Legislation Category

Signs and symbols of opioid abuse.
Efforts to reduce access to opioid medications for acute pain have varied greatly from state to state, in spite of President Trump’s declaration that related addiction and deaths constitute a public health emergency. Now, a bipartisan bill just introduced in Congress would impose a national policy if it passes, restricting prescriptions for opioids for acute pain to 3 days (ample for the urgent care setting). Significantly, the bill would also authorize adding $1 billion to subsidies for the addiction treatment industry. The CARA 2.0 Act is sponsored by four RepublicansRead More
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield raised the ire of hospitals, some physicians, and patient-advocacy groups when it enacted a policy of denying claims for ED visits it eventually deems to have been nonemergent. A new bill in Ohio would put a stop to that practice as it now exists, on the grounds that the policy amounts to noncompliance with state insurance regulations. As such, Anthem would lose standing to secure state government contracts, as well as tax credits and abatements if it doesn’t abandon its rule in Ohio. Anthem insuresRead More

Posted On February 20, 2018By Stuart WilliamsIn Legislation, News

More States Try to Address Opioid Crisis Legislatively

West Virginia and Florida are the latest states to seek a legislative solution to the nation’s ongoing crisis of opioid misuse, abuse, and related deaths. In West Virginia, the state senate just voted unanimously to limit new painkiller prescriptions for most patients to a 7-day supply, though the number would be lower for urgent care centers and emergency rooms (4 days) and for dentists and ophthalmologists (3 days). Florida is looking at a bill that would impose a 3-day limit, with exceptions for postsurgery, major trauma, or hospice patients. HagglingRead More

Posted On February 5, 2018By Stuart WilliamsIn Legislation

Bill Could Raise the Need for Workplace Drug Tests

A proposed new law could increase employers’ reliance on contractors who conduct worker drug screens—such as urgent care providers who offer occupational medicine services—if passed by state legislators in Maine. The bill would give employers more power to order drug screens for workers by loosening probable-cause requirements and permitting employers to order a test after a single workplace mishap or other signs of impairment. The bill’s proponents say the laws on the books haven’t kept pace with diminishing restrictions against use of marijuana. They also don’t take into account theRead More
When President Trump took office, he vowed to take steps to make life easier for business operators. The White House just announced one step in that direction would be reversing an Obama administration decision to make employers, including urgent care operators, report how much they paid workers and break down the data by gender, race, and ethnicity. Obama believed doing so would help quantify (and ultimately curb) pay discrimination, while Trump maintains that the process only serves to burden businesses, thereby making it more difficult to focus efforts on theRead More

Posted On August 30, 2017By Stuart WilliamsIn Legislation

Connecticut Tries (Again) to Regulate Urgent Care Centers

Connecticut lawmakers apparently think “If at first you don’t succeed…” is the perfect approach to slapping licensing fees on the urgent care industry. Democrats in the state House of Representatives have inserted a provision in the current proposed budget that would require all urgent care centers there to carry a distinct license. The problem (for them) is, they don’t have an abiding definition of what constitutes an urgent care center. Currently, the law views urgent care centers simply as “physician practices.” The governor’s office and other proponents of the measureRead More
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says his agency needs to do more to help stem the opioid-addiction epidemic in the United Sates. For starters, he wants the FDA to impose stricter guidelines for prescribing immediate-release opioid drugs. The first step will be for the agency to expand training for physicians, nurses, and other providers who administer immediate-release opioids. While there is already training available, the FDA says it will now broaden information it provides about nondrug, not just nonopioid, approaches to pain control. Gottlieb promises the agencyRead More
One component of President Trump’s proposed budget could have significant impact on urgent care staffing if it remains part of the final version ultimately approved by Congress. Specifically, Trump’s plan—which is likely to be substantially rewritten as it goes through the House and Senate—would ensure 6 weeks of paid leave for both mothers and fathers after the birth of a baby. Some large employers have already instituted similar policies voluntarily, but smaller companies (eg, many urgent care businesses) maintain leaner staffs, and requiring them to pay employees on leave andRead More
Some California legislators are hoping to push through a single-payer healthcare bill that would cost the state an estimated $400 billion—more than the entire national budget of Honduras (and 116 more countries across the globe). If passed, the bill would in effect eliminate health insurance companies there and provide government-funded health coverage for all residents. If it needs to be said, funding the plan would require “significant tax increases,” according to legislative analysts. On the other hand, proponents say, much of the cost would be offset by existing state, federal,Read More
With an eye toward reducing the heavy economic burden stemming from patients visiting emergency rooms needlessly, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) is pitching legislation that would require the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to pay for care provided to veterans in urgent care centers. Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives. As written, the Veterans Emergency Room Relief Act of 2017 seeks to: Pave the way for veterans to receive care from nationally accredited urgent care facilities that have entered into a contract with theRead More