|Prior authorization bill unanimously passes Senate
HB 2351, the Senate-amended version of a prior authorization bill vetoed last year, unanimously passed the Senate on Wednesday. It now goes to the House. If the House accepts the Senate amendments, passes the bill and sends it to the governor, the House and Senate are setting the stage for a possible veto override.
The Senate version requires a comprehensive list of all procedures requiring prior authorization be listed on an insurance company’s online form, requires prior authorization for an “episode of care” and not individual procedures, states a medical director must make the ultimate prior authorization procedure decision and allows for a three-day course of non-prior-authorized prescriptions when an individual is discharged from a hospital. The bill also provides any physician performing 30 prior-authorized procedures in three months be exempted from prior authorization requirements for three months.
House says residential care centers must meet contractual requirements
The House of Delegates Wednesday added an amendment to HB 2010, the bill that moves foster care services to managed care, requiring, “A residential child care center which has entered into a contract with the [Department of Health and Human Resources] … provide services to a certain number of foster children, shall accept any foster child who meets the residential child care center’s program criteria, if the residential child care center has not met its maximum capacity as provided for in the contract.” The final vote was 54-45.
Those favoring the amendment argued residential care centers should fulfill their contractual requirements if they have available beds and provide care for children. They argue this will reduce out-of-state placement for foster children. House Majority Leader Amy Summers proposed the amendment. In legislative-speak, that made it a leadership issue.
Amendment opponents argued it’s too prescriptive: children’s problems may exceed the level of care that can be offered, or the client mix at the facility may put some residents in danger.
The bill is at passage stage on Thursday. While its route to passage has been hard-fought, Department of Health and Human Resources officials have been careful to say DHHR is proceeding with moving foster care to managed care and doesn’t need legislation to do so.
Nursing board modernization bill passes House
House members approved Engrossed Committee Substitute for HB 2407. The bill cleans up the Nurse Practice Act, which has seen major amendments during the last several sessions. It renames the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses the West Virginia Board of Registered Nurses, effective July 01, 2019. It contains provisions for appointment of four new board members when the legislation becomes effective and delineates how appointments are to be made as current board appointments expire.
While professional organizations are allowed to suggest appointments to the board, the governor is not required to accept those suggestions. Requirements for board members to have a nursing education background are removed, in line with last year’s bill wresting control of nursing education programs from the board.
Bill requires sweep of licensing board funds
House members approved HB 2510, which requires the State Treasurer transfer funds from licensing boards to the general fund when the special fund of any board exceeds twice the board’s budget or $10,000, whichever is greater. (Licensing boards are generally funded by special revenue—funds collected from license fees charged members.)
Sweeping the accounts triggers an investigation by the legislative auditor into the board’s licensing structure.
Tobacco cessation therapy may be offered by pharmacists
House members approved HB 2525, which allows pharmacists to prescribe tobacco cessation products under a standing order from the commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health. The commissioner must consult with the Board of Medicine and the Board of Pharmacy in issuing the order. Pharmacists must be trained before they can issue the prescriptions.
APRNs may provide MAT counseling
Under the provisions of HB 2531, advanced practice nurses with a psychiatric specialty will be able to provide the counseling for an individual receiving medication assisted treatment. The bill passed the House on Wednesday.