October 15, 2018 Legislation
Congress has passed and sent to President Trump a bill to fight opioid addiction. The Senate passed it 98-1 and the House by a 393-8 vote. The bill has many components but one of the major is a requirement to screen packages for fentanyl. It also sets up a grant program for recovery centers that include housing and job training as well as mental and physical health care. It allows Medicaid to cover patients with substance abuse for 30 days in a mental health facility with over 16 beds. Not all are happy because some want more funding than is in the bill.
New York City has a new law that allows a third gender category to be added to city-issued birth certificates. Anyone can change their birth certificate and a physician's letter is not needed. The city joins the left coast of California , Oregon and Washington to allow this. D.C. allows this on driver's licenses.
The feds have approved the merger of CVS and Aetna. The caveat is that Aetna must sell its Medicare Part D drug business. This is huge as CVS sees about 5 million people per day. Some of them will stay there for their basic medical services and monitoring. Aetna has 22 million members and the amount of data generated by the combo is immense.
President Trump signed legislation to get away from gag clauses. Now pharmacists are free to tell patients when they may save money by paying full price versus using insurance.
The Senate Democrats tried and failed to get rid of the short term health plans that do not have to cover preexisting conditions. The vote was by party line with the exception of Senator Collins who voted with the Democrats as she knew it made no difference. If it passed President Trump would have vetoed it so it would never become law anyway. This was just for the midterms. Top
California hospitals have this coming. They have been dumping patients who are homeless or with mental problems on the street. The legislature passed a law that requires hospitals to develop specific policies for safely diagnosing homeless patients. There are no penalties for violating the law except the wrath of the Department of Public Health and the feds. Local government may pass more stringent laws. I can't understand why the California Hospital Association would be against this plan. They actually lied and said their hospitals do not dump patients where there are cases where this is proven and hospitals have paid fines. Top
DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the
time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers
should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the