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Legislation Goes into Effect: What You Need to Know

AMS actively tracked and worked 342 of the 2,069 bills filed in the 2017 legislative session. The following bills represent some of more high-profile issues AMS successfully fought for, amended and/or monitored closely that we anticipate will have more of an impact on you, your patients and your practice:

Physician Dispensing (SB 162/Act 284): Adds contraceptives and Naloxone as prescriptions that a physician can dispense without obtaining a dispensing permit from the Arkansas State Medical Board.
Effective July 31, 2017.

Telemedicine (SB 146 and HB 1437/Act 203):Updates the 2015 Telemedicine Act by expanding the “originating site” definition to anywhere a patient is located, expands the definition of “telemedicine” to include all types of “electronic information and communication technology,” adds “remote patient monitoring” to “telemedicine” definition, clarifies that the use of any type of telemedicine device can be used once the professional relationship is properly established and provides insurance coverage and reimbursement parity not just for physician services, but all services provided via telemedicine as long as the service is comparable to the in-person service.
Effective July 31, 2017.

Peer Review (SB 611/Act 975):Amends the 2013 Peer Review Fairness Act by clarifying that not all peer review is covered by the Act (just true adversarial proceedings), explains when an “investigation” begins, addresses the role of attorneys, requires external reviewers be chosen by medical staff physicians, requires that the physician under review be included in or copied on any communications with an external reviewer, requires the hearing panel members be chosen in accordance with the medical staff bylaws and not just by the hospital administration, and finally, prohibits those hearing panel members from having a conflict of interest. A remedy section allows a physician to petition the circuit court where action occurred or circuit court of adjoining county within 60 days of a final peer review decision adverse to the physician is effective April 7, 2017. Other parts are effective July 31, 2017.

Prior Authorization (SB 665/Act 815): Unifies the PA process to include determination of medical necessity, determination of whether an individual is covered by the health plan and whether a particular service is covered under the plan for that individual. It also guarantees payment of claims for services that were prior authorized unless: the service is never provided, the claim for service is not submitted in a timely fashion, the patient has exhausted a benefit limitation in his or her plan or the utilization review entity has evidence of misrepresentation, fraud, or abuse by the provider or subscriber.
Effective August 1, 2017.

Private Right of Action in Alternative Payment (SB 498/Act 724): Prohibits insurers or other payors from requiring physicians to contract away statutory protection by waiver in a provider agreement or other contract, provides explicit insurance department authority to develop rules, and allows physicians to bring direct legal action against an insurer in lieu of an enforcement action by the insurance department.
Effective July 31, 2017.

Patient Right to Know (HB 1718/Act 754): When a physician changes practice location, this will prohibit a former employer or practice group of the physician from withholding information from or giving misleading information to the physician’s patients regarding that physician’s new practice location.
Effective March 30, 2017.

Physician Ordered Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) (SB 356/Act 504): This legislation is intended to work with the nationwide POLST “paradigm” which is designed to simplify and honor patient treatment wishes in end-of-life planning.
Effective July 31, 2017.

APRN and PA Expanded Signature Authority (HB 1180/Act 372): Will allow advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to sign: certification of disability for patients to receive disabled parking permits; sports physicals to authorize student athletes to participate in athletic activities; physicals for bus drivers; forms relating to do-not-resuscitate orders; forms excusing a potential jury member due to an illness; death certificates; workers’ compensation forms; forms relating to absenteeism for employment or school purposes; and authorizations for durable medical equipment.
Effective July 31, 2017.

Mandatory Usage of Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (SB 339/Act 820): Requires checking the PDMP each time a prescription for Schedule II or III opioid is written and the first time for a benzodiazepine.
Effective July 31, 2017.

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