Central PA Medicine - Summer 2017 - 20

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Legislative Updates

reached out to our network of practice administrators to learn more about the need for prior
authorization reform and to collect examples
of patients whose care has either been delayed
by this process or potentially put at risk. Staff's
intention is to share these patient vignettes
with the legislature. Other grassroots activities
focused on key legislators are also underway.
At this juncture, the House Bill 1293 has not
been referred to committee. Once that process
has taken place, PAMED will engage in direct
physician contacts with committee members and
begin the process of educating legislators as to
how this process negatively impacts patient care.
Pennsylvania Orders for LifeSustaining Treatment (POLST)

$32.2 billion in spending,

including pledges for increased
investments in education, seniors,
and substance abuse services,
while avoiding new broad-based
tax increases.

PAMED embarked on the POLST initiative
several years ago in cooperation with a broad
coalition of 27 different organizations. While
legislative language was finalized in the summer
of 2016, the decision was made to wait until
2017 to seek legislative sponsors. As planned,
earlier this year PAMED was successful in securing Sen. Gene Yaw and Rep. Bryan Cutler to be
our lead sponsors of our POLST initiative. Rep.
Hickernell, an early advocate of this initiative,
joined Rep. Cutler as a "joint sponsor" in the
house. All three legislators, specifically our lead
sponsors, are well regarded in their respective
caucuses. Senator Yaw, well known as a "thought
leader" within the Senate republican caucus,
was very sensitive to the need to shed light on
Kimball who represented PAMED (all three hosting a monthly telephone conference.
the importance of POLST. Rep. Cutler, also PAMED members). Seventeen senior level
highly regarded, is universally recognized for legislative staffers attended the event.
To date, neither bill has been formally inhis expertise on healthcare related issues and is
troduced as PAMED and the bill sponsors
a member of the House republican leadership
On April 18, Sen. Yaw and Rep. Cutler continue to tweak legislative language. Formal
team as its Majority Whip. Rep. Cutler's held a joint press event to publicly announce introduction is expected in the coming weeks.
interest in POLST largely stems from personal the introduction of their respective pieces of
experience surrounding the death of his parents. legislation (Senate Bill 623 and House Bill
Credentialing
1193). The press event drew a number of
Prior to the formal introduction of POLST legislative co-sponsors and members of our
Working in cooperation with the Hospital and
legislation, PAMED organized a "key legislative coalition to stand behind our sponsors during Health Systems Association (HAP), PAMED
staff" briefing that served as a primer to an the event. Having two strong legislative sponsors was successful in securing the passage of House
issue that was largely unknown in the General clearly demonstrated unity between the two Bill 125 from the House Health Committee.
Assembly. Presenting at the briefing were Drs. legislative bodies.
The legislation was subsequently passed by the
Judy Black (Pennsylvania National POLST
full House on May 24, 2017 (190-0). HB 125
Paradigm Program), Alex Nesbitt (Susquehanna
In an effort to keep all 27 coalition members will now be considered by the Senate, where
Hospice and Palliative Care) and Daniel
up-to-date on the most recent legislative devel- it will continue to face strong opposition from
opments and to provide a means of verbally the entire insurance industry.
exchanging information, PAMED has been
20 Summer 2017 Central PA Medicine


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