACo argued that this bill would greatly assist ambulance services with recouping transport costs.  Status: SB 154 has passed the Senate and was heard in the House Health and Government Operations (HGO) Committee on March 31.  HB 83 was voted favorable with amendments in the HGO Insurance Subcommittee and has been amended in similar form to SB 154, except HB 83 as amended sunsets after 3 years and 6 months, and provides for a study of the number of claims received, and the number and amount of claims paid.  Additional amendments may be considered when the full HGO Committee votes. MACO Testimony

Health Officers and the Delivery of Health Care ServicesHB 709/ SB 416,  as introduced, would authorize a health officer to enter into an agreement or contract, with consent of the county governing body and the written approval of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to assist or participate in the delivery of health care services with a person to provide, facilitate, coordinate, or deliver health care services.  MACo supported both bills with an amendment to provide that these contractual or written agreements are entered into with the consent of the county’s governing body.  Status:  Both bills have been amended to incorporate this language and are moving towards final passage. MACo Testimony

Counties Providing Medical Professional Liability Insurance: SB 895 would require a county to provide medical liability insurance to a nonprofit health care provider within its jurisdiction. MACo argued that this bill placed an administrative burden and costly mandate on county governments at a time when revenues are waning, and State cutbacks loom large.  Status:  SB 895 was given an unfavorable report by the Senate Finance Committee. MACO Testimony

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