Fall Health Care Issues to Follow

The House and Senate return to Harrisburg next month. Here are some health care issues they will consider.

  •     Under Senate Bill 351, acts of physical violence against hospital workers, where there is bodily injury, would be felony assaults. House Bill 39 would help protect workers’ identities by omitting their last names from ID badges.
  •     Telemedicine: Telemedicine delivers important—sometimes lifesaving—health care services using secure two-way video, smartphones, and other technology. Modernizing laws and reimbursement policies will help telemedicine in supporting the right care, at the right time, and in the right setting for Pennsylvanians.
  •     Prior authorization: Most health plans require patients to get approval (called prior authorization) for certain kinds of medications, tests, procedures, or treatments. Unfortunately, this approval process can keep patients from getting the heath care they need when they need it. Reforms are needed to improve prior authorization processes.
  •     Informed consent: Patients must give “informed consent” acknowledging that they understand risks and alternatives before undergoing procedures and treatments. A 2017 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision has limited the ability of qualified staff to explain risks to patients and secure their informed consent. Reforms are needed to simplify the process and make the best use of health care teams.