Legislative Update - 2019 Recap & Looking Ahead in 2020
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
2019 Recap ...
The MCNP submitted our 4th filing of legislation for full practice authority in January 2019. Referred to as the NP SAVE Bill, (S.1330 / H.1867) An Act to Support Access, Value and Equity in Health Care will remove the requirement for prescriptive oversight and joint promulgation of NP regulations by the Board of Registration in Medicine.
The Senate and House versions of our bill were referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health (JCPH) in March 2019, and on 9/24/19 MCNP presented oral testimony during a public hearing before the Committee. With two 4-member panels of healthcare leaders, nurse practitioner clinicians and physician colleagues, the MCNP highlighted how current licensing restrictions on NP practice negatively impact patients and access to care.
In addition to ongoing grassroots email campaigns with more than 2,400 member emails sent to legislators over the past year, our lobbying team has been meeting regularly with key legislators, and members of our Political Action Committee have been attending fundraisers and fostering relationships with influential legislative leaders.
To increase public awareness, the MCNP ran a coordinated campaign in Massterlist during the week of our JCPH hearing, and the year culminated with an article published in the business section of the Boston Globe on December 27, 2019, which highlighted our legislation. The article, which connected Nurse Practitioner full practice authority to increased access to care for underserved and vulnerable populations, cast our efforts in a favorable light and referenced the inclusion of similar language in the Governor’s omnibus health care bill and the support Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mary Lou Sudders, who noted “It’s fair, it’s right, and it will increase access — which is what the governor’s health care bill is all about- I’ve seen no data to suggest the quality of care offered by nurses is anything other than excellent in other states.”
What lies ahead…
In order for our stand-alone bills to advance in the session, they must be released from the Joint Committee on Public Health. Although we anticipate a favorable release from the JCPH, we do not have a firm sense of when this will take place, but under the deadlines for the session, the committee is required to decide on bills prior to their Joint Rule 10 deadline which for this session is on 02/05/2020.
Once released from the JCPH, we anticipate our bill will be sent to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing (JCHCF). With the recent resignation of Representative Jennifer Benson, the House Chair of the JCHCF, there will be changes in leadership but we do not anticipate this will significantly impact the work of the committee or support for our bill. Due to procedural rules, we will not have a public hearing before this committee, but our lobbying team will continue to meet with members of the JCHCF to garner support and we will plan a coordinated email campaign once the bill has been reassigned.
In the background of our stand-alone bills, the Governor released his Omnibus Healthcare Bill (H. 4134) on 10/18/19 that included a provision for a 2-year transition to Full Practice for NPs. The Governor’s bill will likely be heard before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing later this month, and MCNP will be presenting testimony in support of FPA language. The Governor’s bill is a very large bill and impacts many stakeholders with competing interests. Whether his bill will advance and in what form is questionable, and we anticipate that the House and Senate will be releasing their own health care bills later in the session, likely in late April/May after the FY21 budget is released.
Ultimately, we expect some version of a health care bill will be advanced with the final details to be worked out in a conference committee made up of House and Senate members. Reminiscent of last session, the big challenge will be if this can be done before the end of the formal session on 7/31/2020. The legislature faced significant criticism for not being able to pass health care reform legislation last session, so we are hoping there will be more pressure for them to do so this session, and that the final bill will include language we can support.
Given these dynamics, we fully anticipate the fate of our stand alone bills, and more realistically some version of FPA language in a larger health care bill, will not be decided until the very end of the formal session. The process will be slow, and we will be working until the very end of the session to advance our language and achieve the best possible outcome.
What you can do now …
1. Familiarize yourself with the SAVE Bill and educate your colleagues about the bill and the importance of FPA legislation.
2. Reach out to your legislators and share your story and support of the SAVE Bill. Make it personal so they remember you when we need their help to advance the bill later in the session. (CLICK HERE to find your legislators and send an email.)
3. DONATE to the MCNP Political Action Committee (PAC). The MCNP cannot use membership dues to donate to political campaigns and the PAC is the vehicle by which we can foster relationships with key legislators.
4. RENEW your MCNP membership. We cannot advance our legislation without the support of our lobbying team and your membership dues are vital to fund this work.
5. Encourage your colleagues to become MCNP members.
We wish to thank the members of our lobbying team, former House Speaker Tom Finneran from Finneran Global Strategists, and Matt Irish, Lindsay Toghill and Cayenne Isaksen from O’Neill and Associates; the members of the MCNP Legislative and Political Action Committees; and the members of the MCNP Legislative Steering Committee who continue to lead these efforts.
We will keep you informed of any updates with the Governor’s bill and movement of our NP SAVE Bill and will let you know when your action is needed.
Thank you for your continued engagement and all that you do for our patients and profession.
With your help we can make 2020 the year that Massachusetts joins the ranks of states in the nation where Nurse Practitioners have Full Practice Authority!
The Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners