AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: March 6, 2018

Legislative Session Update

Good news.  Last week SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women was passed by the Senate (27 – 3).  This Bill would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members. It has moved on to the House and is assigned to the House Health Committee (which gave as similar bill a pass recommendation last year).  Because it involves money its also assigned to the House Appropriations Committee.  The benefit would be limited to $1000/year.  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

There was more good news with the passage of SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match by the Senate (25 – 5).  It’s assigned to House Health and Appropriation Committees too.  This good Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  

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Committee Highlights this Week

 

Senate Health and Human Services Committee- 2 pm Wednesday March 7

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

This Bill is a top priority for us. It asks the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers. The rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements.  The good news is that it’s being heard this week (Wednesday afternoon) in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

The members of the committee are Nancy Barto, Katie Hobbs, David Bradley, Kate Brophy McGee, Kimberly Yee,  Judy Burges, and Rick Gray.  Please contact these members today and let them know you support voluntary registration of community health workers.  You can also sign in using the RTS system.  Here’s some sample language to use:

“Thank you for hearing HB2324 (community health worker voluntary certification) in your HHS Committee next week. Community health workers establish and maintain trust, enabling them to serve as a liaison between health/social services and facilitating access to services and work to provide high quality and culturally competent service delivery- important tools to reduce costs and improve outcomes- especially for chronic diseases like diabetes.

Voluntary certification is an important next step in better using the CHW workforce in AZ's managed care healthcare system.  While many providers currently employ and contract with CHWs, voluntary certification will provide an additional level of assurance that voluntarily certified CHWs meet a set of core competency requirements- allowing AZs provider network to elect to use this workforce to improve outcomes and reduce costs.”

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

This bill will also be heard in Senate Health and Human Services Bill Wednesday afternoon.  It would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  Over the long-term this bill would be helpful in providing better data with which to improve the distribution and capacity of the public health workforce in Arizona.

 

Senate Government Committee - 2 pm Wednesday March 7

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

This important bill will also be heard Wednesday afternoon in the Senate Government Committee. It would decriminalize needle exchange programs.  It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users. Under this bill, persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law couldn't be charged or prosecuted for their activities. We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. 

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The following public health related bills passed their committee of origin and have gone over to the other chamber. Some have been assigned to committees in the new chamber, but some haven't yet.  Where available, I've listed the committee assignments in the detail section below.  We’re keeping track of the hearing dates and times.

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use      

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement (we’re against this one)

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability (tribes)

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

HB 2389 Syringe access programs; authorization

SB 1022 ADHS; homemade food products            

SB 1083 Schools; recess periods

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

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Remember to stay engaged and voice your opinion via the www.azleg.gov commenting system.  Click the following links for: Request to Speak account registration form; a Step-by-step use of the Request to Speak platform; and to Locate your Elected Officials 

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House Bills

HB 2038 Drug overdose review teams; records                

Passed the House 57-0-2

Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Under this proposed Bill, law enforcement agencies would be required to provide unredacted reports to the chairperson of a local Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team on request.  All information and records acquired by a Team are confidential and not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding or disciplinary action.  We’re signed up in support of this one of course.

 

HB 2071 Rear-facing car seats         

Passed House 33-25-1

Assigned to HHS & Commerce and Public Safety Committees 

This Bill would require kids under 2 years old to be in a rear-facing restraint system unless the child weights at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill.  Dual assigned in the Senate.

 

HB 2084 Indoor tanning; minors; restricted use

Passed House 45 - 15

Assigned to Senate HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

Tanning facility operators would be prohibited from allowing a person under 18 years of age to use a "tanning device". Tanning facilities couldn’t advertise or distribute materials that claim that using a tanning device is free from risk or will result in medical or health benefits. We’ve signed on in support of this of course. Bummer that it's dual assigned in the Senate.

 

HB 2127 Children's health insurance program

Passed House 46-12-1

Assigned to HHS & Appropriations Committees

This removes the trigger that automatically freezes the KidsCare program if FMAP (the federal contribution) drops below 100%.  It allows the state to freeze it if costs are more than the state or federal allotment. The bill does not require the state to appropriate any money for a state share.  We’ve signed up in support of this bill because it provides a pathway to keep KidsCare if the federal government drops its contribution level. 

 

HB 2197 Health professions, workforce data

Passed House 60 – 0

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This would require AZ health licensing boards to collect certain data from applicants (beginning January 2020) to get better data about health professions workforce distribution and needs.  The data would be confidential.  

 

HB 2208 Prohibition, photo enforcement

Passed the House 31-27-1

Assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee

This one would prohibit cities and other jurisdictions from having photo enforcement of red light and speeding violations.  While nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail, the data suggest that photo enforcement saves lives and prevents injuries (especially red-light photo enforcement).  We’ve signed up in opposition to the bill.  This bill passed the House 31-27 last week and is moving on to the Senate Transportation Committee.

 

HB 2228 Annual waiver, applicability

Passed the House 58-0-1

Assigned to Senate HHS Committee

This would direct AHCCCS to exempt tribes from their directed waiver requests to CMS asking permission to implement work requirements for some Medicaid members.  The recently submitted Waiver request includes an exemption for American Indians, however, this would place the exemption into statute.

 

HB 2324 Community health workers; voluntary certification

Passed House 56 – 1 - 3

Assigned to HHS and Commerce & Public Safety Committees

This is a top priority for us. It would charge the ADHS with developing a voluntary certification program for community health workers.  The Department rulemaking would include certification standards including qualifications, core competencies, and continuing education requirements. We’ve signed up in support of this bill.

Members of the committee are Nancy Barto, David Bradley, Kate Brophy McGee, Judy Burges, Rick Gray, Katie Hobbs, and Kimberly Yee.  You can contact these members directly by email (here is the list) and you can also sign in using the RTS system.

 

HB 2389  Syringe access programs; authorization

Passed House 56 – 0 - 4

Assigned to the Senate Government Committee

This important bill will also be heard Wednesday afternoon in the Senate Government Committee. It would decriminalize needle exchange programs.  It’s currently a felony to distribute needles to illegal drug users. Persons, employees and volunteers operating within the scope of the law can’t be charged or prosecuted for their activities. We’ve signed up in support of this bill because this type of program is evidence-based and reduces the spread of bloodborne diseases as well as engaging in intravenous drug users into treatment. 

 

Senate Bills

SB 1022    DHS; homemade food products            

Passed Senate 30-0

Assigned to House Health Committee

ADHS would be required to establish an online registry of food preparers that are authorized to prepare "cottage food products" for commercial purposes. Registered food preparers would be required to renew the registration every three years. This is a sensible addition to the current cottage industry food law and we’ve signed up in support. Being heard in the House Health Committee this week (Thursday).  Should have no problems at all.

 

SB 1083    Schools; recess periods

Passed Senate 26-3-1

Assigned to and Passed House Education Committee 9-0 on Monday

District and charter schools would be required to provide at least 2 recess periods during the school day for pupils in grades K-5 if this passes.  We’ve signed in support of this bill because there is good evidence that opportunities for physical activity at school are associated with improved health, behavior, and academic achievement of students.  Here is a good evidence review from the CDC entitled The Association Between School-based Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Great couple of weeks for this bill.

 

SB 1245 Snap Benefit Match

Passed Senate 25 - 5

Assigned to House Health and Appropriation Committees

This Bill would appropriate $400K to ADES to develop the infrastructure for a produce incentive program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for members to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables.  It would also provide matching funds to SNAP-authorized vendors as an incentive to participate in the fruits and vegetable program.  It passed the Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee. We’ve signed up in support of this Bill. Being heard in Senate HHS Wednesday.

 

SB 1261 Texting while driving

Passed Transportation Committee- Ready for a Senate Floor Vote

This would prohibit drivers from “using a portable wireless communication device to read, write, or send an electronic message while driving” (unless the car is stopped).  The first violation would be a petty offense with a fine between $25 and $99.  It has passed its committees and is ready for a floor vote, which hasn’t happened yet.  Not a good sign.

 

SB 1377 Dental therapy, licensure, regulation

Passed Senate 22 – 8

Assigned to House Health Committee

This would set up a new licensed class of dental professionals called a Dental Therapist. Their scope of practice would be somewhat less than a DDS, but they could do some procedures like filling cavities. This has been a somewhat controversial bill as there are stakeholders of both sides that are quite passionate about their position on this Bill. 

 

SB 1394 Abortion reporting

Passed Senate 17 - 13

Assigned to the Judiciary and Federalism, Property Rights & Public Policy Committees

This one would require the ADHS to collect and report additional data regarding abortions that are performed in AZ. The data would be collected and reported by providers and would include the reason for the abortion (economic, emotional health, physical health, whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or relationship issues etc.).

 

SB 1420 medical marijuana; inspection; testing; appropriation

Passed Senate 27 – 3

Assigned to House Military, Veteran and Regulatory Affairs Committee

This would require the ADHS to set up testing standards for medical marijuana and begin enforcing the standards beginning in 2019.  We’re supporting this legislation.  It passed the full Senate last week.

 

SB 1445 AHCCCS Dental care, pregnant women

Passed Senate

Assigned to House Health & Appropriations Committees

This is a priority Bill for AzPHA.  It would provide oral health coverage for pregnant Medicaid members.  The benefit would be limited to $1000 and could be used for other than emergency dental procedures (beginning October 1, 2017 all adult Medicaid members became eligible for up to $1000 in emergency dental services per year).  Lots of good public health reasons to support this one. 

 

SB 1470  Sunrise process; health professions

Passed Senate

Assigned to House Government Committee

To be honest- this bill has been flying under the radar at least with me.  If it passes and is signed it’d make huge changes to the health professions scope of practice system we use today. The current sunrise process is a collaborative, inclusive process that allows time for consideration and review of the complicated health care delivery proposals.  The current process requires a Committee of Reference hearing, which allows a consideration of a proposed scope change and its potential patient safety and care implications.

SB 1470 would change the scope of practice system so that all a profession needs to do is prepare a written sunrise report right before the regular legislative session. It would allow the legislative standing committees (rather than Committees of Reference) to consider a sunrise proposal. During legislative session, long agendas and the fast pace limits the time to consider serious issues impacted by changes in scope of practice, including prescribing, complex health care procedures, complicated review, and reflection on curriculum, training and education.

We haven’t taken a position on this yet- but we’ll talk about it on our Public Health Policy Committee call on Monday.  Seems like the risks outweigh the benefits on this one.

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Public Health Bills that Failed to Thrive

HB 2064 Medical marijuana; packaging; labeling              

Dead for now

This Bill proposes that medical marijuana dispensaries be prohibited from selling a marijuana product that’s packaged or labeled in a manner that’s "attractive to minors". Due to voter protection, this legislation requires the affirmative vote of at least 3/4 of the members of each house of the Legislature for passage.  Dead for now.

 

HB 2109 Tobacco possession; sale; age; signage                

Sadly, dead for now

This Bill would prohibit furnishing a tobacco product to a person who is under 21 years of age. The definition of "tobacco product" is expanded to include "electronic smoking devices". We’ve signed up in support. It received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Health Committee three weeks ago but the Commerce chair hasn’t put it on the agenda, so it’s effectively dead for now. Kudos to Rep. Boyer for sponsoring this.

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APHA Legislative Update

On Feb. 9, President Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The new law raises the current spending caps for defense and nondefense discretionary spending in fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 by $165 billion and $131 billion, respectively. While APHA welcomed the increase in nondefense discretionary funding, the category of money that funds public health and other federal nondefense programs, the association is deeply disappointed that the bill also cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund by $1.35 billion over the next decade.

The bill used the cuts from the prevention fund in part to pay for reauthorizing community health centers, the National Health Service Corps and other expired health programs for two years. The bill also added an additional four years to the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance program, bringing the total reauthorization for CHIP to 10 years. The bill passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 71-28 and passed the House by a vote of 240-186.

After the bill passed, APHA issued a statement supporting the additional funding available for nondefense discretionary spending and urging Congress to work to ensure that some of the additional funding is directed to public health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The statement also expressed deep disappointment that Congress turned to cutting the prevention fund, a critical source of public health funding that currently makes up around 12 percent of the CDC’s entire budget. The Prevention Fund supports critical public health activities — including lead poisoning surveillance, vaccination initiatives and other programs — in every state and community across the country.

APHA members can send a message to their members of Congress urging them to ensure public health is adequately funded in FY2018.