Legislative Update – Week 13

Date of Publication (April 8, 2017)

Tort Reform

Work continues behind the scenes on SF 465, the IMS-crafted medical liability reform legislation that is currently awaiting floor debate in the House. Legislators continue to hear from trial attorneys in opposition to the bill. If you haven’t yet contacted your State Representative, please take a moment to do so via the IMS Action Alert. If you have already contacted your legislator on this issue, please continue to keep in regular contact with them to ensure they’re hearing from supporters for the bill.

FY18 Budget

This week, legislative leadership released their joint budget targets for the coming 2018 Fiscal Year. The legislature’s targeted $7.245 billion total spending target is approximately $39 million below the governor’s revised recommendations, which we told you about last week. The joint target for the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget is approximately $10 million below the governor’s recommendation. 

IMS spoke this week with key legislators from both chambers to discuss the impact of the Medicaid rate cuts recommended by the governor. These cuts include the elimination of the enhanced primary care physician rates and capping Medicare crossover claims at Medicaid levels. IMS calculates that these two payment policy changes alone will result in more than $30 million in provider rate cuts, the vast majority of which will be shouldered by the physician community. We will continue to be in close communications with legislators on the Health and Human Services Appropriation Subcommittee as they work to craft the FY18 budget.

Opioid Abuse

This week saw continued discussions on the issue of opioid abuse. On Monday, IMS Board Chair Michael Romano, MD, joined Senator Brad Zuan (R-Urbandale) and Representative Jarad Klein (R-Keota) on the Iowa Public Radio program, River to River. Dr. Romano helped explain why IMS opposes mandating prescriber use of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) as a means of combatting opioid abuse. Currently, Iowa’s PMP has among the slowest dispensed medication reporting times in the country, significant gaps in the prescribing records, limited functionality, and lacks EHR interoperability. 

As we reported last week, IMS is working to address the several of the issues with the PMP through a series of bills this session. Monday’s discussion further highlighted the need for these pieces of legislation, as well as the breadth of the issue beyond simply mandating use of a single healthcare tool. While legislators continue to contemplate a prescriber use mandate, they’ve also signaled an interest in working with IMS to identify broader solutions to the problem of opioid abuse.

Recent News

University of Iowa Conducting PMP Survey

Researchers at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy are asking Iowa licensed healthcare providers to participate in a survey to study their familiarity with Iowa’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

AMA Letter to Senate: Make Coverage Affordable, Accessible to All

This week the AMA sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in response to his request to health care organizations asking for recommendations to improve the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as passed by the U.S. House...

Medicaid Provider Enrollment Deadline Looming

Last week, Iowa Medicaid Enterprise (IME) announced that approximately 10,000 current Medicaid providers have not yet completed mandatory Medicaid provider enrollment renewal ahead of the impending June 30 deadline.

Changes to Medicare Coverage of Hepatitis B Screening: What Physicians Should Know

Medicare now covers screening for Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection, effective for services on or after Sept. 28, 2016. Practices should be aware that Medicare coinsurance and the Part B deductible are waived for this preventive service.

Mercy - Des Moines Approved for First Psychiatric Residency Class in 2018

Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines announced this week it received approval to begin training psychiatric residency physicians in July 2018. This new residency program addresses a critical statewide shortage of behavioral health providers.

AMA Issues Cyber Alert

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has received multiple reports of ‘WannaCry’ (also known as ‘WannaCrypt’) ransomware infections in several countries around the world and in the United States.

Got News?

Is there something you think we should be covering? What would you like to see IMS report on? Click here to let us know.