General Assembly session is in the home stretch. We are still focused on several important bills that need your support!
Thank you to Dr. Arturo Saavedra for joining us last week and speaking with legislators about the importance of VMAP.
Scope of Practice
On Tuesday, SB 1026 (Dunnavant) was in front of the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions (HWI) Committee which is chaired by Del. Sickles. The Committee considered replacing the Senate bill with the House’s version – known as ‘conforming the bill.’ After much discussion, the Committee ultimately voted to lay Sen. Dunnavant’s version of the bill on the table—meaning it cannot advance out of Committee.
Yesterday, the Senate Education and Health Committee heard HB 1506 (Sickles). The Committee voted to conform the House bill to the Senate version and essentially re-passed Sen. Dunnavant’s version.
Since there are two different versions, neither of which have passed both chambers, the bills will go to conference. When conferees are named, MSV will send an alert to members. The physician community will need to be heard to ensure the best possible legislation is adopted.
Surprise Balance Billing
In order to reach consensus, the General Assembly is now considering legislation based on Washington state’s surprise balance billing law. The MSV team has reviewed the Washington law and spoke to the Washington State Medical Association who advocated for this legislation.
The draft language is still being finalized for Virginia. The Washington law has many of the same principles of the amended SB 172 (Favola) amended bill. The Washington law, specifically:
Bans balance billing for emergency services
Bans balance billing for specific non-emergency health care services at an in-network hospital or an in-network ambulatory surgical facility. These services are defined as surgery, anesthesiology, pathology, radiology, laboratory, or hospitalist services.
Requires plans to reimburse providers directly within 30 days at a “commercially reasonable rate” — which is determined using transparent data from the insurance commissioner state’s APCD and consider median in-network rates, median out-of-network rates, and median billed charges for that region.
If there is disagreement, there is an arbitration process, that is similar to baseball style arbitration.
MSV will continue to advocate to end surprise balance billing for patients and ensure the final bill is fair and beneficial to the health care community.
Delegate Hope’s bill HB 1090 passed out of Senate Finance and will now make its way to the Senate floor. We will need to continue our efforts to support this bill for it to pass. It passed the House by a narrow margin of nine votes.
Send A Message Supporting HB 1090
PROFESSIONAL WELL-BEING PROGRAM
HB 115 (Hope) and SB 120 (Barker) were passed and now will now be sent to the Governor for signature. The intent of these bills is to create a “safe haven” for physicians, outside of their employers, in order to get the support they need. This added security of confidentiality removes the barriers of seeking treatment, reducing stigma and ends the fear of losing their job or their license.
Budget conferees were named this week. Please see the list below. If you have a relationship with any of these legislators, please let us know(link sends e-mail). MSV will continue to advocate for the $4.22 million allocated in the budgets for the Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP).
Senate Budget Conferees
- Janet D. Howell (D-District 32)
- Richard L. Saslaw (D-District 35)
- Thomas K. Norment, (R-District 3)
- Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-District 24)
- L. Louise Lucas (D-District 18)
- George L. Barker (D-District 39)
- R. Creigh Deeds (D-District 25)
- Mamie E. Locke (D-District 2)
House Budget Conferees
- Luke E. Torian (D-Prince William)
- Mark D.Sickles (D-Arlington)
- Betsy B. Carr (D-Richmond)
- David L. Bulova (D- Fairfax)
- Roslyn C. Tyler (D-Sussex)
- Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights)
- Barry D. Knight (R-Virginia Beach)