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House Committee Passes Legislation to Provide Certainty for Health Care Providers

September 16, 2020

Today, the Pennsylvania House Health Committee passed legislation supporting the health care community in providing care for patients after the COVID-19 pandemic has come under control. The Retaining Healthcare Innovations Act, House Bill 2779, sponsored by Representative Chris Quinn (R-Delaware), ensures that the transition is a gradual return to health care practices for both the provider and the patient by extending waivers and administrative flexibilities for 90 days beyond the end of the emergency declaration.

During Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration, state-level waivers and administrative flexibilities have provided the necessary tools for the health care community to respond to COVID-19 efficiently and effectively, while also allowing for the continuation of care unrelated to the pandemic. To prevent another abrupt change to the health care delivery system like the one when the pandemic began during March, HB 2779 allows providers to gradually resume providing health care and plan for the future while ensuring the continuation of care for patients.

Some of these flexibilities include:

  • Telehealth advancements—allowing for telephonic visits, paying for a service at the same rate that would be paid for a similar in-person visit, and continuing to allow for non-traditional telehealth platforms
  • Facility licensure—allowing hospitals the ability to streamline the process to provide services in other health care facilities and sites that would not otherwise be considered part of a health care facility
  • Workforce-expanding provider licensing to increase patient access to care—allowing supervisory requirements among practitioners to be determined at the practice level, and permitting the provision of services through telehealth

HAP supported legislation that would extend these flexibilities for ninety days past the end of the emergency declaration and directs the Joint State Government Commission to make recommendations on which waivers and flexibilities should remain in place permanently. The bill also is supported by coalition of provider groups.

For more information contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.