Legislation that increases transparency and consumer choice in the prescription drug marketplace is now law. HB 943 (Act 67) ends the long-standing “gag clause” imposed on pharmacists, barring them from informing customers of lower-cost alternatives at the pharmacy counter. Such a prohibition stems from language contained in some pharmacy contracts that disallows pharmacists from disclosing any information to their customers that could potentially reduce their out-of-pocket costs for medications. The bill was signed into law July 23 and becomes effective in 60 days.
On July 23, Gov. Wolf signed HB 672 (Act 65 of 2020) into law repealing provisions related to mental health treatment and release of medical records and adding new language providing for consent for voluntary inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment and for release of medical records. The law enables certain minors to consent to medical, dental and health services, declaring consent unnecessary under certain circumstances. The changes become effective in 60 days.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) reported on July 16, 2020, that it will allow additional Medicaid providers to enroll as an opioid use disorder Center of Excellence (COE). Providers who enroll in the Medicaid program as a COE will be eligible to bill managed care organizations (MCOs) for care management services. DHS will continue to monitor the COE care model to ensure that new providers are meeting the standards. For more information, see related article above on PACHC’s call on this OUD-COE opportunity. Access the DHS Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence Bulletin & Application.
Cerner, an electronic health record software company, launched a cloud-based version of its electronic health record (EHR) with the aim of helping rural and Critical Access Hospitals eliminate
Rural hospitals are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the importance of having adequate broadband to enable access to telehealth. As telehealth becomes more popular, broadband becomes increasingly essential. The July 15 Webinar, “COVID-19 Impacts on Rural Healthcare and Broadband,” the fourth webinar in the “From the Farmgate” series of webinars CoBank sponsors, presented speakers covering these issues. These presenters advocate for rural broadband and healthcare stabilization through policy action. In addition, this article highlights a struggling hospital and showcases
The Office for Planning and Evaluation at HHS describes nine programs serving child welfare-involved parents with substance use issues, with a focus on their applicability to rural communities. These programs offered several types of services, including parent mentoring, case management, home visiting, and treatment for opioid use disorders.
Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Tina Smith (D-MN), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) have introduced bipartisan legislation that would waive the Small Business Administration’s (SBA)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released additional
Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and James Lankford (R-OK) discussed the challenges facing rural hospitals in the wake of COVID-19 on the Senate floor. These senators helped s
A unique partnership between the Iowa Medicaid and public health agencies, Iowa’s I-Smile program addresses the disproportionate impact of dental disease on low-income individuals and families. The initiative is supported through cooperative agreement between the National Organizations of State and Local Health Officials and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Read more here.