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May 2016
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  • ISMS-Backed Bill Gaining Traction; Dangerous Scope Expansion Bills Must Be Stopped
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    In the anticipated final weeks of the General Assembly’s spring session, here’s a status report on legislation important to medicine:

    • Pregnant women, patients with certain health conditions must be protected from surprise network changes

    Illinois lawmakers recently introduced ISMS-backed legislation to take on insurance companies and defend patients' rights by ensuring that networks are adequate, accessible and transparent. Although just launched in late April, the bipartisan proposal has already attracted more than 20 co-sponsors.

    The Network Adequacy and Transparency Act ( House Bill 6562) would require insurers to develop networks that meet the needs of patients for plans sold in Illinois. Insurers would also be required to maintain up-to-date directories of "in-network" health professionals and facilities, and communicate with patients when there are changes to networks.

    The bill would ensure continuity of care for pregnant women and patients with certain other conditions, protecting them from being forced to transition away from their physicians when networks change.

    ISMS is aggressively working to enact House Bill 6562! Watch ISMS President Thomas M. Anderson, MD, participate in the Springfield press conference announcing the legislation; read ISMS' News Release and a Summary of House Bill 6562.

    • Certified midwives continue to push for licensure

    Proposed legislation ( House Bill 4364) would license “certified midwives” to provide unsupervised home birthing services and a wide range of other services for a pregnant woman and a newborn – all without the support of medical technology or other qualified professionals. These services are distinctly medical in nature, such as using pharmaceuticals to control hemorrhaging.

    ISMS and several other medical specialty groups serving children and women strongly oppose this legislation due to the significant risks that come with home births performed by unqualified individuals. House Bill 4364 simply does not establish adequate educational requirements to create a newly licensed profession.

    The legislation is now referred to the Rules Committee, but could still advance during this session. Read ISMS’ position paper on House Bill 4364 and check here for the latest updates.

    • Optometrists seek to perform surgery, give medication by injection

    ISMS opposes dangerous legislation that would allow optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures and administer medications by injection. This legislation is not in patients' best interest and actually threatens their safety!

    One proposed procedure to be performed by optometrists is the chalazion treatment, which could require an incision on the inner lid of the eye. Injections, including subcutaneous, subconjunctival and intramuscular injections, would also be allowed.

    The bill has been placed on the Calendar Order of 3rd Reading, which is the final review period prior to being called for a Senate vote.

    Call to Action: Please contact your state representative and state senator and urge him or her to vote NO on Senate Bill 2899.

    For the latest, stay tuned to the Legislative Action Hub and watch future editions of Physician Advocate.

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