Healthcare

Senator Friedman has sponsored the following bills relative to healthcare in the 2019-2020 legislative session:

S355 An Act relative to intensive case management for clinically complex older adults

  • Summary: This bill would establish in the Department of Elder Affairs, subject to appropriation, an intensive case management program for older adults with complex care needs such as mental illness, substance misuse, hoarding, dysfunctional families, or dementia. Intensive case management would allow these clinically complex individuals to be supported in transitioning to home care services, or would allow such individuals to remain in their homes.

S587 An Act to establish health equity for pregnant persons

  • Summary: This bill would require that insurance coverage for all medical care related to pregnancy, including c-sections, abortions, and abortion-related care, be provided free of any deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays or other cost-sharing arrangements. The bill would further provide an exemption from covering abortion or abortion-related care at the request of an employer that is a church or qualified church-controlled organization.

S591 An Act relative to long-term care insurance consumer protections

  • Summary: This bill would create a cap on lifetime rate increases for long-term care insurance of 20%, protecting consumers from sudden unexpected and sizeable increases in premiums. It would also mandate a higher loss ratio ranging from 80% to 90%, ensuring that a greater percentage of premiums are spent on claims. Currently, loss ratios are around 60% for these policies. The Attorney General’s office in 2017 made similar recommendations in testimony submitted to the Division of Insurance, but so far the Division has not adopted regulations to effectuate these recommendations.

S592 An Act relative to consumer transparency about provider networks

  • Summary: This bill would require insurance carriers to provide accessible, up-to-date lists of in-network healthcare providers, including those providing behavioral health services. It would also mandate specific provider reporting and updating requirements for insurance carriers that would apply equally to behavioral health and physical health provider information. In addition, it would place requirements on carriers to provide a point of contact for any members or prospective members who are not able to locate a network provider through the carrier’s directory, to help them find appropriate providers. This bill would also give the Commissioner of Insurance the authority to require an insurance carrier to pay for out-of-network services under circumstances where the Commissioner finds that an insured individual reasonably relied upon inaccurate information regarding network status contained in a carrier’s provider directory.

S686 An Act to protect medically fragile kids

  • Summary: This bill would require the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA), in conjunction with MassHealth, to prepare a biennial report related to patients requiring continuous skilled nursing care, to include information such as the number of pediatric and adult patients requiring such care, the number of hours of such care authorized by MassHealth and the number of hours actually delivered, the number of nurses providing such care, their rate of reimbursement and a comparison of that rate with the rates paid to other nurses. The legislation would require the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), subject to appropriation, to increase the budget for continuous skilled nursing care  with the goal of achieving fulfillment of at least 85% of continuous skilled nursing hours authorized by MassHealth by 2024. This bill would direct the Office of Medicaid to review the wage payment rates established by home health agencies providing continuous skilled nursing care, conduct an analysis and make recommendations on criteria to be included in any future reporting by these agencies.

S1262 An Act requiring pain assessment and management in healthcare facilities

  • Summary: This bill would establish a patient’s right to prompt assessment, management, and treatment of their pain, as well as periodic reassessment and modification of their pain management plan, as necessary.

S1264 An Act relative to preventing cancers caused by human papilloma virus

  • Summary: This bill would require that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine be administered to students as a condition for public school attendance. The bill would direct the Department of Public Health to promulgate the necessary regulations to put this requirement into effect.

S1265 An Act relative to expanding access to preventative HIV screening and testing for minors

  • Summary: This bill would define HIV and AIDS as diseases dangerous to public health and as venereal diseases, ensuring that HIV and AIDS screenings are inscribed in law as infectious diseases for which minors can consent to preventive testing, screening and treatment without parental approval. It would also instruct the Department of Public Health (DPH) to cover the costs of these services and would shield health care providers from liability for not obtaining parental consent.