Which Health Care Regulations Are on the Governor's Agenda for the First Half of 2018?

rules-regulations-articleIn the latest issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin (Vol. 48, No. 9), Governor Wolf's office released its regulatory agenda for the first half of 2018. All agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor are required semi-annually to publish an agenda of regulations under development or consideration. 

A few of the items on the Governor's agenda, which are particularly relevant to Pennsylvania physicians, are discussed below.

Temporary Medical Marijuana Regulations (Department of Health): In July of 2017, the Department of Health (DOH) released temporary regulations for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. These temporary regulations included provisions concerning: safe harbor letters, grower/processors, dispensaries, approved laboratories, and practitioners. DOH will publish temporary regulations periodically through April 2018. The technical changes to current temporary regulations will be published by June of 2018.

Health Facilities and Hospitals/Long Term Care Facilities Updates (Department of Health): DOH plans to update regulations regarding hospitals and long-term care facilities. The hospital regulations have not been extensively updated since their promulgation in 1982.These updates will reflect the recommendations of two Secretary of Health commissioned task forces to review regulations governing the aforementioned facilities. Updates to the health facilities and hospital as well as the long-term care facility regulations are currently slated to be published by August 2018.

Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases Revisions (Department of Health): DOH will update its reportable disease regulations (28 Pa. Code, Chapter 27) to include: additional and emerging diseases, new laboratory tests, and changes to exclusion policies for individuals with evidence of disease. Changes will allow for alignment with national standards and improve disease surveillance, investigation and response efforts. Specifically, these regulations will be revised to include: the reporting of all HIV CD4 counts and viral load results by providers and laboratories to provide improved surveillance, detection and treatment of HIV disease in line with national standards.

Prescribing Rules (State Board of Osteopathic Medicine): The State Board of Osteopathic Medicine plans to propose rules setting forth the minimum acceptable standards of practice that an osteopathic physician or physician assistant licensed by the Board must follow when prescribing, administering, or dispensing drugs.

Compounding Practices Regulations (State Board of Pharmacy): In March of 2017, the State Board of Pharmacy published proposed regulations on pharmacy compounding. PAMED submitted comments on these regulations focused on whether these regulations will apply to physicians who compound drugs in an office setting. The State Board of Pharmacy has reviewed comments and input from interested stakeholders and will publish revised regulations sometime this year.

Anesthesia Regulations (State Board of Dentistry): The State Board of Dentistry will publish proposed regulations updating the standards for administration of general anesthesia, deep sedation, moderate sedation, minimal sedation and nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia in dental offices to conform to and adopt the current standards used by the dental profession.

A full listing of the Governor's regulatory agenda, including agency contacts, can be found here. Agency contacts can be contacted for more information regarding regulations and the procedure for submitting comments.

For a comprehensive list of regulatory items that PAMED is tracking, please visit PAMED's Regulatory Update.

PAMED will continue to monitor the promulgation of new regulations, comment on proposed rules and regulations on behalf of PAMED members and share all updates with PAMED members.

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