This week the General Assembly released the language of the agreement between the House and Senate on Medicaid Expansion. While the main provisions of HB 76 remain the same, the amendment makes the following changes:

• Removes loan assistance program for those getting advanced degrees.
• HASP effective immediately, which would enhance hospitals Medicaid reimbursements.
• Medicaid Expansion would be dependent on the passage of a 2023-2024 budget.
• Adds a program that would help residents on Medicaid transfer to marketplace place healthcare when available.
• Adds Certificate of Need (CON) Reform which would do the following:

  • Remove the certificate of Need Requirement for chemical dependency treatment beds and psychiatric beds. (effective immediately)
  • Raises the threshold for replacement equipment requiring a CON from $2 million to $3 million and adds a provision to update this number for inflation yearly. (effective immediately)
  • Raises the threshold for diagnostic centers requiring a CON from $1.5 million to $3 million and adds a provision to update for inflation yearly. (effective immediately)
  • Exempts new institutional health services for children home care agencies and new chemical or substance abuse facilities. (effective immediately)
  • Exempts Ambulatory Surgery Centers from CON review if in an urban county (counties with more than 125,000 residents as of 2020) and requires those counties contribute 4% charity care (Medicare and Medicare self-pay) to be exempt from CON review. Annual reporting also mandatory for charity care. (effective 2 years after first HASP payment)
    MRI machine purchase does not require a CON review if in an urban county if not in a diagnostic center (counties with more than 125,000 residents as of 2020). (effective 3 years from the first HASP payment)

The bill has moved swiftly through committees this week and will be heard by Rules this week. Here are some other bills from this week we are tracking:

HB 297, Educate Patients About Opioid Antagonists: Requires healthcare practitioners and pharmacists and educate patients with opioid prescriptions on the danger of opioids, overdose prevention, and using opioids antagonists to prevent overdose rates.

HB 298, Criminal Falsification of Medical Records: Makes it a crime to tamper with medical records to cover up mistakes, deaths, or unlawful monetary obtaining.

HB 316, Respiratory Care Modernization Act: Would create a new type of respiratory care professional and a new licensing board.

HB 321, Reduce Maternal Morbidity/Mortality/Medicaid: Would attempt to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality through increasing the Medicare rate of reimbursement to OBs and material bundle payments.

HB 350 & SB 156, Medicaid Children & Families Specialty Plan: Would expand Medicaid services to create a children and families specialty plan. children in foster care, people who are receiving adoption assistance, and former foster care youth.

HB 336, Healthy Students- A Nurse in Every School: Would require at least one permanent nurse in every public school.

SB 236, Modernize Audiology Practice Laws: Expands scope of audiologists and adds an audiologist assistant.

Read full summaries of these bills here.