Legislative Initiatives

Some of the SCMA’s 2020 Legislative Initiatives:

Vaccinations

The SCMA is working on several fronts to make current South Carolina law stronger with regards to vaccines and debunk the myths surrounding vaccines.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) introduced legislation in the House and Senate (H.4278 and S.563) to remove the definition of “supervision” and provide nurse anesthetists independent practice with no oversight by a physician. The SCMA opposes removing oversight from CRNAs.  An anesthesiologist or the surgeon is always available when a CRNA is utilized, so there is no access gap for anesthesia care argument.  Also, CRNAs do not have the extensive medical education physicians have and are not as qualified to assist when complications arise.  The SCMA opposes the CRNA’s attempt to legislate a nurse anesthetist’s education to equate with that of an anesthesiologist.

Certificate of Need (CON)

House Bill (H. 3823) was introduced in 2019 to repeal CON in South Carolina.  The SCMA supports the repeal of CON to open competition among everyone.  CON programs are aimed at ensuring that a new hospital or nursing home is necessary, and the programs require state authorities to determine whether the local demand is sufficient to allow for the new construction.  Many hospitals are in favor of CON, arguing that hospitals are subject to the Emergency Medical Treatment of Indigent People law (“EMTALA”).   Fearful that smaller physician groups could pick off profitable operations, hospitals fight to keep CON.  

However, CON is a regulatory barrier that puts the government in charge of where a consumer can choose to receive healthcare services.  The program is exploited by existing providers to delay entry or expansion by competitors in the market Further, CON is time-consuming, when 90% of applications are ultimately approved. Further, CON does not protect rural hospitals; rural hospitals in South Carolina are closing despite CON. 

E-Cigarettes and Vaping

The SCMA has several policies addressing concerns with e-cigarettes and vaping and believes there is a need to educate the population on e-cigarettes and vaping. The SCMA is committed to not only educating the general assembly but the public as well.

Medical Marijuana

The Compassionate Care Act (“CCA”) would allow the use of marijuana by recommended by a physician.  There are currently 2 bills, House Bill (H.3660) and Senate Bill (S.366).  The SCMA opposes the CCA as adequate research does not exist to treat marijuana as medicine or justify the use of marijuana as a potential treatment.   Providing a pathway to marijuana through physicians only opens up liability for physicians.   The SCMA opposes legislation that makes physicians responsible for prescribing a drug that has not been vetted and approved by the Federal Drug Administration. 

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (“Compact”)

The Compact, House Bill (H. 3101) gives control of state licensing of physicians to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), a nongovernmental group.  By joining the Compact, South Carolina cedes licensing eligibility to a Commission created by the FSMB. The Commission is responsible for maintaining the eligibility for all Compact states, and charged with mainstreaming the eligibility so that physicians may apply for licenses in multiple states at one time with one application.  In order to empower the Commission to make changes as needed in the future, the process skips state legislation, providing that the Commission can change the eligibility rules and the South Carolina legislature has no role in approving or disagreeing with future changes. With other compacts, such as the nursing compact, changes must be voted on by a states’ legislative body and accepted by that state before licensees can be subject to the new rules.  In contrast, the Compact ousts South Carolina from the decision-making process.

 

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