Thursday, March 10, 2016

State House News: March 10

As usual, this session has been busy in regards to health care. Here are the latest updates:

Telemedicine
The Senate gave third reading to S. 1035 (Sen. Cleary and Hutto) relating to the definition and practice of telemedicine in South Carolina on Thursday of last week.  The bill will now go to the House where it is expected to be assigned to a subcommittee of the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.
 
Birthing Centers
The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Subcommittee I on Health and Environmental Affairs met last week on H. 3851 (Reps. G. M. Smith and Horne) relating to the regulation of birthing centers. After lengthy testimony from individual birth center owners and nurse midwives, the subcommittee adjourned debate on the bill and asked interested parties, including the Department of Health and Environmental Control, to seek a simple solution relating to the regulation of these facilities. It is anticipated that the bill will be back before the subcommittee soon.
 
Health Consent
The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee met this past Tuesday on H. 3999 (Reps. Henderson, G. M. Smith, Ridgeway and Atwater) relating to the priority of persons eligible to make health care decisions for patients who are unable to provide consent.  The committee voted unanimously to move the bill to the House floor.
 
Podiatry Scope of Practice
The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee met this past Tuesday on H. 3143 (Rep. Ryhal) relating to podiatry scope of practice.  The bill will allow certain podiatrists to perform specific procedures above the ankle.  The bill came out of subcommittee with an amendment and an unfavorable report.  There was an additional amendment offered at full committee that would have established an advisory committee of two podiatrists and three orthopedics to review the specific podiatrist requesting to perform this type of surgery.  The advisory committee would have been under the Board of Medical Examiners.  The full committee did not allow the amendment to be discussed or debated during the meeting by a vote of 12-4.  The full committee then voted the bill out to the full House floor by the same 12-4 vote.  We believe the bill in its current form is not complete and inappropriate and that the offered amendment should be considered by the full committee before the full House considers the bill.  We are currently addressing this bill and its issues with members of the full House.  On an interesting note, today the Chair of the House Legislative Ethics Committee sent a letter to all members of the House informing them that they may not receive anything of value in exchange for their vote.  The Ethics letter was written in response to a letter reportedly sent by the Podiatry Society that supposedly included a $2 bill attached to it wherein it asked all members of the House to support H.3143.  If the $2 bill caper is true, then truth really is stranger than fiction.