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Bills on the Hill, Part 1: Credentialing, Opioids, and Non-Compete Clauses


By Michael D.I. Siget, JD, MPA, PAMED’s Legislative & Regulatory Counsel


With the new legislative session underway, a flurry of legislative activity has taken place. 

Part 1 of my "Bills on the Hill" will focus on credentialing, abuse deterrent opioids, criminal activity, retaliation and non-compete clauses. Part 2 will focus on electronic prescriptions, the PDMP, official state prescription forms, prescription limitations and CRNPs.

HB 125, introduced by Rep. Matthew Baker, would provide for the use of a Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) credentialing application that physicians and health care providers would be required to use when seeking to become credentialed by a health insurer. 

      Click here to review PAMED's top advocacy priorities for 2017-18.

Provisional credentialing would be granted to eligible applicants if a health insurer failed to issue a credentialing determination within 30 days after receiving the completed form. Any services provided while the practitioner was under provisional status would be covered by the health insurer under the same terms as are applicable to participating health care practitioners in the applicant's provider group.

HB 125 was referred to the House Health Committee for consideration on Jan. 23.

HB 288, introduced by Rep. Doyle Heffley, would require insurance plans in the Commonwealth to provide access to abuse deterrent opioids (ADOs) if the plans provide coverage for at least one opioid analgesic drug product. The bill would also prevent health plans from implementing "step therapy or fail first" policies on these products.

HB 288 was referred to the House Insurance Committee for consideration on Feb. 2.

HB 317, introduced by Rep. Dom Costa, would amend the Medical Practice Act of 1985 to require the State Board of Medicine to permanently revoke the certification of a licensed practitioner for the conviction of an offense related to the theft of a controlled substance. A similar bill also has been introduced by Rep. Costa for Osteopathic physicians, HB 312.  

Both HB 312 and HB 317 were referred to the House Professional Licensure Committee on Feb. 3.

HB 339, introduced by Rep. Anthony DeLuca, would prohibit a health care facility from discriminating or retaliating against physicians and health care providers, staff at medical facilities or any citizen who submits a grievance or complaint to the facility or agency responsible for evaluating or accrediting the facility.

The prohibition would also apply to individuals who initiate, participate or cooperate in an administrative proceeding relating to quality of care, services or conditions at the facility. Where the facility did discriminate or retaliate, the legislation would provide civil and criminal penalties including assessment of a fine and restitution for lost wages, work benefits and the legal cost of having to pursue the claim of retaliation or discrimination. 

In addition, the bill would balance the needs of the health care facility by protecting legitimate peer review activities.

HB 339 was referred to the House Health Committee on Feb. 6.

HB 346, introduced by Rep. Anthony DeLuca, would prohibit the use of non-compete clauses in health care practitioner employment contracts for any contract entered into on or after the date this bill would become law. This bill would prohibit any restriction of the right of the practitioner to practice in a geographic area for a period of time after the termination of the employment relationship and would also prohibit any restriction on a practitioner from treating a prior patient. 

This bill contains an exception for buyout clauses that require a practitioner to reimburse an employer for reasonable expenses incurred in recruiting the practitioner and establishing the practitioner's patient base. However, a buyout clause would be void if it contained a term fixing unreasonably large liquidated damages or if the employer terminated the employment relationship actually or constructively.

HB 346 was referred to the House Health Committee on Feb. 6.

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doctorg

HB346 is a particularly important bill for physicians who may be signing hospital employment contracts. Hospitals often insert outrageous geographic restrictions, especially when various sites of the hospital system may be 50 or miles apart. This would force the physician to not only seek new employment in the event of a contract termination or non-renewal, it also generally requires a complete geographic relocation with the attendant hardship for the physician's family. I hope the Medical society will stand strongly for this bill.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:04:00 PM

msiget

Thank you for your comment. We are monitoring HB 346 closely. A similar bill, HB 788, was recently introduced. We will be following both bills and updating our membership.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:10:09 PM

vmcgeorge

I very much appreciate an update such as this. It helps with things I have been wondering about. HB125 has been a very successful credentialing tool, and is extremely user-friendly; it has reduced the credentialing burden significantly.

Friday, March 17, 2017 8:22:14 AM

msiget

I am glad you enjoy these updates. Look for Part 2 of Bills on the Hill next week, where we will summarize bills regarding e-prescribing, state prescription forms, changes to the PDMP law, and CNP independent practice. For a more extensive look at the bills PAMED is tracking, be sure to check out our legislative tracking tool. A link is provided in this article for PAMED's top advocacy priorities.

Friday, March 17, 2017 9:39:09 AM

colleen

When will the vote for HB 346 be held? I think this is an extremely important bill. The large geographic restrictions for non compete clauses prevent a doctor from earning a living in his/her own field. The Medical Society should strongly support this bill.

Monday, March 20, 2017 2:27:59 PM

msiget

Thank you for your question. At this time, HB 346 is not scheduled for a full House vote, as it is still being considered by the House Health Committee, where a vote has not been scheduled yet either. I would encourage you to use our legislative tracker (the link is in this article regarding PAMED's top legislative priorities). You can follow the progress of this bill as it works its way through the legislature. When there is significant movement on this bill, we will also provide updates.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 1:38:03 PM