PA-ACP Priority State Advocacy Efforts for 2022

(December 31) The coming year will almost surely see new health care uncertainties, new challenges and needs for physicians and patients alike.  The PA-ACP will continue working to lead medical advocacy on your behalf to improve your daily practice and your patients’ health care.

At the same time, 2022 is also a general election year in Pennsylvania, and the last year of Governor Wolf’s term in office.  Both parties will be pushing party agendas and seeking legislation to influence public support for their efforts to keep or capture the majorities in the state House and Senate and the Governor’s mansion.

Among the priorities PA-ACP has identified for 2022 are the following:

  • Telemedicine – extension of the ability to utilize telehealth visits, and payment parity vis a vis office visits. PA-ACP has been a strong supporter of SB 705, which passed the Senate and is now in the House Insurance Committee.  The Chapter has supported the state mandating coverage of telemedicine since 2016.  Legislation has passed the Senate in each session since then, but has failed to get final passage in the House.
  • Prior Authorization ReformPA-ACP has helped lead a coalition of more than 50 patient advocacy groups and a half dozen medical and hospital organizations to secure passage of prior authorization reform. The current bill (SB 225) will be amended and considered by the State Senate this spring.
  • Responding to legislative initiatives re opioid crisis – example, fentanyl, prescription limitations, substance use disorders. The General Assembly currently has more than 50 active bills that would impact the prescription of controlled substances, use of suboxone, fentanyl, medically assisted treatments and other issues related to opioids.  PA-ACP is monitoring these bills and taking action whenever legislative initiatives could have unintended consequences for physicians, treatment decisions and SUD patients.
  • Establishing pilot project for CRNP independent practice in health shortage areas. In opposing CRNP Independent Practice (SB 25), PA-ACP is supporting creation of a six-year pilot program in federal Health Professional Shortage Areas with a study after five years to evaluate the effort and impact on health care in those areas.  Nurse practitioners have maintained that independent practice would result in improved outcomes in areas where health care practitioner shortages create access issues.
  • Insurance Regulation – PA-ACP worked with legislators to secure introduction and consideration of legislation (HB 681, HB 171) making non-compete clauses illegal. Now seeking amendments to prevent limitations on time and distance.
  • Support for Transparency in Drug Pricing legislation. PA-ACP has long supported this concept, and has testified about support for the issue.  SB 579 would begin the process of addressing soaring prescription drug prices, creating a Pharmaceutical Transparency Review Board tasked with reviewing drug prices and making recommendations for how to address affordability burdens in PA.
  • Defending physicians against court rulings that would overturn current medical malpractice, venue, and joint and several liability laws. PA-ACP has joined in multiple amicus curia briefs on lawsuits where decisions could impact or overturn medical professional liability rules that have been in place for 20 years, including venue, discovery, statutes of limitations and joint and several liability.
  • Opposing expansion of vaccination exemptions, medical freedom legislation. Pennsylvania already has one of the nation’s least restrictive laws governing vaccine exemptions, allowing philosophical and religious exemptions.  Some of these bills would extend beyond the Covid-19 vaccine to children and all vaccines necessary for school entry.  Recent legislative efforts have tried to push those limits even further to include the right to refuse any medical procedure, treatment, injection, vaccine, or prophylactic as a Constitutional right.  PA-ACP will continue to oppose such legislation.