The 2013 legislative session is in full swing. Legislators have been officially sworn in, the House elected Representative Brendan Sharkey as the new Speaker of the House and many bills have been already been introduced. The bills that have been introduced are mere shells that await committee approval before being given legislative language. Over the next few weeks Committees will meet to determine which bills to raise and take action on.
With the recent tragedy in Newtown, all eyes are on the legislature to enact some meaningful reform on gun safety, school security and mental health care. A bipartisan task force has already been established to examine public safety and several working groups have also been established. While medicine will make meaningful contributions to the working groups especially those focusing on mental health care there are additional issues that will also be on our agenda.
As groups who oppose medical malpractice reform continue to try and weaken current law, medicine will continue to work toward stronger reform including immunity for physicians providing pro bono work, safe harbors, special health care courts and more. Meaningful medical malpractice reform is key to keeping well qualified physicians in the state. In addition we will once again be working towards increased fairness in contracting with MCOs, modernizing the preauthorization process, new health care mandates and several public health issues such as the use of the tobacco settlement funds, strengthening return to play after a concussion laws, regulating medical spas and more. We will also be waiting to see if the APRNs approach the legislature about removing “collaboration” from their current scope of practice. They attempted to use the scope of practice review process within the Department of Public Health; however DPH did not review their request, so it remains to be seen if they will take their fight to the legislature.
CAFP members will continue to be updated as the session progresses and as issues develop. With this being the longer session, we still have quite a ways to go.