MCMS & MedChi Celebrate Legislative Victories, 2019

The 439th Session of the Maryland General Assembly concluded last Monday, April 8. 2,479 bills and resolutions were considered in 2019, and MCMS & MedChi were there to advocate for you, your practice, and our community every step of the way.

SB447/HB471: MedChi & MSEPS Achieve Historic Victory on Optometric Scope of Practice
The Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (MSEPS) and MedChi negotiated a compromise with the Maryland Optometric Association (MOA) to expand the optometric scope of practice. In crafting this compromise, MSEPS and MedChi fought to protect patient safety and ensure that physicians continued to have necessary oversight in the clinical care of patients. With these changes, Maryland remains one of the more restrictive states in the country. MSEPS and MedChi negotiated that no further changes would be permitted to expand the optometric scope of practice for at least seven years. Read more. . .

Other scope of practice victories this session: MCMS & MedChi defeated two bills that would have expanded pharmacists’ scope, and a bill expanding the scope of naturopaths.

Physicians Protecting the Public Health: E-Cigarettes, Tanning Beds, Maternal Health, Lead
MCMS & MedChi supported numerous bills to improve public health at the behest of our members, with much success. Passed bills include:

  • SB356/HB583: Requires the Maternal Mortality Review Program, in consultation with the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, to make recommendations to reduce disparities in the maternal mortality rate, including social and racial determinants of health.
  • HB124/SB299: Prohibits individuals under 18 from using a tanning bed.
  • HB1199: Increases the age for tobacco products and electronic smoking devices to 21.
  • HB1233 & HB1253: Lowered the Maryland blood level threshhold for investigation to parity with CDC standards, and redefines the “elevated level of lead” for the purposes of required lead water testing and remedial measures in schools.

Strengthening Prior Authorization Laws to Protect Continuity of Care & Transparency
HB751 requires carriers to honor prior authorizations from previous entities for at least the initial 30 days of the beneficiary’s prescription drug benefit coverage. The bill also requires this for moves between health plans within the same carrier and when there is a dosage change (excluding opioids). Carriers must now electronically pre-populate forms with certain information and requires that, at least 30 days prior to implementing a prior authorization change, a carrier must provide a beneficiary who is currently taking the drug and all health care providers with notice of the change.

MCMS & MedChi also fought to address the opioid crisis, protect patients from mid-year formulary changes, stabilize the individual health insurance market, and more.

Visit MedChi’s Sine Die Report for more information on the Session’s lobbying efforts!