The Healthcare Huddle is open to anyone who is dedicated to obtaining quality, affordable healthcare for all Marylanders. We hold monthly meetings, partner with other health focused organizations, and advocate for legislation on the state and county level. We promote values and rights that foster inclusivity, fairness, safety, affordability, and equal access to healthcare in our communities. We vow to turn our collective energy into action and advocate on a range of issues, particularly those that pertain to overall health and wellness in all aspects of our communities including our families and ourselves. You can visit our Facebook page, attend an upcoming meeting, and follow our posts on this page. Please join us and make your voice heard, email email@example.com for more information.
2020 Priority Legislation for Healthcare Huddle
- Time to Care Act (SB 539 / HB 839) – Legislation establishing a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program would make paid leave available to Maryland workers for up to 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child and when needed to provide care for a family member or oneself. The leave would be funded through an insurance pool, into which workers and their employers contribute.
- End of Life Option (SB 701 / HB 643) – Authorizing an individual to request aid in dying by making specified requests; prohibiting another individual from requesting aid in dying on behalf of an individual; requiring a written request for aid in dying to meet specified requirements; establishing specified requirements for witnesses to a written request for aid in dying; requiring a written request for aid in dying to be in a specified form; etc.
- Health Insurance – Coverage for Mental Health Benefits and Substance Abuse Disorder Benefits – Treatment Criteria (Parity) (SB 334 / HB 445) – Requires that health insurers submit annual parity compliance reports and includes a range of transparency and consumer protection provisions. Requiring certain carriers, on or before March 1 each year, to submit a report to the Maryland Insurance Commissioner to demonstrate the carrier’s compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act; requiring a carrier, on or before March 1 each year, to submit a report to the Commissioner on certain data for certain benefits by certain classification; establishing the Parity Enforcement and Education Fund to provide funds to support and conduct outreach to inform certain consumers of certain rights; etc.
- The Patient’s Access to Integrative Health Care Act of 2020 – Would allow physicians and other health care professionals to use integrative diagnostic tests and treatment methods when they feel it is in the best interest of their patients as long as they fully disclose to the patient that the diagnostic test or treatment is an integrative approach and provide informed consent, and the treatment poses no greater risk than conventional medicine not outweighed by the potential benefits. This important legislation will be introduced before the next term of the Maryland Assembly and would allow each patient the right to determine which treatment is best for him or her! Such a choice is a patient’s right! It is his or her human right!Use this link to register for the legislative updates: https://msim-info.org/join-our-efforts/legislative-mailing-list/
- Ban Flavored Vaping Products in Maryland (HB 3 / SB 233) -Providing that certain licenses to manufacture, sell, buy, and store cigarettes, other tobacco products, and electronic smoking devices do not authorize the licensee to manufacture, ship, import, or sell into or within the State a flavored tobacco
product with a taste or smell of fruit, mint, candy, or other nontobacco flavors; providing that a public statement that cigarettes, other tobacco products, or electronic smoking devices have or produce a certain smell or taste is presumptive evidence that they are flavored tobacco products; etc.
SB 410 Ban Flavored Vaping Products in Maryland – Prohibiting the sale of an electronic smoking device that contains a natural or artificial flavor, other than tobacco; and establishing that a person who violates the Act is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days or both.
- INCREASE SCHOOL BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SUPPORTS TO IMPROVE STUDENT OUTCOMES – The Kirwan Commission issued a report in January 2019 that included a comprehensive set of strategies for enhancing school-based behavioral health services, which have been shown to improve student health and educational outcomes. In addressing the full range of Kirwan recommendations, the legislature must prioritize the adoption of, and ensure adequate funding for, those related to school behavioral health.
- Expansion of Crisis Team Capacity Across the State (SB 305 / HB 607) –Establishing the Crisis Intervention Team Center of Excellence in the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to provide technical support to local governments, law enforcement, public safety agencies, behavioral health
agencies, and crisis service providers and to develop and implement a crisis intervention model program; requiring the Office to appoint certain coordinators to the Center; requiring the Center to take certain actions; requiring a certain annual report; etc. HB 332 Comprehensive Crisis Response Centers increase availability and information – Providing that the list of emergency facilities the Maryland Department of Health is required to publish may include comprehensive crisis response centers, crisis stabilization centers, and crisis treatment centers.
- Maryland Medical Debt Protection Act – Delegate Robbyn Lewis is sponsor for this bill. Charity hospitals are pursuing and suing people for debts who are eligible for reduced cost or free care. Hospitals in MD filed over 140,000 lawsuits last year to get medical debt owed from patients; $240M from people who qualified for reduced price or free care. Cannot foreclose on someone’s home because they got sick and went to the hospital, Payment plans for healthcare debt should be enacted and created in such a way that people can afford to pay them back, Create payment plans, People are being pursued for medical debt that places them below poverty lines; protect low-income people from wage.
- Implicit Bias Training for All Physicians and Healthcare Workers -To help stem maternal mortality rates amongst African American women and minority women. Bill sponsored by Delegate Pena-Melnyk.
- Criminal Law – Abuse or Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult – Causing Severe Emotional Distress (SB 153 / HB 33) – Expands the definition of abuse as it relates to vulnerable adults to include severe emotional distress caused by another.
- Insulin Price Caps for Consumers (HB 134) – Requiring certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations to limit the cumulative amount a covered individual is required to pay on copayment or coinsurance for a covered prescription insulin drug to no more than $100, regardless of the amount or type of insulin needed to fill the covered individual’s prescriptions; applying the Act to all policies, contracts, and health benefit plans issued, delivered, or renewed in the State on or after January 1, 2021; etc.
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