Arizona House HHS Committee passes 10 new bills in its first convening of the session

The Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee had a busy first meeting of the session on Monday, considering bills whose topics range from licensing rules to medical marijuana. Of the 11 bills brought before the committee, all but one of them received a unanimous favorable recommendation. Chairwoman Rep. Osborne decided to hold voting on HB 2291 due to disputes among members regarding its details.



House Bill 2291 would require the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to provide comprehensive dental care to eligible pregnant women. The state would provide $468,100 to AHCCCS to conduct these dental services along with a one-time allocation of $3,630,600 to cover the costs of adding dental care for pregnant women to AHCCCS’s services. It is sponsored by Reps. Osborne, Regina Cobb and Kelli Butler.

Jessie Armendt, lobbyist for March of Dimes, testified in support of the bill. She said that adding dental care for pregnant women to AHCCCS’s covered services is necessary because pregnant women frequently experience changes in their oral health as a result of pregnancy. 

However, Cobb expressed hesitancy about the fund allocations in the bill, saying the $3,630,000 payment was higher than she recalled it originally being. Members also raised concerns over uncertainty at how many Arizona women were expected to need these benefits. Osborne ultimately held the vote on the bill to allow members time to clarify its details.

Here are the bills the committee passed:

House Bill 2010 would require the Department of Child Safety, an agency or a person who placed a child for adoption to notify the adoptee of any supplemental information from a member of the child’s family of birth if they are over 18 years of age. Representative John Kavanagh is the sponsor. 

Current statute only requires notification of an adoptee’s adoptive parents of this information if they are under 18. This bill would extend the requirement to include adoptees over 18.

Kavanagh said this bill will allow adoptees to be notified if their biological parents receive significant medical diagnoses that could potentially affect the adoptee. There is currently no mechanism for notifying adoptees who are over 18 of this information.

“There is no route for the [biological] parents of an adopted child to somehow get information to the child after the child is an adult,” Dunnigan said. “So this provides a mechanism where, if a birth parent, later in life, suddenly discovers they have a genetic disease that can also be passed on to their biological child, the information could be somehow routed to the adult adopted child so that they can know they need to talk to a doctor and have the condition monitored.”

House Bill 2016, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Udall, would amend a statute relating to child care assistance and permit the Department of Economic Security to waive all or a portion of the work requirement for child care assistance recipients. Instead of requiring proof the recipient is working, the department can continue providing child care assistance to a qualified person enrolled in a full-time education program or remedial program related to their employment goals.

“The point of this bill is simple,” Udall said. “We would like to eventually get people off of public assistance by helping with child care subsidies so they can get the education and job training they need to get a job that will get them off of public assistance.”

House Bill 2047 would significantly loosen the restrictions for optometrists under contracts with optometric corporations, health care service corporations or disability insurers. Representative Jeff Weninger is the sponsor. It prohibits these contracts from requiring optometrists to provide services based on a fee set by the health insurer unless it applies to a covered service.

House Bill 2126 would change the language of a current statute regarding the rural primary care provider loan repayment program to exclude applicants who work at the Indian Health Service or a tribal facility from needing to provide a sliding fee scale. Currently, all applicants are required to submit a sliding fee scale to be eligible, but this bill would exempt workers at tribal facilities because they provide services for free. It is sponsored by Osborne.

House Bill 2258 would change the renewal application, fee and expiration dates for certain dentists from June 30 every three years to 30 days after the licensee’s birthday every third year. Osborne is the sponsor, and it would take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

House Bill 2266 concerns training requirements for medical assistants. It would allow medical assistants to satisfy training requirements through programs that are designed and offered by a physician, meet or exceed approved training requirements and verify the medical assistant’s entry level competence. By allowing physicians to train their assistants, more individuals can be certified as medical assistants, said Rep. Travis Grantham, the bill’s sponsor.

House Bill 2290 is sponsored by Rep. Shawnna Bolick and would allow the director of the Department of Health Services (DHS) to initiate an inspection of a health facility, even after it receives an accreditation report from them. Currently, DHS accepts accreditation reports in lieu of facility inspections. This bill would allow DHS to continue with an inspection, even if they have received an accreditation report from a facility, if the facility has been in enforcement for over a year.

House Bill 2292, sponsored by Osborne and four other committee members, would allow the Arizona Regulatory Board of Physicians Assistants to give a new license to an individual who previously surrendered their license if the applicant can demonstrate they have rehabilitated sufficiently.

House Bill 2298 would require the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre to provide grants for marijuana clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana use. It contains a Proposition 105 clause, meaning the bill will require a three-fourths vote in the legislature to pass. Representative Kevin Payne is the sponsor.

House Bill 2299 would require DHS to allocate $1 million and 13 full time equivalents (FTE) from the state general fund to hire additional long-term care facility surveyors. It is sponsored by Reps. Tim Dunn and Jennifer Longdon. Butler is adding an amendment to the bill that would increase the appropriations to $3,300,000 and 44 FTEs.