Legislation of Interest to Physicians

As the legislative session moves into its waning days, the focus is more keenly on the biennial state budget. A singular focus on the budget may make movement on many other bills slow at best. KMA continues to encourage members to reach out to legislators on our priority bills so they will be among the first bills to receive action after budget negotiations are over.

Here are KMA’s priority bills and their current status:

  • Senate Bill (SB) 6, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, MD, (R-Winchester), would create medical review panels for use in medical malpractice cases. The bill did not pass.
  • SB 17, sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, would ensure physicians’ licenses are not contingent upon initial board certification or recertification. The Senate and House both unanimously passed the bill. It has been signed by the governor.
  • SB 18, sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, would change current law and require insurers to follow a new set of policies before changing an existing agreement with a provider. Passed by House and Senate; became law without governor’s signature.
  • House Bill (HB) 351, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom (D-Lexington), would prohibit indoor smoking in businesses, places of employment and other public places across the Commonwealth.

While KMA has targeted specific priority issues, we are also monitoring and speaking on behalf of physicians on other health care-related legislation.

Among those bills of interest to physicians are these:

Tanning for Teens

House Bill 196, sponsored by Rep. David Watkins, MD, (D-Henderson), and Senate Bill 108, sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Paducah), would prohibit anyone under age 18 from using a tanning device at a tanning facility but would provide an exemption for medical use. HB 196 was approved by the House on a 55-37 vote; the Senate did not act on the bill.

Other Bills of Interest

  • HB 20, sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis (R-Elizabethtown), would require a mammogram service provider to provide information about breast density to patients.
  • HB 95, sponsored by Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville), would require the Department for Medicaid Services to submit a waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide coverage for home telemonitoring services and direct-to-patient telehealth services. It was signed by the governor.
  • HB 115, sponsored by Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville), would include eligible underinsured people into the colon cancer screening program. It was passed unanimously by the Senate Friday and has been enrolled and signed by leaders in both chambers. It became law without the governor’s signature.
  • HB 217, sponsored by Rep. Mike Denham (D-Maysville), would require an official to remove a student athlete from play if that student was previously removed from play because of a possible concussion and the official suspects the required medical evaluation was not performed. The bill passed the House 96-0 and was reported favorably by the Senate Education Committee. The full Senate did not consider the bill.
  • HB 282, sponsored by Rep. Linda Belcher (D-Shepherdsville), would limit the ability of providers who opt out of Medicare to charge Medicare beneficiaries the standard fees Medicare rules currently allow.
  • HB 299, sponsored by Rep. David Watkins, MD, (D-Henderson) would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco and other nicotine products, including vapor products, to 21. It is similar to legislation filed in at least three other states — California, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — this year.
  • HB 330, sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner (R-Burlington), would require insurers to provide coverage for abuse deterrent opioids. It was passed by the House on a 94-1 vote; was reported favorably by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.  The full Senate did not act on the vote.
  • HB 489, sponsored by Rep. Bob DeWeese (R-Louisville), would add the physician pronouncing death to the list of those providers who may complete a death certificate. It has been signed by the governor.
  • HB 519, sponsored by Rep. Jim Wayne (D-Louisville), would establish a process to designate a lay caregiver to be contacted and provided with instructions upon a patient’s discharge from a hospital. It passed the House on a 94-0 vote; the Senate did not act.
  • HB 578, sponsored by Rep. Russell Webber (R-Shepherdsville), would provide for licensure and administrative regulation of midwifery through a new Kentucky Board of Midwifery.
  • SB 19, sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, would stipulate that appointees for the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure would come from names submitted by the Kentucky Medical Association. It was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor.
  • SB 20 sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, establishes an appeals process for denied Medicaid claims within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. It was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor.
  • SB 31, sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, would prohibit a doctor’s expression of sympathy, compassion or benevolence from being used as evidence in medical malpractice cases. The Senate passed the bill 29-9; the House did not act on the legislation.
  • SB 67, sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, would allow an athletic trainer to seek reimbursement for services within his or her scope of practice only if the services were prescribed by a physician.
  • SB 82, sponsored by Sen. Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville), would establish a framework for licensure of genetic counselors.
  • SB 85, sponsored by Sen. Tom Buford (R-Nicholasville), would create the Kentucky Board of Midwifery and provide for the licensure and administrative regulation of midwives.
  • SB 134, sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, would update the Kentucky Pharmacy Practice Act to allow Kentucky pharmacists the ability to dispense less expensive biologic medications to patients, by allowing substitution with an interchangeable biosimilar as long as the pharmacist communicates the substitution to the prescriber within five (5) days. Physicians in Kentucky will retain the authority to use “Do Not Substitute” or DNS. It has been passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the governor.
  • SB 154, sponsored by Sen. Buford, changes a requirement that supervising physicians review and sign off on 10 percent of overall medical notes written by PAs under their supervision. With this change, physicians, practices and institutions would outline and determine the parameters for medical notes for which they will countersign. It was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor.
  • SB 291, sponsored by Sen. Adams and co-sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, would require insurance coverage for smoking cessation counseling and all FDA-approved cessation medications in order to help people quit smoking.
  • SB 304, sponsored by Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville), would establish an Implementation Task Force on the Palliative and Hospice Use of Medical Marijuana to explore the possibility of allowing medical marijuana in limited circumstances. The implementation task force would be charged with researching and hearing testimony about the use of medical marijuana for patients receiving hospice and palliative care.