Scope of Practice Bill Heard Before Joint Committee of State Administration & Regulatory Oversight
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
'SCOPE OF PRACTICE' BILL
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON,
DEC. 30, 2014.....A top House lawmaker is pushing for a bill she says will help
in cutting health care costs and increasing transparency.
A bill proposed by Rep.
Patricia Haddad, a Somerset Democrat and the speaker pro tempore, would set up a
new vetting process for legislation that would propose to alter health care
providers' "scopes of practice," or direct them to provide certain health
The bill (H 4561) aims
to reform the current committee process for reviewing bills by tasking the
Health Policy Commission, an independent body that analyzes the health care
market, with reviewing legislative proposals and providing guidance to the
Legislature. The proposed process is similar to how the Center for Health
Information and Analysis reviews and makes recommendations on legislation
concerning mandated health insurance benefits.
Haddad, who testified
in favor of the bill at a Joint Committee of State Administration and Regulatory
Oversight hearing on Tuesday, said "scope of practice" bills should be vetted by
professionals like those on the Health Policy Commission.
representing the Massachusetts Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the
Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, also testified in support of the
bill, and the Massachusetts Podiatric Medical Society gave supportive
Susan Walsh, president
of the podiatric group, said the current legislative process for passing "scope
of practice" bills tends to be "impacted by issues that have little to do with
the merit of a particular proposal."
House Minority Leader
Bradley Jones (R-North Reading), a co-sponsor of the bill, urged the committee
to approve the bill. "This legislation increases transparency in the process of
adopting a scope of practice proposal," he wrote in a Dec. 29
Only a week remains in
the current Legislative session for the bill to pass both the House and Senate
and be signed by the governor.
No opposition was
voiced during the brief hearing, though the Massachusetts Society of Eye
Physicians and Surgeons submitted a letter saying the bill "appears to violate
legislative lawmaking by allowing a non-elected state Commission to essentially
establish the laws of the Commonwealth."
"While we recognize the
value of having an independent agency review and make recommendations on scope
of practice legislation, we strongly oppose the legislation as drafted and would
welcome the opportunity to work with the Committee on language that balances the
need for both independent review of scope of practice legislation and
legislative due process," the society wrote.
Rick Gulla, a spokesman
for the Massachusetts Medical Society, the state wide association for physicians
and medical students, told the News Service in an email that the group has not
yet taken a position on the bill and is studying it "in
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