Highlights from the 2015 Legislative Session

The 2015 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature began on January 6, 2015, and ended on April 2, 2015. The Center for Mississippi Health Policy monitored selected health-related bills throughout the session, posting their status on this page.

Listed below are selected health-related bills that were passed by the Legislature during this session.  Click on the bill number to access a copy of the bill and view its history.

Child Health

SR 1 – Recognizes public and private health providers in Mississippi for the highest kindergarten vaccination rates nationwide.

Certificate of Need

HB  583 – Exempts health care facilities that meet certain conditions from the Certificate of Need law requirements for the purpose of repairing or rebuilding due to damage from a natural disaster. Authorizes an expedited review process by the State Department of Health to issue a Certificate of Need when an emergency condition occurs and provides the Department with the authority to approve a change of ownership of a part of a health care facility until 2016. Exempts any facility located in Jackson under the control of the University of Mississippi Medical Center from the Certificate of Need review process for the purpose of planning, building, and equipping a clinical research unit.

 SB 2124 – Extends the repealer on the statute prohibiting the State Department of Health  from processing any new hospice licensure applications until 2018.

Hospitals

HB 1419 – Authorizes Attala County to sell or lease the hospital currently owned by the County and to issue bonds of up to $5 million dollars for costs related to the hospital’s operations. Authority is also provided to the County’s Board of Trustees to petition for debt relief applicable under bankruptcy laws.

SB 2108 – Authorizes hospitals to give patients or their guardian the opportunity to designate a lay caregiver before release from hospital care. Requires hospitals to alert the designated caregiver when the patient leaves the hospital and to provide the caregiver with instructions on caring for the patient after release.

SB 2407 – Designates that meetings of the Boards of Trustees of public hospitals are subject to the Open Meetings Act. Defines the criteria for holding open and closed sessions by such Boards. Excludes from public record certain business issues and personnel matters discussed during closed Board sessions. Requires the hospitals to report public fund expenditures on their websites by 2016. Requires plan recipients receive financial reports on defined retirement benefit plans as long as the plans are maintained by such hospitals.

Injury Prevention

HB 111 – Defines autocycles and exempts operators of autocycles from the requirement to obtain a motorcycle endorsement for their driver’s license, and from the requirement to wear a helmet.

HB  389 – Prohibits text messaging and social media use on mobile devices for persons of all ages when driving a motor vehicle. Creates a civil penalty and sets fines for driver violations. Authorizes the Department of Public Safety to collect certain data when citations are issued by law enforcement officers.

HB 1251 – Defines the conditions for operating a motor scooter without  the requirement to obtain a motorcycle license. Authorizes municipalities and the Institutions of Higher Learning to enact rules and regulations for the operation of rented motor scooters within their municipalities and college campuses.

Insurance

HB 873 – Prohibits the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board from assessing premium charges or other premium changes to plan participants based on the use or non-use of tobacco products until 2018.

HB  885 – Requires health insurance policies to provide coverage to state residents to screen, diagnose, and treat autism spectrum disorders. Creates a five-member Mississippi Autism Board to license and regulate the practice of applied behavioral analysis.

HB  952 –  Prohibits health plans from setting price differences on cancer medications based on administration by a patient or health care provider. Authorizes the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board to accept bids for bundled surgical services for the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan.

HB 1392 – Extends the repealer until 2018 for the statute that defines the amounts the state pays toward the cost of the State and School Employees’ Health and Life Insurance Plan.

SB 2441 – Defines and authorizes the creation of provider-sponsored health plans in the state which must meet certain minimum requirements. Requires the Department of Insurance to establish a process for the certification of the plans.

SB 2687 – Creates the Mississippi Direct Primary Care Act. Authorizes physicians to enter into a contract directly with a patient or an employer for the purposes of providing primary care at a set fee for service. Exempts the contractual agreement from being considered insurance. Exempts the provider from being considered a participant in the insurance business and from  the requirement to obtain a license to promote and sell primary care contractual services. Outlines the basic requirements a contractual agreement must contain for services delivered.

Health Facility Licensure

HB 1393 – Extends the repealer on nursing home administrator licensure requirements. Exempts State Department of Mental Health administrators of mental health and intellectual disability programs from the requirement to obtain an administrator’s license.

Maternal and Child Health

HB  910 – Creates an eleven-member Infant Mortality Reduction Collaborative and assigns administrative duties to the State Department of Health. Charges the group with making policy & regulatory recommendations to the legislature on strategies for the improvement of infant mortality, to include the following:

  • ensuring the availability, accessibility, and affordability of a hormonal supplement that is used to prevent preterm deliveries in pregnant women;
  • ensuring access to health care for women before pregnancy;
  • reducing the number of early elective deliveries performed in health care facilities; and
  • developing a regionalized system of perinatal care.

Medicaid

 HB  544 – Authorizes the Division of Medicaid to extend its Medicaid Management Information System contracts for up to five additional years. Exempts the requirement to comply with State Personal Service Contract Review Board procurement regulations. (The bill also specifies the location for providers or recipients to file Judicial Appeals against the Division when it attempts to collect over-payments).

HB  545 – Removes requirements for the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee to meet at certain intervals. Specifies the time frame for filing a Judicial Appeal against the Division when it attempts to collect over-payments to providers or recipients. Outlines the process of notification of over-payments to providers by the Division. Repeals the code section requiring Medicaid to conduct a bariatric surgery pilot program. Outlines the requirements for the provision of Medicaid planning services to Medicaid recipients and sets the penalties for noncompliance. Creates a new code section to prescribe the standards for establishing and funding community mental health center regional holding facilities for persons being held for civil commitment.

 SB 2588  (Medicaid Technical Amendments bill) –

  • Extends the repealer to June 30, 2018 on the sections that define the health care services covered under the program
  • Directs Medicaid to apply for a waiver to increase payments for adult day care facilities and sets the payment limit
  • Authorizes Medicaid to establish a Mississippi Hospital Access Program (MHAP) to provide additional hospital reimbursement in place of the Medicare Upper Payment Limits (UPL) program subject to Federal approval
  • Authorizes Medicaid to implement a provider-sponsored health plan
  • Provides any health plans implemented may not override medical decisions of hospital physicians or staff regarding emergency room patients and specifies prior authorization of nonemergency patients not be subject to the restriction
  • Authorizes Medicaid to approve the use of alternative payment models, including quality and value-based payments
  • Extends repealers on hospital assessments and on UPL and DSH payments
  • Prescribes the method, rate, and schedule of hospital assessments under the condition the MHAP program receives Federal approval

Mental Health/Substance Abuse

HB 1414 – Authorizes the Department of Corrections to contract with the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility to pilot a program for in-prison treatment of inmate drug and alcohol abuse. Defines the conditions of inmate enrollment and participation in the program. Requires tracking and reporting of certain behaviors and any further imprisonment of the program participants after release from the facility.

Pharmacy/Prescription Drugs

HB  692 – Creates the Emergency Response and Overdose Prevention Act. Authorizes licensed physicians and other licensed health professionals to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense medications which counteract opioid overdose to persons at risk or to those able to assist a person at risk of an overdose. Authorizes emergency medical technicians to administer such medication. Provides protection from legal action or the loss of professional licensure by persons acting to administer the medication.

SB 2485 – Creates the Right to Try Act. Authorizes physicians to prescribe or recommend and pharmacists to dispense to certain eligible patients investigational drugs, devices, and other treatments that have cleared certain phases of the drug approval process. Limits eligibility to patients diagnosed with a terminal illness that have exhausted all other treatment options. Authorizes the option of coverage by health plans for the costs of the investigational treatment. Exempts health professionals that recommend or dispense investigational treatment to eligible patients from loss of professional license and legal action.

School Health

SB 2185 – Clarifies the requirement for instruction in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to be provided in physical or health education curricula to 9th graders.

Workforce

HB 204  – Prohibits State Licensure Boards from conditioning the licensure of  health care professionals (physicians, osteopaths, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, advanced practice registered nurses, and physician assistants) on their participation in any public and private health insurance plan, the public health care system, public service initiative, emergency room coverage, or upon compliance with the Federal “meaningful use” of electronic health records.

HB 215 – Authorizes physicians serving in active duty of the Armed Forces or the Department of Veteran Affairs as eligible for a special volunteer license to donate care to indigent, needy, or medically underserved patients in the state. Establishes physician assistants as eligible under the same conditional requirements set for physicians.

SB 2123 – Extends the repealers until 2018 on the code sections providing for the registration of medical radiation technologists. Revises the definition of nuclear medicine technologists to include certain procedures related to nuclear medicine exams and outlines the conditions for additional certification.