Highlights of the 2016 Legislative Session

The 2016 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature convened on January 5, 2016, and adjourned in April. The Center for Mississippi Health Policy monitored selected health-related bills throughout the session, posting status updates on this page. Listed below are the health-related bills that were enacted during the session. Click on the bill number to access a copy of the bill and view its history. There are also links to legislative schedules, committee member listings, legislative deadlines, and daily calendars in the side bar to the left.

Certificate of Need

SB2661 – Approved by the Governor – Raises capital expenditure threshold amounts required for a health care facility to apply for a certificate of need (CON), separating clinical and non-clinical services. Provides for adjustments to these thresholds based on inflation. Clarifies the definition of “change of ownership.” Puts time limits on actions taken by the State Department of Health in reviewing applications for a Certificate of Need and conducting hearings. Requires the hearing officer to be independent. Revises the judicial appeal procedure for home health agencies and for other health care facilities. Removes language regarding expedited reviews and prescribes a procedure for determination of reviewability for certain expenditures.

Hospitals

SB2297 – Approved by the Governor – Defines and provides for the licensure of freestanding emergency room facilities. Specifies that these facilities shall be in a rural community where the hospital had been designated a critical access hospital, and the designation had been revoked. Requires a patient transfer policy. Extends the distance that an abortion facility must be from a church, school, or kindergarten.

SB2527 – Approved by the Governor – The “Right to Try Act” clarifies the definition of an investigational drug, biological product or device. Expands the definition of an eligible patient to include persons with a debilitating disability or a life-threatening illness that has not responded to or cannot be treated with currently approved products. Expands immunity to health plans and third party administrators and hospitals when investigational drugs are used and clarifies that health plans are not liable for outstanding debt related to investigational treatments.

HB 483 – Approved by the Governor – Reauthorizes for three more years the law which provides a lien for burn centers.

HB1439 – Approved by the Governor – Permanently reauthorizes the law that authorizes certain public hospitals and mental health centers to participate in group purchasing programs.

Insurance

SB2189 – Approved by the Governor – Revises the risk-based capital requirements for life and health insurers for a company action level event.

SB2300 – Approved by the Governor – Revises coverage eligibility for the Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool. Provides a procedure for the Association to close enrollment and cease offering coverage. Revises coverage requirements.  Removes references to “federally defined eligible individuals.”

SB2750  – Approved by the Governor – Authorizes the Department of Finance and Administration to issue a request for proposals for ACA-compliant health insurance coverage to be offered to state employees not eligible for the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan.

HB 93 – Approved by the Governor – Removes the provision allowing an insured to revoke an assignment of benefits under a health insurance policy.

Licensure

SB2508 – Approved by the Governor – Ends the requirement that physicians must file their license to practice medicine with the circuit clerk.

SB2625 – Approved by the Governor – Allows licensing agencies to process fingerprints of certain students in healthcare settings that have been submitted from healthcare-related professional/vocational technical programs.

Maternal & Child Health

SB2070 – Approved by the Governor – Authorizes the Mississippi State Department of Health to develop breastfeeding guidelines to provide to maternal health care facilities which elect to display the guidelines. Requires a written infant feeding policy if a policy is adopted by birthing hospitals and for staff to be trained to implement the policy. Authorizes the Department of Health to prepare a video about the importance of breastfeeding for all its offices and to provide the video to any state agency serving women of child-bearing age. Reauthorizes the “Small Business and Grocer Investment Act” for an additional three years and prohibits an applicant from locating in the same area with an existing food retailer.

Medicaid

SB2238 – Approved by the Governor – Prohibits the Division of Medicaid from making payments to any entity that performs non-therapeutic abortions or that has an affiliation with an entity that performs non-therapeutic abortions.

Mental Health/Substance Abuse

HB1375 – Approved by the Governor – Requires the Mississippi Department of Mental Health to make a reasonable effort to arrange for assistance in obtaining supportive services for certain patients discharged from a treatment facility where they were being treated for alcoholism or drug addiction or dependency.

Prescription Drugs/Pharmacies

HB 456 – Approved by the Governor – Deletes repealers on sections of the “Pharmacy Benefit Prompt Pay Act.”  Authorizes a network pharmacy to decline to dispense certain drugs if the network payment is less than the pharmacy’s acquisition cost, and requires the pharmacy to refer the customer to where the prescription may be filled. Requires the Board of Pharmacy to adopt rules and regulations to address access to pharmacy services in rural or underserved areas where pharmacists decline to provide these drugs or services.

HB 462 – Approved by the Governor – Reauthorizes the “Pharmacy Practice Act” for four years. Revises registration procedures for wholesalers and provisions related to permitting nonresident pharmacies. Imposes a penalty for the misuse of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), authorizes fees for its operation and data release, and requires all licensed pharmacists to be a registered user. Provides the Board of Pharmacy immunity for any inaccurate information submitted to the PMP. Allows repeal of the paragraph citing deceptive advertisement as grounds for license suspension or revocation (see HB 489).

Public Health

HB 289 – Approved by the Governor – Authorizes the State Board of Health to charge fees for mandated services based on the cost of providing the services, but limits fee increases to 15% of the current fee and no more than twice before June 30, 2020.

School Health

HB 494 – Approved by the Governor – Reauthorizes for five years the law requiring every school district to adopt a policy to implement abstinence-only or abstinence plus sex-related education into its curriculum. Dissolves the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Task Force.

University of MS Medical Center

HB 904 – Approved by the Governor – Authorizes the University of Mississippi Medical Center with approval of the Institutions of Higher Learning to lease property to the American Cancer Society for the purposes of providing temporary housing to cancer patients and their families and office space for its related administration.

Workforce

HB 41 – Approved by the Governor – Authorizes Mississippi to participate in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Prescribes the structure and process for physicians from Compact states to become licensed in Mississippi.

HB 473 – Approved by the Governor – Reauthorizes for three years the provision authorizing the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure to issue temporary licenses to physician assistant applicants participating in a master’s degree program.

HB 489 – Approved by the Governor – Reauthorizes for four years the “Patient’s Right to Informed Health Care Choices Act,” which requires health care providers to identify and post their type of license and provides penalties for violation of the law.