“I’ll bring my selfie stick!”
A lobbyist enthused about an invitation to Mahonia Hall. Governor Kate Brown invited all female legislators and members of the lobby to a reception to celebrate Women’s History Month.

News of the week: “Doc Fix” passes House

House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are working with the Senate on a bi-partisan, bi-cameral bill to replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth rate formula (SGR — otherwise known as the ‘doc fix’, ) with a new payment system. (H.R. 2/S. 810). If they aren’t able to reach agreement by April 1, doctors who treat Medicare patients will face a 21 percent cut to payments. The bill passed the House 392-37. The Senate is likely to take it up soon.

The $213 billion deal would replace the SGR, as well as provide a two-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). At issue: Some members, including Sen. Wyden D-Oregon, would like to see a four-year extension of CHIP. Other members are concerned about the financing component — spending reductions of $70 billion are split between cuts to Medicare benefits and reductions in payments to hospitals, insurers, and acute-care providers. The deal is expected to add about $140 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years. President Obama has indicated he will sign a “good bi-partisan” bill. 

 

Articles of interest:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/03/26/395395298/is-capitol-hill-ready-to-rest-its-near-annual-doc-fix-exercise

http://www.wsj.com/articles/passage-of-doc-fix-bill-edges-closer-1427326614

 

The big bills this week: Oregon paid sick leave and Hospital Cost Transparency

A bill requiring employers to provide paid sick leave for their workers passed the Senate Workforce Committee. It now heads to Ways and Means. http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2015/03/oregon_paid_sick_leave_bill_pa.html?ath=e12891252ab258d92cde479ed17b3177#cmpid=nsltr_stryheadline

 

The Senate Human Services Committee took up the issue of hospital costs and price transparency at a hearing on Tuesday. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/health/2015/03/17/two-oregon-bills-target-health-care-cost-transparency/24898103/

 

Watch List

SB 409, which repeals the $500,000 limit on noneconomic damages recoverable in wrongful death and other courses of action, is expected to be up for a hearing before the April 10 deadline to hold work sessions. The OMA is leading the opposition to this bill.  

 

Deadlines

April 10 – Deadline for Chairs to SCHEDULE Work Sessions for First Chamber Measures 

Policy committee Chairs must post agendas with first chamber measures (House bills in the House, Senate bills in the Senate) that they intend to hold a work session on by the April 21 deadline. This will not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees. Bills in a policy committee that are not scheduled for a work session by this deadline will not receive further action.

 

OCEP bill hearings and other activities

SB 840, allows licensed independent practitioners to perform psychiatric holds, is up for a hearing in the Senate Human Services Committee on March 24. Dr. Sharon Meieran and Katy King served on the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems work group that produced this bill to address overcrowding in the ED and acute care facilities. OCEP testified in support. However, Chair Gelser asked Sen. Bates, the sponsor of the bill to work with Disability Rights Oregon on amendments to limit this function to Mental Health Nurse Practitioners.

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB840/Introduced

SB 891 and SB 900 price transparency bills, are scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday, March 25. Posting prices in the ED is a potential EMTALA violation. Katy King provided informational testimony about the impact in the emergency department. To see the bills: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB891/Introduced and https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB900/Introduced

SB 871, a bill which among other things, would require emergency rooms to have protocols for the treatment of adrenal insufficiency is up for a hearing on April 1. Katy King will testify on behalf of OCEP.

 

Thing to Know: What’s the Doc Fix?

Since 1997, Congress has been passing annual temporary patches to the budget to fix the formula for the Medicare physician payment system.

For more information about the legislative process, please contact Katy King.

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