Rhode Island Removes Supervision Requirements for PAs in Favor of Expanded “Collaboration” Standard for PA Practice

On July 15, 2019, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law “An Act Relating To Businesses and Professions – Physician Assistants” (H5572/S0443), which significantly revises the supervision requirements and expands certain aspects of the scope of practice for physician assistants (PAs) in Rhode Island effective immediately. Among other things, the Act removes the current supervision requirements for PAs, changes the nature of the relationship between PAs and physicians to a “collaborative” arrangement, and removes the requirement that hospitals and other health care practices have written PA supervision agreements on file for PAs. Continue Reading

Connecticut Enacts Budget that Includes Provisions Affecting Health Care Providers

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently signed into law Public Act No. 19-117 (PA 19-117), which contains provisions affecting health care providers, including revisions to the hospital provider tax, a prohibition on non-compete agreements for home care workers and an expansion to Connecticut’s current surprise bill law. Continue Reading

Connecticut Legislature Modifies Statutes Relevant to Preventing and Treating Opioid Use Disorder

On July 9, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act No. 19-191 “An Act Addressing Opioid Use” (PA 19-191). PA 19-191 makes various revisions to Connecticut’s opioid use prevention and treatment statutes, and also creates new legislation pertaining to opioid use prevention and treatment. Continue Reading

Connecticut Legislature Extends Immunity for Emergency Assistance by Health Care Professionals to Cover Malfunctioning Automatic External Defibrillators

On July 1, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act No. 19-113 “An Act Concerning the Use of Automatic External Defibrillators” (PA 19-113). This law takes effect October 1, 2019. Continue Reading

Connecticut Legislature Places Restrictions on the Use of the Title “Social Worker”

On July 9, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act No. 19-164 “An Act Concerning Social Workers,” (PA 19-164) which sets forth new restrictions on individuals seeking to hold themselves out as social workers in the State. This law takes effect October 1, 2019. Continue Reading

Starting in 2020, Connecticut Hospitals will be Required to Test for Spinal Muscular Atrophy in Newborns

On July 9, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act No. 19-176 (PA 19-176), “An Act Concerning Newborn Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.” Starting on January 1, 2020, this law requires hospitals and other institutions that care for newborn infants to screen such infants for spinal muscular atrophy. As with other statutory requirements for newborn infant screening under Connecticut law – including testing for HIV, phenylketonuria, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and critical congenital heart disease – the requirement to test for spinal muscular atrophy does not apply if a parent objects to the test based on religious tenets or practice.

Federal Judge Vacates Final Rule on Drug Pricing Transparency in Consumer Advertising

In a Memorandum Opinion, Judge Amit P. Mehta, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, vacated a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Final Rule, just days before its July 9 effective date. The Final Rule would have required the list prices of prescription drugs to be included in direct-to-consumer advertisements. Continue Reading

Connecticut Legislature Permits Facilities to Administer Emergency Medication to Defendants Without Consent in Limited Circumstances

On July 1, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act No. 19-99 “An Act Concerning the Recommendations of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Regarding Emergency Medication” (PA 19-99). PA 19-99 went into effect on the same date.

Existing law provides for certain court procedures a facility must follow in order to provide treatment without informed consent for psychiatric disabilities to defendant patients in the custody of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. A facility includes any inpatient or outpatient hospital, clinic or other facility for the diagnosis, observation or treatment of persons with psychiatric disabilities. For patients incapable of giving informed consent, the facility can petition the probate court for the appointment of a conservator with limited powers, who would have the specific authority to give or withhold informed consent to the administration of medication on behalf of the patient. For patients capable but unwilling to give informed consent, the facility can petition the probate court to authorize the treatment. Continue Reading

Connecticut Enacts Law Modifying CME Requirements to Include Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Training

On July 1, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act 19-115, “An Act Concerning Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Training and Best Practices” (PA 19-115). This legislation modifies the continuing medical education (CME) requirements for Connecticut-licensed physicians and the continuing education (CE) requirements for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Currently, during each CME period, physicians are required to complete at least one hour of CME relating to behavioral health. Similarly, APRNs are required to complete at least two hours of CE on mental health conditions common to veterans and their families. PA 19-115 allows physicians to complete their behavioral health training by receiving at least two hours in training regarding diagnosing and treating cognitive conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and related cognitive impairments, or mental health conditions, including those common to veterans. This legislation also permits APRNs to receive two or more hours of training toward their CE requirements on topics related to diagnosing and treating cognitive or mental health conditions, including Alzheimer’s and related cognitive impairments. The foregoing changes are effective January 1, 2020.

White House Issues Executive Order to Increase Transparency in American Healthcare

On June 24, 2019, President Donald Trump issued an “Executive Order on Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First” (the Order). The Order requires multiple federal agencies to issue regulations and take other actions as part of an ongoing focus of the Trump Administration to “enhance the ability of patients to choose the healthcare that is best for them” through transparency and competition. The Order addresses the following five initiatives. Continue Reading

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