HCFA has a full plate of legislative proposals for the upcoming session. Last week we highlighted bills from ACT!!, our health reform coalition, and Massachusetts Prescription Reform Coalition. Two more coalition bills are summarized in this post.
CHAC, the Children’s Health Access Coalition, is sponsoring three bills to improve children’s coverage in Massachusetts:
- An Act Improving the Children’s Medical Security Program and Simplifying the Administration Process, sponsored by Senator Katherine Clark and Representative Liz Malia. This bill allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to administer the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP), bringing it in line with other state health programs and improving care and administration.
- An Act Regarding Continuity of Care for Children and Their Eligible Parents, sponsored by Senator James B. Eldridge and Representative Ellen Story. This bill proposes continuity of coverage for both children and families and advises the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to seek with the federal government an amendment to provide 12-month continuous eligibility under MassHealth for children and their eligible parents. The federal government currently allows states to establish 12-month continuous eligibility for children under Medicaid and CHIP.
- An Act Ensuring Access to Health Care for Children and Young Adults, sponsored by Senator Thomas M. McGee and Representative Kay Khan, bill expands MassHealth eligibility to cover youth through age 20. Extending MassHealth coverage through age 20 provides continuity of care for low income young people during a life transition period and the cost of expansion would fall largely on the federal government, not Massachusetts.
The Consumer Health Quality Council is advocating for 4 bills that seek to improve quality of care and patient safety:
- An Act to Improve the Delivery of Healthcare through the use of Checklists, sponsored by Senator Richard Moore and Representative Provost. This bill would require hospitals to implement checklists that are approved by the Department of Public Health. Checklists are simple tools that have been shown to decrease medical errors and infections.
- An Act to Investigate the Use of Computer Tomography (CT) Scans in the Commonwealth, sponsored by Representative Kulik. This bill would require an already existing Advisory Council on Radiation Protection to look at the health risks to children and adults from CT scans and recommend how to track and reduce lifetime risk.
- An Act Promoting Patient Engagement in Health Care Decisions, sponsored by Senator Chandler and Representative Khan. This bill would require DPH, with the assistance of an advisory committee, to develop a plan for the use of Shared Decision-Making in Massachusetts. It would also require insurers to reimburse providers for the use of decision-making tools.
- An Act Relative to Adverse Event Management, sponsored by Representative Sannicandro. This bill allows providers to apologize following an adverse medical event and the statement of apology could not be used in a court of law. The bill also requires hospitals to develop Adverse Event Management Plans with the guidance of DPH.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to cosponsor these bills.
-Dayanne Leal and Deborah Wachenheim