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KMA Wraps Up Another Successful Legislative Session

The Kentucky State Capitol Building On A Sunny Day In Frankfort, Kentucky.

KMA Wraps Up Another Successful Legislative Session

The short session of the 2019 Kentucky General Assembly adjourned Thursday, March 28. Several KMA priority bills passed from both chambers, and the advocacy team was pleased to see these important pieces of legislation signed into law.

KMA member advocacy was particularly crucial to securing passage for our priority bills this session. KMA is recognizing those members who testified in front of legislative committees with its Advocacy in Action page at kyma.org and on social media. A large faction of Lexington Medical Society members also traveled to Frankfort on Feb. 21 for KMA’s Physicians’ Day at the Capitol to advocate for patient care and the practice of medicine. Photos from that event are available here.

A more detailed final legislative report will be available from KMA in the coming weeks.

Legislation Receiving Passage/Still in Play

Prior Authorization

KMA priority Senate Bill 54, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, reported favorably from both chambers and was signed by Gov. Bevin on March 26. The law will address a number of prior authorization issues, including enhancing access to prior authorization information, establishing one-year approvals for chronic disease medications, enhancing the review process, standardizing review times, increasing access to electronic prior authorizations and requiring insurers to post prior authorization procedures on their website and maintain a complete list of services for which prior authorization is required. It will also remove several roadblocks for patients trying to access medications and treatment and allow providers to make decisions regarding care instead of insurance companies.

KMA President Bruce Scott, M.D. traveled to Frankfort several times to testify in favor of this legislation, and numerous calls were made to legislators by KMA physicians in order to see this one across the finish line.

Tobacco-Free Schools

House Bill 11, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, will prohibit use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, by students, school personnel, and visitors in schools, school vehicles, properties, and activities by the 2020-2021 school year. The bill was passed by the Senate on March 28 and sent to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Screening and Genetic Testing

Senate Bill 30, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, also passed favorably from both chambers and was signed by the Governor on March 19. The bill would require health benefit plans to cover any genetic tests for cancer risk that are recommended by certain providers if the recommendation is consistent with specific genetic testing guidelines published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network or any other criteria or guidelines published by national medical societies that are determined to be relevant and reliable by the Kentucky Department of Insurance. This KMA-supported bill would also amend current state law by lowering the age eligible for colorectal cancer examination and testing coverage from 50 to 45.

Medical Licensure Compact

Senate Bill 22, also sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, passed favorably from both chambers and was signed by the Governor on March 25. Due to KMA advocacy, the final language does not contain the unfriendly amendments KMA opposed that were attached at one point by the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives (KCNPNM). The amendments were intended to expand APRN scope of practice by phasing out a requirement for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to have a collaborative agreement (CAPA-CS) with a physician in order to prescribe controlled substances. The final and amendment-free bill language would allow Kentucky to enter the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) and would provide an expedited, multistate licensure procedure for physicians who qualify.

Medical Malpractice

House Bill 429, sponsored by Rep. Chad McCoy, would require plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions to file a certificate of merit simultaneously with the complaint. The certificate would declare that the plaintiff has consulted with at least one (1) qualified expert who has concluded there is reasonable basis to commence the action. The legislation passed both chambers successfully and became law without the Governor’s signature.

Legislation Not Receiving Passage

Prior Authorization for MAT

House Bill 121, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, would have increased access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as well as prohibited commercial insurers, the Department of Medicaid Services, and Medicaid MCOs from setting requirements or using certain utilization reviews, such as prior authorization, for certain prescription drugs used to treat opioid use disorder. KMA will continue advocating for this important legislation during the interim and expects to see it revisited during the 2020 session.

Deceptive Lawsuit Advertising

Likewise, House Bill 225, also sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, did not advance this session. HB225 was designed to regulate advertising for legal services and protect patients from drug-injury advertisements on television, radio and social media. Specifically, the bill would have required advertisements to properly warn patients that it is dangerous to stop taking a prescribed medication before consulting with a physician; prohibited advertisements that solicit legal business from being mis-labeled as a “medical alert,” “health alert,” or “public service announcement;” protected personal health information from being used to solicit legal services without the prior consent of the patient; and prevented the use of governmental logos, such as the FDA’s, in a manner that suggests affiliation with that agency, or use of the word “recall” when a product has not been recalled. HB225 was supported by KMA and a wide variety of health care providers and patient advocates and will likely be seen again in 2020.

Scope of Practice

Successfully defeated this session was Senate Bill 132, which would have expanded the prescriptive authority of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). The bill ultimately died in the Senate Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee without a hearing.

Medical Cannabis

All legislation pertaining to the legalization of medical cannabis was defeated during this session. However, KMA expects this item to be revisited in 2020 and will continue advocating for further research prior to the enactment of any cannabis legislation. KMA’s official policy regarding use of marijuana for medical purposes is available here.