Week 10 Legislative Update

It was a livelier than anticipated second funnel week at the capitol, with the biggest news of the week being the shake-up in leadership of the Senate Republican Caucus. While this political drama diverted significant time and energy, much work still occurred ahead of today’s second funnel deadline. Several bills of interest to IMS cleared the second funnel these included the following:

 

Behavioral Health

On Tuesday, the Senate Human Resources Committee took up and unanimously passed HF 2456, the Complex Service Needs Workgroup recommendations that previously passed the House and a Senate subcommittee. Several members of the committee spoke in support of the legislation, while also cautioning that issues like additional funding for services and meeting the unique needs of the pediatric population are not addressed in this legislation. Shortly after the bill’s committee passage, its floor manager cautioned that he would not tolerate attempts to expand or alter this package of policy reforms when the bill comes to the full Senate for debate. The Complex Service Needs Workgroup emphasized in its final report the importance of enacting these reforms as a package rather than piecemeal so as to avoid creating bottlenecks in the service delivery system. This renewed assurance that HF 2456 would be enacted as written is a positive development as we look to get the bill to the governor’s desk in the near future.

 

Telehealth Parity

Also this week, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to advance HF 2305, which establishes commercial insurance telehealth parity. In passing the bill, legislators acknowledged it represents incremental progress in enacting policy to facilitate increased telehealth services in our state. The bill’s floor manager expressed an openness to revisiting the issue in future years with the intention of further expanding supportive telehealth policy. The bill now moves to the Senate floor where it is expected to easily pass.

 

Pharmacist Statewide Protocols

Earlier this session, we reported on the on-going efforts by the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA) in pursuit of SF 2322, which authorizes statewide protocols to allow pharmacists to dispense or administer select vaccines and other substances without an individualized prescription or local standing order. Recently, the bill unanimously passed the Senate in the form negotiated by IMS and IPA. Last week, a House subcommittee passed the bill and on Tuesday, the House Human Resources Committee unanimously advanced the legislation to the full House for consideration. In passing the bill through committee, the bill’s floor manager thanked IMS for the collaborative manner in which we engaged with IPA to strike an appropriate balance between the efforts of IPA to expand the services available at a local pharmacy, while maintaining appropriate safeguards to patient safety. The full House is expected to take the bill up soon.

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