Medical Society of Virginia tallies 2021 legislative wins, losses

The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) successfully advocated for and against several pieces of legislation this session. The MSV monitored nearly 200 bills and budget amendment. Below are what they consider to be the highlights:

 

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Expansion of the Telehealth and Telemedicine bills, HB 1987 and SB 1338

Delegate Dawn Adams and Sen. George Barker introduced legislation to expand the range of reimbursable telehealth services and encourage payers to cover audio-only telehealth services. With MSV’s support, the final bill included language on prescribing after establishing a patient relationship, money for remote patient monitoring for Medicaid and expanded audio-only for telehealth services.

Delaying Autonomous Practice for NPs, HB 1737 

Adams introduced legislation that reduced the number of years of full-time clinical experience a nurse practitioner (NP) needs to practice independently from 5 years to 2. The MSV lobbied to include sunset clause that would end the change in 2022 and Adams included it in the bill’s final language. This essentially duplicates what is already allowed under the COVID-19 emergency order, and gives the stakeholders time to evaluate a pending study from the Department of Health Professions next session.

Independent Practice for CNMs, HB 1817 

Adams introduced legislation to allow Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) to practice independently immediately upon graduating school and obtaining their license. The bill also granted CNMs full prescriptive authority. This bill met opposition from physician groups, but it passed the Senate 20-19. The MSV asked Gov. Ralph Northam to amend the bill to include patient protections. 

Opposition to Removing the Medical Malpractice Cap, SB 1107

The MSV and a large coalition of healthcare stakeholders have been working for the past few months in opposition to SB 1107 — a bill to repeal the medical malpractice cap. The bill was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee and ultimately failed to report, but a few Senators were interested in continuing conversation throughout the coming year.