The 2020 General Assembly Session has officially begun. MSV is hard at work tracking the bills that have the ability to impact medicine and patient care in Virginia. We are already tracking over 350 bills.

Scope of Practice

PHARMACISTS

HB 1506 (Sickles) would allow pharmacists to diagnose, prescribe, and dispense: epinephrine; prescription tobacco cessation products; TB tests; tests and medications for flu, strep, urinary tract infections, and H. Pylori; contraceptives; PrEP for HIV, and more. MSV continues to have conversations with Del. Mark Sickles about the dangers this would cause for patients. Sen. Dunnavant, MD has indicated to MSV that she will introduce a similar bill that will allow pharmacists diagnosing and prescribing privileges–and once we see the final bill, we will encourage our members to take action.

NATUROPATHS

HB 1040 (Rasoul) and SB 858 (Petersen) would license naturopaths allowing them to prescribe medications, perform minor surgical procedures, and order and perform physical exams and lab tests. In addition, naturopaths would be able to use the term ‘naturopathic doctor.’ We continue to oppose these bills. STAY TUNED – next week we will have pre-drafted messages for you to send to Del. Rasoul and Sen. Petersen in opposition of these bills.

PROTECT YOUR PROFESSION
Show up to the House sub-committee considering the naturopath and pharmacy scope bills.
Thursday, 5PM | 900 E. Main St. | Richmond, VA
Want us to save you a seat? Email the MSV GA team at [email protected].

Surprise Balance Billing

There are multiple bills that address surprise balance billing. HB 1251 (Torian) and SB 172 (Favola) would end surprise billing for patients and ensure adequate reimbursement to protect the ER safety net.

The legislation would also add a fourth independent option to the list of the required rates a health plan must pay a physician for delivering emergency care. Currently plans are required to pay either their in-network rate, usual and customary, or Medicare. The bills would add the regional average payment from commercial plans as an additional option.

Mental Health

VIRGINIA MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS PROGRAM (VMAP)

VMAP is a statewide program designed to increase access for children to mental health care, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and care navigators. VMAP currently relies on a combination of private, state, and federal funding but requires additional funding for the program to expand statewide. MSV is supporting Governor Northam’s budget to increase VMAP’s funding by $4.3 million to serve all regions of the Commonwealth. MSV’s Foundation (MSVF) was recently named the contract administrator for VMAP by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS).

Medicaid Rates

A budget amendment is being carried by Sen. Dunnavant, MD and Del. Betsy Carr to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for physicians. The amendment increases Medicaid rates to 88% of Medicare rates. The amendment also includes an annual inflation increase for physician reimbursements.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

HB 1449 (Rasoul) and SB 982 (Hashmi) attempts to prevent MOC from limiting a physician’s ability to practice. The MSV has policy which opposes continuing board certification – commonly referred to as maintenance of certification (MOC) – as a requirement for licensure, credentialing, recredentialing, privileging, reimbursement, network participation, employment, or insurance panel participation. MSV is opposed to HB 1449 because of its efforts to legislate physician education – which does not align with MSV policy. As drafted, HB 1449 codifies many instances in which MOC could be used to regulate a physician’s ability to practice. MSV also has concerns that the bill would negatively impact Virginia’s trauma centers. As drafted, the bill may cause Virginia’s trauma centers to lose their accredited status. MSV is committed to addressing current challenges of MOC and will continue to lead national efforts for reform.

Physician Loan Repayment

The existing Virginia Physician Loan Repayment Program has not been funded in over 10 years. By easing the burden of student loan debt, physicians are able to practice in underserved areas. MSV is asking for $4 million to fund 20 positions for the Physician Loan Repayment Program. Each physician would receive a maximum of $200,000 over four years. Physicians will be required to have a minimum commitment of 2 years and the reimbursement would be tax-exempt.

Public Health

VACCINES

SB 104 (Favola) on mature minors being able to consent to vaccines was withdrawn this week. Sen. Favola received a great deal of opposition from anti-vaxers and parent groups. We continue to support HB 1090 (Hope) that would align the Board of Health’s Regulations for the Immunization of School Children consistent with the Immunization Schedule developed and published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.


House of Medicine Wins

  • SB 267 (Bell) would have repealed Virginia’s existing medical malpractice cap for cases related to prescription opioids. MSV was able to work with the patron and the bill has been withdrawn.
  • MSV’s efforts to create a Physician Wellness Program (HB 115 Hope/SB 120 Barker) both passed unanimously out of their respective subcommittees.
  • HB 38 (Samirah) was passed out of the House Labor and Commerce Committee. The bill prohibits minors from using indoor tanning beds. MSV’s government affairs team testified in support of the bill.
  • MSV also was able to work closely with Del. Samirah, the patron of HB 41—a new physician mandate bill that would have put an unneeded burden on physicians —to strike the bill.