Indiana Legislative Session Comes to an Eventful Close


Short session marks successful passage of priority issues for Indiana hospitals

The 2018 legislative session ended in dramatic fashion with time running out to complete business on five pieces of legislation, including two bills that were considered Governor’s Agenda bills. Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that the Indiana General Assembly would be called back into special session in mid-May to complete work on the following topics:

  • Increasing funding for school safety
  • Providing a one-time loan of $12 million to the Muncie Community School Corporation
  • Moving the state’s conformity date to Feb. 11 to comply with federal tax changes
  • Complying with IRS rules to protect federal taxpayer information

While the final hours were marked by chaos, the 2018 legislative session was otherwise productive with few divisive issues. The 2018 “short session” was focused on workforce development, school funding, alcohol sales, and the ongoing addiction issues facing the state. To that end, the majority of Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda items were enacted into law.

For IHA and its members, 2018 marked the successful passage of several priority issues.

IHA LEGISLATIVE VICTORIES

Prior to the 2018 legislative session, several issues emerged as priorities among IHA members, including the following:

  • Reforming the prior authorization process in the commercial market
  • Credentialing of providers by insurers
  • Acceptance of national accreditation in lieu of annual state survey for purposes of hospital licensure

IHA’s legislative team was successful in passing legislation this session addressing all three of these priority issues.

ADVOCACY IN ACTION

Many members donated their time and expertise by testifying and meeting with legislators before and during the 2018 session. For example, after bills were filed in both the House (House Bill 1143) and the Senate (Senate Bill 210) to streamline the prior authorization process in the commercial market and create more transparency, IHA members Terry Metzger, CFO of St. Vincent Health; Virginia Martinez, vice president of revenue management for Franciscan Alliance; Susan Rust, director of patient financial services for Columbus Regional Hospital; and Marita Burton, preauthorization specialist at Columbus Regional Hospital, testified in hearings at the Statehouse to share the burdensome issues plaguing the prior authorization process.

“The prior authorization process has gone from a healthy check-and-balances system to becoming a barrier for patient care,” said Rust. “Increasingly, the ability to get prior approval in a timely manner is becoming more difficult. This is leading to more stress and time on the part of the patient due to the lack of standardization among insurers governing this process.”

Bill authors Rep. Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel) and Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) were strong advocates for the provider community in helping to reach an agreement with insurers. HEA 1143 became the vehicle for this legislation and passed out of the House and Senate in the last weeks of session. The bill has been signed into law by Holcomb.

The successful passage of this legislation was the result of the hard work put in by these individuals and others who took time out of their busy schedules to share their stories with lawmakers and make their voices heard. IHA sincerely thanks everyone involved for their work in making the 2018 session a success.

NEXT UP: INTERIM STUDY COMMITTEES

Each year the Indiana General Assembly’s Legislative Council assigns a variety of topics to interim study committees. Topics can be assigned through the passage of a bill, or a legislator may ask the four legislative caucus leaders to consider assigning a topic to be studied.

Potential interim study topics impacting hospitals include the following:

  • Impact opioid treatment programs have on the neighborhoods and communities in their immediate area
  • Fiscal and workforce development issues related Indiana’s smoking rates
  • Prohibition on physician non-compete contracts
  • Requirement of physician maintenance of certification
  • Impact that joining the Nurse Licensure Compact would have on the delivery of nursing services to residents of Indiana
  • Impact of joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
  • Pharmacy deserts in rural and urban areas of Indiana
  • Study of medical marijuana
  • Direct primary care pilot program for Indiana Medicaid and Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) participants
  • Study of health care cost and value
  • Study of prescription drug pricing

IHA will be watching these studies closely over the summer and keep members informed as the agenda is set.

IHA 2018 SESSION WRAP-UP REPORT

Learn more about the 2018 legislative session and hear how your efforts can make an impact on health care policy by watching a short video with IHA Vice President of Legislative Relations Julie Halbig at bit.ly/LegSession18.