Each year, G.S. Proctor & Associates compiles for our clients a detailed report analyzing key developments in the legislative process affecting the issues and industries that matter most in the state of Maryland.
Here is a breakdown of this year’s key developments in healthcare. Select a link below to see additional areas of interest or download a PDF of the full report here.
With an ongoing pandemic, healthcare was a prominent issue this Legislative Session. The House gave its unanimous approval to a bill that would help protect former patients from aggressive debt collection actions by the State’s hospitals. Supporters of the bill made claims that hospitals could have done better with free and reduced-cost care options. The approved legislation, despite opposition of the Maryland Hospital Association, reduces the number of people who are driven into bankruptcy hospital lawsuits.
Despite a series of challenges with the rollout of the state’s COVID-19 recovery and vaccination efforts, the leadership of the Maryland Department of Health saw a change with the approved nomination of Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. Even though Secretary Schrader was nominated four years ago without success, he continued to work for the agency before becoming the Acting Secretary after former Secretary Robert Neall’s departure.
Another public health bill that set parameters for expanding the use of telehealth in the State was House Bill 123, which received support from the majority of the State leaders. The bill sets guidelines for Medicaid and private health insurers to pay for telehealth services, and the bill has a two-year sunset provision.
With the pandemic limiting access to routine healthcare for many Marylanders, there are more than 1,100 pharmacies and nearly 3,300 pharmacists licensed in the State of Maryland who can provide the necessary care that Maryland patients need. To help combat the pandemic and future public health crises, legislators supported House Bill 1040 / Senate Bill 736 to expand pharmacist immunization authority to include the administration of all U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines.
To further improve access to care for patients in our state, the Maryland Pharmacists Association successfully advocated to allow pharmacists to administer maintenance injectable medications resulting in increased treatment access to high-risk patient populations such as those with mental health illness and opioid dependence. By expanding pharmacist vaccination authority, this would increase options for patients to receive recommended immunizations in safe medical settings.