After almost of decade of work and negotiations, Governor Roy Cooper signed Medicare Expansion last week.  It gives almost 6 million North Carolinians an opportunity to access better healthcare.

In addition, the House also filed its version of the 2023-2023 Budget. The final implementation of Medicaid Expansion is dependent on a budget agreement being passed and signed by Cooper by the end of this year. The House version of the budget is the first step in reaching that compromise. The budget report can be viewed here.

NCMS staff and stakeholders are still reviewing the budget in its entirety, almost 600 pages. Here are some provisions for rural health access we find exciting as a peek into the bill:

  • $12.5 million for rural hospital stabilization grants
  • $1 million to AHEC to develop five outpatient teaching sites in rural areas of the state, so we can train and keep providers in those areas.
  • $25 million to incentivize providers to practice in rural and underserved areas.

Here are some other bills filed this week we are keeping our eye on:

HB 484, Mental Health Confidential Information: A written release requiring elements for authorizations as set forth in Subpart E of Part 164 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations would be required for mental health info.

HB 500, Medicaid Related Recs: Would increase awareness that school provided medical services are reimbursable under Medicaid.

HB 519 & SB 399, Mental Health Protection Act: Would make it illegal for licensed providers to give conversion therapy for minors.

HB 232, First Responders Mental Health: Would create a supplemental insurance policy for first responders with mental health conditions.

HB 533, Human Life Protection Act of 2023: Would make all abortion at any age of gestation illegal in North Carolina.

SB 371, Opioid Overdose Prevention Act: Appropriation to DHHS to reduce opioid overdoses.

SB 371, Community Health Center Grants for Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives: Would appropriate funds to DHHS to provide grants for nonprofit community health centers to get Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs).

SB 375, Health Care Freedom Act: Would not allow healthcare providers to refuse care of someone based on vaccination status.

SB 380, Physician Passive Income Prohibited: Would not allow physicians to be compensated for supervision agreements between physicians and CNMS/NPS.

SB 385, Anesthesia Care/TEFRA Compliance: Would require anesthesiologist to comply with certain requirements during supervision of a CRNA in order to quality for reimbursement. Would also require 50% compensation for CRNAs by the Health benefit plan.

SB 389, Raise the Age for Donating Blood: Would raise the age of consent to blood donation from 16 to 18.

SB 393, CRNA Supervision Modifications: Would require direct supervision of CRNAs by anesthesiologists when performing anesthesia activities.

SB 407, Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act: Would direct DHHS to conduct and support research on uterine fibroids.

Find the full summary of the above bills here.