Senate Committee Considers House Health-Related Legislation
November 14, 2017
This week, the Pennsylvania Senate returned to session after briefly breaking following the final passage of state budget legislation. Today, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee resumed business by considering three different legislative proposals.
First on the agenda was House Bill 644, sponsored by Representative Matt Baker (R-Tioga). The legislation amends the Community-Based Health Care Act. Under the 2013 law, the Community-Based Health Care Act placed a cap of 25 percent on the amount of funds allocated under the act that could go to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). This was intended to spur the creation of other health care centers, non-FQHCs, serving a medically underserved population with a patient population below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. This bill removes the 25 percent limit, as FQHCs have been the main applicants for the dollars.
House Bill 1234, sponsored by Representative Florindo Fabrizio (D-Erie), updates the Health Care Facilities Act to reflect the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ guidelines for ambulatory surgical facilities (ASC). It amends the definition of “ambulatory surgical facility” for a procedure to last no more than 24 hours. Currently, regulations limit surgical procedures in an ASC to four hours of operating time and four hours of supervised recovery time.
Finally, House Bill 478, sponsored by Representative Tina Pickett (R-Bradford), was considered and amended by the committee. The underlying bill creates the Outpatient Psychiatric Oversight Act and, for the purpose of supervision, requires an outpatient psychiatric clinic to have a psychiatrist onsite for two hours of psychiatric time per week for each full-time equivalent treatment staff member employed by the clinic. The bill was amended to allow for one of the two hours to be done using telemedicine.
All bills were voted out of committee unanimously and head for consideration by the full chamber.
HAP will continue to monitor the progress of the legislation considered today.
For additional information, please contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy, or Scott Bishop, HAP’s senior vice president, legislative advocacy.