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PA Modernization Bill - HB284 - December Activity

Very little progress was made during December on HB284.  OAPA was disappointed to learn that HB284 was not on the agenda for the House Health Committee hearing on December 7.  The APNs were in discussion with Chair Wachtmann to modify their bill (SB83) with regard to the site restrictions for Schedule II prescribing so he did not hear either bill (even though we have not had any discussions with him about modifying our bill).

Since HB284 was not on the Health Committee agenda OAPA spent that week in meetings.  OAPA representatives met with Senator Hite to encourage him to introduce the PA companion bill in the Senate before the end of the year.  They next met with lobbyists from the OSMA to make sure that we have addressed all their concerns with HB284 and the OSMA indicated they would at a minimum remain neutral on the bill.

OAPA also met with Representatives Letson and Gonzales (co-sponsors) just to touch base and ask them to encourage the Chair to continue to hear HB284 regardless of what was going on with the APN bill.

Chair Wachtmann put both bills on the agenda for December 14.  Early that week OAPA learned that there were proposed amendments to both bills (SB83 and HB284) with regard to site restrictions.  The Chair's amendments would add additional sites in both bills (i.e., FQHCs) and he also proposed some amendments to the APN bill that were sought by others (i.e, additional discipline guidelines wanted by the Nursing Board).  To OAPA’s dismay, the Chair was also going to include an amendment in the PA bill that would prohibit PAs from inserting or removing intrauterine devices.

At the Health Committee hearing the OAPA lobbyist had asked several committee members to question why the IUD amendment would prohibit something that is currently in the PA law, and has been since 2006.

During the hearing, the Chair first called bills with sponsor testimony that took a considerable amount of time.  The committee then had a heated discussion on health care insurance which resulted in gavel pounding and one Representative storming out.

The Chair called the APN bill and the Health Committee accepted three amendments to their bill (added FQHC sites, hospital affiliated entity sites and additional discipline guidelines).  There was no vote on the bill itself.

The next bill heard was on human cloning and three college professors testified taking almost an hour.  By that time, all but 4 committee members were gone and our sponsor (Gonzales) had been called to another meeting.  Chair Wachtmann told OAPA that, without Rep. Gonzales and the other committee members, it wasn't possible to entertain site-addition amendments so he wouldn't at that hearing.  It would count as a 4th hearing, though.  There was no vote on the bill.  Needless to say, we were very disappointed.

Chair Wachtmann intends to hear, and vote out, both bills in January 2012.  He has scheduled an interested party meeting on SB83 for mid-January so we do know that it is not likely that either bill will receive hearings prior to that.  We also won't know until then if he still plans on asking for the IUD amendment. 

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