Thursday, May 2, 2013

State House News: April 24 - May 1

Doctors of the Day

Thanks to Bert Knight, MD (Greenville), Ed Evans, MD (Seneca) and John Burrell, MD (Anderson) for their volunteer service at the State House last week!
Physician’s Assistant Bill Passes House, 2nd Reading in Senate

H. 3618 (Crawford, others), an SCMA-supported bill expanding  PAs current practice, while maintaining the physician/PA supervisory relationship, and streamlining the regulatory processes they observe under the Board of Medical Examiners, received 2nd reading in the House last Wednesday by a unanimous vote of 103-0 and received routine 3rd reading, or final passage, on Thursday. The bill is now in the Senate.

Companion bill, S.448 (Alexander) also received 2nd reading in the Senate and is expected to pass to the House next week.
The SCMA will continue working with all stakeholders, including the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants, Board of Medical Examiners, and all physician groups to ensure the bill continues to protect patient safety, as well as upholds the written scope of practice guidelines between the physician and PA.
Telemedicine Bill Passes Senate to House

S. 290 (Cleary), a bill creating the “SC Telemedicine Reimbursement Act” received 2nd reading in the Senate on Tuesday by a unanimous vote of 38-0.  The bill was subsequently passed on Wednesday and sent to the House of Representatives.
The bill’s main goal is to increase patients’ access to care by taking advantage of emerging technology and communications in the growing field of telemedicine. It provides for reimbursement in certain settings and creates an advisory committee to evaluate and review the practice of telemedicine in the state as it relates to insurance, access, and medical effectiveness. 
A hearing in the House LCI Committee is expected.
House Passes “Nullification” Bill

After hours of debate last Thursday evening, the House passed H.3101 (Chumley, R-Spartanburg), formally referred to as the “Freedom of Health Care Protection Act”, a bill that would nullify parts of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), making it illegal for provisions within the Act to be carried out. The bill made the May 1 crossover deadline and will be considered by the Senate.  

While the bill originally sought to nullify ACA, it was amended to affect only state employees and provide tax deductions to individuals or businesses for any federal taxes or penalties imposed for not complying with ACA.  Additionally, the bill was also amended to no longer impose felony and misdemeanor penalties on those who carry out provisions of ACA, and allows the state Attorney General the option to bring action against an entity that attempts to comply with ACA.
The bill is expected to be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for continued debate.
Introductions of Interest

H. 4009 (Jefferson, others) – a joint resolution to create the “Free Health Care Study Committee” to study the extent of medical professionals’ services at free medical clinics. 
Referred to the House 3M Committee.
H. 4024 (K. Crawford, Ridgeway) - enacts the “South Carolina Licensed Midwife Act”, creating licensure for an apprentice, licensed or certified professional midwife under the Board of Medical Examiners and establishes the Licensed Midwife Committee Advisory Committee to the Board; among other things, also defines the extent of care a licensee may provide.  
Referred to House 3M Committee.