|DC Legislative Activity|
The Medical Society represents the physicians and patients of the District of Columbia in discussions with the City Council, the DC Departments of Health and Behavioral Health, the DC Boards of Medicine and Pharmacy, plus other members of the medical community. Since the DC Council held its First Legislative Meeting at the beginning of the year, the Medical Society has been reviewing numerous healthcare bills and is working with key stakeholders on multiple fronts. See below for an overview of legislation and see "How a (DC) Bill Becomes a Law" for an overview of DC's policymaking process.
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, the bill directs the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) and the Department of Health (DOH) to issue rules requiring District schools, including private and public charter schools, to adopt and implement policies allowing for the possession and administration of epinephrine injectors. It requires that each District school adopt and implement training policies and procedures for the administration of an epinephrine injector by a school employee, or other person affiliated with a District school, by June 1, 2016. It requires that each District school possess epinephrine injectors, for emergency use during the school day or at a school affiliated event on school property, by August 1, 2016. It also exempts persons rendering emergency epinephrine in District schools from liability.
MSDC ACTION: Monitor/ No Position.
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, the bill mandates that the Department of Health require hospitals and maternity centers to perform congenital heart defect screening, using pulse oximetry, on every newborn born at its facility prior to discharge.
MSDC ACTION: Monitor/ No Position.
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, the bill permits the disclosing of a consumer's mental health information between mental health facilities and health professionals involved in caring for, treating, or rehabilitating the consumer for the purposes of coordinating care or treatment.
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, the bill permits and establishes requirements for surrogacy agreements and other specified collaborative reproduction arrangements. It establishes parental and children's rights between the intended parent and child and clarifies that a surrogate and her spouse or partner do not have any parental rights to the child. It also clarifies that a gamete or embryo donor, or his or her spouse or partner, shall not have any parental rights with respect to the child. It establishes eligibility requirements and procedures for filing a petition for parentage in DC Superior Court. It establishes the requirements for an enforceable surrogacy agreement and the conditions under which such an agreement may be dissolved.
B21-20, Access to Contraceptives Amendment Act of 2015 (Signed with Act Number A21-0091)
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, the bill would require health care insurers to provide coverage for up to 12 months of a covered prescription contraceptive.
FINAL STATUS: This bill has passed into law. See the Signed Act.
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, this bill imposes a limit on the amount that a person must pay, in copayment or coinsurance, through a health benefit plan, for a prescription for a specialty drug. The copayment shall not exceed $150 per month for up to a 30-day supply of the specialty drug. A specialty drug includes a prescription drug prescribed for a condition that may have no known cure, is progressive, or can be debilitating or fatal if left untreated, and affects fewer than 200,000 persons in the United States. It also provides that a health benefit plan or its representative may request that a non-preferred drug be covered under the cost sharing applicable for preferred drugs if the prescribing physician determines that the preferred drug, available for treatment of the same condition, either would not be as effective for the individual or would have adverse effects for the individual. Non-preferred drugs are specialty drug formulary classifications that are subject to limits on eligibility for coverage or subject to higher cost-sharing amounts than preferred specialty drugs.
B21-38, Death with Dignity Act of 2015
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, this bill establishes procedures and safeguards regarding the request for and dispensation of covered medications to qualified patients who are terminally ill and wish to die in a humane and dignified manner. The bill establishes dispensation and reporting requirements for physicians and the Department of Health. The legislation also defines its effect on contracts, wills, insurance and annuity policies and requires that they not be conditioned upon or affected by the making or rescinding of a request for medication or by a patient ingesting covered medication. It establishes terms for immunity from criminal and civil liabilities, establishes penalties and provides an opt-out provision for health care providers. It also provides for claims by the government for costs incurred from a patient terminating his or her life pursuant to the legislation in a public place.
MSDC ACTION: The Board found that physician-assisted suicide and end-of-life care are complex issues with no clear consensus. The Board recognized the AMA position on physician-assisted suicide. The Board took no position on the bill.
B21-125, Clinical Right to Try Act of 2015
B21-129, Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2015
BILL SUMMARY: As introduced, this bill requires each hospital in the District to establish a nurse staffing committee (Committee) to develop a hospital-wide staffing plan. This staffing plan shall require that an appropriate number of registered nurses provide direct patient care in each unit of the hospital. The Committee shall among other things be responsible for monitoring and evaluation of the staffing plan. The bill also establishes reporting and record keeping requirements of staffing information for hospitals; provides refusal rights for nurses, whistleblower protections and private rights of action for hospital employees and patients.
MSDC ACTION: Monitor. Read MSDC's letter on legislation from the prior Council period.
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, this bill requires that acute care hospitals, special hospitals, or psychiatric hospitals submit a staffing plan to the Department of Health within one year of the effective date. It requires these medical facilities to establish and implement an acuity system to determine the level of nurse staffing necessary. Acuity staffing models determine a shift's staffing needs based on the complexity of the patients' level of care. The legislation requires that the Department of Health set minimum levels of nurse staffing and registered nurse staff ratios for schools. Among other things, this bill also provides an enforcement mechanism; whistleblower and patient protection rights and private causes of action; for efforts by UDC-CC to increase the number of nursing graduates and seek funding to develop nurse training opportunities.
STATUS: Committee Report was filed on July 13, 2015. The bill remains under Council Review.
BILL SUMMARY - As introduced, this bill amends District law to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to those under 21 years of age. Presently, the law prohibits the sale of cigarettes to those under 18 years of age
B21-168, LGBTQ Cultural Competency Continuing Education Amendment Act of 2015 (Official Law Went Into Effect April 6, 2016)
MSDC ACTION: Oppose. Read MSDC's letter opposing content-specific CME.
B21-171, Health Care Decisions Act of 2015 (Official Law Went into Effect February 27, 2016)
MSDC ACTION: Support. MSDC submitted a letter of support for the public record.
BILL SUMMARY: As introduced, this bill clarifies that pharmacists may dispense certain contraceptives, including self-administered hormonal contraceptives pursuant to established protocols. It also requires health benefit plans and health insurers offering coverage for prescription drugs and coverage through Medicaid to cover self-administered hormonal contraceptives dispensed by a pharmacist.
MSDC POSITION ON PAST DC LEGISLATION
B18-622, Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act (Official Law went into effect July 27, 2010.)
Feel free to contact the Medical Society at 202-466-1800 with questions or comments about these or other topics.