OPPA Government Relations Director
The 2015 legislative session is half-way over. At this point, all of the bills that have not moved out of the committee/chamber that they originated in are officially dead. Below is an update on the priority bills that OPPA has been following.
Mental Health Drugs
HB2421: This bill would have made mental health drugs subject to the Practitioner-Managed Prescription Drug Plan. OPPA, NAMI, CCO’s and other stakeholders were unable to come up with a compromise and Representative Greenlick as chair of the Health Care Committee decided not to proceed with the bill this session. It will likely be re-introduced next session.
Civil Commitment Issues
HB3249: This bill would have authorized courts to initiate civil commitment proceedings if a person is unable or refuses to comply with an order of outpatient treatment. There were several bills this session that addressed civil commitment proceedings in Oregon. Bills were introduced in the House Health Care and the House Judiciary Committee. The Chairs of the committees have requested that a work group be created to discuss these issues and come back with legislative concepts for next session.
HB3347: This bill modifies the definition of a “person with a mental illness”. The original text of the bill made multiple changes to the references in statute of gravely disabled. The bill was amended after receiving significant opposition and now simply expands the “person with mental illness” definition to include “unable to provide for basic personal needs that are necessary to avoid serious physical harm in the near future, and is not receiving such care as is necessary to avoid such harm” language. The amended version HB3347A passed out of the House Health Care Committee and has been sent for a full House floor vote.
Payment-Mental Health Services
HB3358: This bill prohibited discrimination by insurance companies for mental health services. Essentially, when performing the same services, social workers, therapists, and psychologists would have been required to be paid the same amount as psychiatrists. OPPA strongly opposed this bill, after working with the Social Workers, OMA, and Chair Greenlick, we were able to get this bill pulled from the committee agenda and it never received a hearing. It is officially dead at this point.
HB3427: This bill originally created a tiered payment system fro insurance companies when reimbursing for mental health services. Physicians would have been at 100%, psychologists at 95%, and social workers and therapists at 80%. OPPA was supportive of this concept, which was introduced by the Social Workers. The psychologists however opposed the bill and the language was replaced with task force requirements. HB3427A, creates a task force that will study and make recommendations for payment structure for the reimbursement by insurers of licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists, family physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists. Each profession receives two seats on the task force. Physician representation is described as: a representative of a professional association for psychiatrists and a representative of a professional association for physicians. The bill passed out of the House Health Care Committee and is moving to the House floor for a vote.
CCOs-Mental Health Services
SB832: This bill was originally required the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to set standards for coordinated care organizations (CCOs) to integrate delivery of mental health services with physical health services. It directed OHA to provide grants until June 30, 2017, to CCOs meeting the standards and defined “integrated behavioral health care.” It also required CCOs to offer qualified mental health providers to members and barred CCOs from restricting member access to mental health services while requiring integrated services at one location. The proposal received concerns from many groups and the bill was amended and the appropriation to OHA and grant-making authority was removed. The language requiring CCOs to offer access to mental health providers, prohibiting restrictions on access, and requiring services at one location was also deleted. SB832A received a referral to the Rules Committee-which keeps the bill alive but does not move it on to the Senate floor. This usually indicates continued controversy regarding the bill and likely more amendments.
SB132: This bill expands the crime of assault in third degree to include physical injury to health care provider in hospital. The bill was sent to the Senate Health Care Committee where it was amended to define health care provider as a person who provides or assists in providing health care services in hospital. The bill had a subsequent referral to Judiciary so it has passed out of the Health Care Committee but has to go to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further scrutiny before it will be voted on by the full Senate and then over to the House.