Oregon House Interim Committee on Health Care members vote to introduce several health-related bills

Oregon lawmakers voted to introduce several health-related legislative concepts as bills during the upcoming session during a House Interim Committee on Health Care meeting on Wednesday.

 

 

Committee members voted to introduce Legislative Concept (LC) 929, LC 1496, LC 1498, LC 1605, and LC 2857 as bills during the meeting. Specific elements of the concepts are currently under consideration, but some details include:

  • LC 929 would modify the administrative charge imposed on insurers to include those not participating in the state’s health insurance exchange and offering certain dental plans.
  • LC 1496 would require the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to study access to healthcare in Oregon and submit its findings to the legislative assembly by Sept. 15th, 2024.
  • LC 1498 would require the Oregon State Board of Nursing to study the scope of practice of licensed practical nurses and submit its findings to the legislative assembly by Sept. 15th, 2024.
  • LC 1605 would establish the Rare Disease Advisory Council, and would require the council to submit an annual report to the governor and legislative assembly summarizing its activities, which may include recommendations for policy changes and proposed legislation.
  • LC 2857 would direct the Health Licensing Office to issue provisional registration to applicants for behavior analysis interventionist registration beginning on Jan. 1st, 2024. 

Following the concepts’ introduction to legislative committees as bills, they will need to be approved during a voting process to be implemented.

Lawmakers discussed additional legislative concepts they are working on during the meeting.

Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland) said she is working on an opioid package that would address barriers to harm reduction efforts in helping the state fight its opioid crisis

“We all know we are in the midst of an opioid crisis and [it is] escalating quickly,” Dexter said. “It’s due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, not prescription drugs.”

Provisions of the concept mostly center around addressing a statute that there may be future alternatives to naloxone, youth accidental overdose reporting to alert communities of an overdose, and a public health campaign by OHA to inform communities on how to use naloxone to mitigate harm. 

“We also need uniform statewide opioid overdose data,” Dexter said. “We don’t have reproduceful data in various counties and we need to have high-quality data.”

Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) said he is working on 15 concepts. 

“One will mandate gender-affirming care services for Oregonians who need them because they are transgender,” Nosse said. “Another will allow pharmacy technicians to administer vaccinations. During the federal healthcare emergency, pharmacy technicians were allowed to do this and we saw a lot of benefit from doing it, so I hope to have that continue.”

Rep. Rachel Prusak (D-Tualatin) said she is working on a concept that would help address hospital capacity issues, which occur in part because patients face challenges in entering long-term care facilities.

“One of the things that’s impacting hospital capacity is we have people going in and they get stuck and can’t come out,” Prusak said. “And one of the reasons they can’t come out is because a lot of the adult care homes are saying, ‘No, because our Medicaid rates now are $3,000.’ And they have to go through several processes. So we’re going to completely overhaul it. It’s a $25 million bill, and it will help with hospital capacity.”

Rep. Christine Goodwin (R-Canyonville) said she is working on concepts to build capacity in the state’s workforce shortages, provide incentives for nurses to become educators, provide incentives for hospitals to build capacity in clinical training, provide incentives for rural medical care providers, and address post acute care. 

“We know those patients are not being discharged and that is costly to hospitals, so we need to compensate them, give [them] some incentives to move those patients to other care facilities,” Goodwin said.

Rep. Travis Nelson (D-Portland) said he is working on concepts related to the nursing workforce, universal healthcare, clinical placements, and retention benefits for healthcare workers.