03/24/2017 Legislative Update March 27
“Valar Morghulis: All unposted bills must die.”
News of the week: April 10 was the deadline for bills to be scheduled for a work session. It was also known as “Kill Bill” day. A large number of bills were posted, including some that received cursory ‘tap, tap’ hearings. *See Thing to Know.
The big bills this week:
SB 409, which repeals the $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages recoverable in wrongful death and other courses of action, is scheduled for a work session on Wednesday, April 15 in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The OMA is leading the opposition to this bill for physician associations.
SB 895, which requires schools to post immunizations rates, is the vehicle for tightening up the vaccination requirements for school entry. A work session has been scheduled for Thursday, April 16 in Senate Education. Sen. Steiner Hayward, the sponsor of the bill, has proposed an amendment to remove the online educational module as an option for parents to receive an exemption for their child. Instead, parents would need to get a signature from their health care provider to qualify. It’s not clear the senator has the votes to adopt the proposed amendment. Pediatricians are amongst groups that have advocated to retain the online educational module.
April 21 – Deadline for Committees to HOLD Work Sessions on First Chamber Measures
This is the last day for policy committees to move measures introduced in their chamber (i.e. Senate bills in the Senate, House bills in the House) out of committee. The deadline does not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees.
OCEP Bills Still in Play
SB 132, Violence against health care workers, is up for a work session in Senate Judiciary on 4/17. OCEP has testified in support.
SB 874, a bill which among other things, would have originally required emergency rooms to have protocols for the treatment of adrenal insufficiency is scheduled for a work session on April 20. Katy King testified on behalf of OCEP at the original hearing. Joining the opposition: the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of EMS Physicians, the Fire Chief’s Association, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and the Oregon Nurses Association. Chair Laurie Monnes Anderson asked OCEP and the Hospital Association to develop amendments and to convene stakeholders. The proposed amendments are a ‘gut n’ stuff’ of the original bill and will require the OHA to develop educational materials online and make them available to professional associations for distribution.
HB 3502, the mental health care improvement bill developed by the OAHHS workgroup, which included OCEP, is up for a hearing in the House Health Care Committee on Monday, April 20. Amendments will pare down the original bill to provisions that will support the Unity Behavior Health Center, which will provide psychiatric emergency services in Portland next year. OCEP supports this bill. Special thanks to OCEP member of the Year Sharon Meieran, for her work on this bill.
HB 3402 which increases speed limits, is scheduled for a work session on April 15. OCEP testified in opposition to this bill at the public hearing on April 3.
SB 839 A, provides amnesty for 911 callers seeking emergency medical services in case of an overdose, passed the Senate on April 9. OCEP provided a statement of support for this bill.
SB 891, which requires health care facilities to post prices, is up for a work session April 20. OCEP testified at the hearing on March 25, raising concerns about EMTALA violations. Proposed amendments will address this issue.
Bills that have died in committee
SB 186 Epi-Pens, was scheduled for a work session on Wednesday, April 8. This bill would allow for public dispensing machines for a prescription medicine. The bill was taken off the agenda after concerns were raised by OCEP. Special thanks to OCEP President Chip Sánchez and board members Evangeline Sokol and David Lehrfeld, for their work to educate lawmakers on this bill.
SB 835, requires hospital emergency departments to refer patients to primary care if they ‘don’t have a condition requiring emergency services’. Sen. Bates, the chief sponsor, asked for the bill to be pulled from the agenda after hearing concerns from OCEP. Board member John Moorhead was instrumental in identifying concerns and raising them with Sen. Bates.
HB 2303, Out of Network Billing, would have required physicians and hospitals to notify patients of out-of-network providers. This would have caused significant burdens in the emergency department setting. The OMA would like to work on this issue during the interim to study the New York State experience with a similar bill.
Thing to Know: Tap Tap Hearing
On occasion, leadership in one or both houses will instruct committee chairs to discontinue hearings on new bills after a certain date. A "tap-tap hearing" refers to a hearing in which a committee chair schedules a large number of bills to be heard in one meeting prior to the cut-off date. In rapid succession, the chair opens (with a gavel drop) and closes (with a gavel drop) public hearings on the bills: hence the "tap tap" moniker. Arthur Brown ORS 2007 Statutes.
For more information about the legislative process, please contact Katy King.