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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 14, 2020 10:09 AM
From: Representative Christopher B. Quinn
To: All House members
Subject: Retaining Health Care Innovations Act
As healthcare providers and practitioners work around the clock to prepare for and respond to COVID-19, declarations at both the federal and state level permitted administrative agencies to take steps to allow our essential health care workers to respond to the emergency at hand.
While the emergency declaration may end at a time uncertain, Pennsylvania’s health care community and the manner in which patients receive care has changed for good. However, with the end of the declaration, many regulatory waivers and administrative flexibilities that consumers and health care providers have come to rely upon will abruptly end, raising two significant concerns.
The first concern is that the virus remains a threat absent a vaccine, and failing to maintain the waivers and flexibilities will make it more difficult for the health care community to respond effectively and an abrupt stop will be equally disruptive to the delivery of health care. The second is that consumers are now accustomed to these flexibilities—especially relating to telehealth—and the progress and momentum in this area and others will be squandered if they are allowed to lapse.
That is why I am proposing legislation that will set a clear timeline for the termination of waivers and administrative flexibilities afforded to health care providers and practitioners for one year after the end of the COVID-19 emergency declaration. It will also direct the Joint State Government Committee, with the assistance of a health care professionals and administrative officials, to make recommendations as to which waivers and administrative flexibilities should remain permanently in place.
Some examples of waivers and flexibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Telehealth Advancements—Allowing for telephonic visits in the event that a patient does not have the means to connect via video, paying for the 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 healthcare providers the ability to streamline the process to provide services in other healthcare facilities and sites that would not otherwise be considered part of a healthcare facility.

  • 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. Prior Authorization—Suspending prior authorization requirements for selected services in both the Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care delivery systems.
Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB2779