Healthcare Legislative Roundup

Here’s the healthcare legislation approved by the House and Senate the week of May 30 through June 3

June 3, 2011—The Oregon Legislature approved eight bills this week related to healthcare, all of which now proceed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
 
To read the bills, go here.
 
House
 
Senate Bill 238 requires the Oregon Health Authority to conduct a review of its rules related to mental health and addiction providers to determine whether excessive requirements and redundancies can be eliminated, and if the process used to patient data can be streamlined.
 
Senate Bill 201 allows Oregon Health Plan members to change from one prepaid managed care organization to another MCO no more than once during each enrollment period.
 
Senate Bill 204, as reported by The Lund Report, allowed lawmakers to add language from two previously dead bills, including House Bill 3559, which was killed when Republican representatives on the House Health Care Committee voted against seven healthcare bills in a political move.
 
Starting in January, hospital outpatient rates will be reduced using Medicare payment methodologies for the Oregon Health Plan, public employees and school teachers – which together represent nearly 900,000 Oregonians.  
 
“This bill will help us as a state to move toward more effective, cost-efficient healthcare, particularly the healthcare system funded by public dollars,” said Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland), before the House voted 52-7 to approve the legislation yesterday.
 
House Bill 2013 abolishes the Advisory Council for Electrologists, Permanent Color Technicians and Tattoo Artists and transfers those responsibilities to the Oregon Health Licensing Agency.
 
Senate Bill 91 requires health insurers to offer bronze and silver plans in the individual and small group market.
 
Senate
 
House Bill 2371 requires the Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules for entities that give vaccines, requiring them to report to an immunization registry and certify that employees have completed training sessions. See The Lund Report’s coverage here.
 
House Bill 2366 directs the Oregon Health Authority to develop a strategic plan for recruiting primary care providers to Oregon. See The Lund Report’s coverage of this bill here.
 
House Bill 3311 requires the Oregon Health Authority to explore ways to use doulas to improve birth outcomes for women who face a disproportionately greater risk of poor birth outcomes and report back to the legislature next February. See The Lund Report’s coverage of this bill here.
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Comments

The biggest issue currently facing the Medicaid system is the imminent collapse of the Oregon Health Plan. At this very moment, the state is planning on an 11% cut in the capitation rates paid to the Fully Capitated Health Plans, Mental Health Organizations and Dental Health Organizations. The Oregon Health Authority has directed the managed care plans to participate in an emergency and unusual rate setting process to meet the projected Governor's budget numbers, one that is based on a limited time frame (end of July), suspect data set, projected costs, all in order to satisfy the state's legal requirement to certify that the state's rates are "actuarially sound." Instead of using a modified version of the usual rate setting process and reporting to the Governor and the legislature whether the rate cut proposed is actuarially sound, they are asking the plans to help create a set of numbers, with compressed and/or combined rate groups in order for the state to "certify" that it is actuarially sound. Either the rates are sound or they aren't using the normal method of calculating rates. If they aren't then the legislature must meet to determine what other changes must be made to the the benefit plan or do what must be done to fill the revenue gap. This process is moving rapidly forward so unless we want to see the collapse of the current managed care network the general populace and the legislature needs to understand what is being done.