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January Assembly Health Committee Update

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported eight bills on January 29, including legislation to protect patients in the event of denials of insurance coverage and to improve patient handling standards in hospitals and nursing homes.  Six of these bills have since passed the full Assembly.

For more information on a particular bill, please contact the sponsor listed after the description.  For the text of a bill, supporting memorandum, and information on its status, go to: 

Tuesday, January 29

Flavored Tobacco Product Restrictions – Helps to decrease the use of tobacco products among children by prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, with limited exceptions.  (A1179, Paulin)

Breast Cancer Mapping – Authorizes the Health Research Science Board to fund mapping of occurrences of breast cancer.  (A1935, Englebright, passed Assembly on February 4)

Adult Homes; telling residents when a temporary facility operator is appointed – Requires adult homes, enriched housing programs, and assisted living programs to provide written notice to residents in the event that a temporary operator has been appointed.  A temporary operator is appointed when the Health Department finds serious problems in the operation of the facility. (A2446, Robinson, passed Assembly on February 4)

Domestic Violence Victims – Establishes procedures for hospitals and emergency rooms to properly identify and assist victims of domestic violence.  (A2562, Lavine, passed Assembly on April 22)

Food Allergy Awareness – Requires the Department of Health to establish educational materials and programs about food allergens for public eating establishments, with authority for regulations on disclosure and posting.  (A2574, Ortiz, passed Assembly on March 5)

Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes – Nursing home residents may sue if they are abused or injured.  This bill clarifies that a resident’s legal representative or estate can also sue.  (A2687, Gottfried, passed Assembly on February 4)

Clinical Trial Access & Education Fund – Promotes access to clinical trials by creating a state grant program to help pay for travel and lodging for patients and family members.  (A2688, Gottfried)

Creating Fair Insurance Practices – Provides that if a health plan fails to act on a patient’s appeal of a denial of coverage for a service, it shall be deemed an approval rather than a disapproval.  (A2691, Gottfried)  Provides that in a health plan internal review of a denial of coverage for a service, the reviewer must be a physician in the specialty involved; this is currently the rule for external appeals.  (A2693, Gottfried, passed Assembly on February 4)