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The ISMA identifies priorities, issues to watch at the Statehouse
e-Reports, Jan. 13, 2014
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The 2014 General Assembly opened Jan. 7, and ISMA goals for the session have been determined by resolutions your delegates adopted at the September annual convention. Those legislative priorities include:

  • Granting Indiana schools voluntary access to auto-injectable epinephrine
  • Scheduling Tramadol as a controlled substance
  • Requiring insulin to be available by prescription only
  • Prohibiting all-products clauses in provider contracts and ensuring “exchange” plans are considered new products

Rep. Steve Davisson, R-Salem, has agreed to author bills on insulin and all-products clauses for the ISMA. In provider contracts, many insurers require accepting patients in all of their plans or none, prompting Greg Quin, M.D., and Robert Flint, M.D., to submit Resolution 13-44 during our September convention. See the resolution on the ISMA website (member login required).

Last year, the ISMA, as directed by your resolutions, secured continued funding of the Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection and Tracking program – or INSPECT – and helped pass a measure establishing the POST form to expedite physician orders for scope of treatment (see the Dec. 9 cover story here.)

Azad with Ponds
Cami Pond, R.N., ISMA President Deepak Azad, M.D., and William Pond, M.D., during Organization Day, Nov. 19 at the Statehouse.

As this session began, ISMA Director of Government Relations Mike Rinebold noted, “This will be the first General Assembly since 1978 that Rep. Phyllis Pond will not be in her seat.” Rep. Pond, R-New Haven, passed away Sept. 22. She was the longest-serving female representative in state history. Her son, William Pond, M.D., is a frequent ISMA convention delegate and his wife, Cami Pond, is a past president of the ISMA Alliance.

“We are saddened by Rep. Pond’s death and extend our condolences to her family and friends in the Fort Wayne area,” Rinebold said.

Along with their Statehouse advocacy efforts, ISMA staff will continue traveling the state this winter, educating physician groups about new rules for prescribing controlled substances for pain. The rules became effective Dec. 15; for more details, see the ISMA Controlled Sustance Prescribing page.

Issues, potential bills to watch
Along with the ISMA’s own priorities, several issues will demand attention because of their potential impact. As always, ISMA staff and leaders will be at the Statehouse each day advocating for the well-being of you and your patients. Read upcoming weekly issues of Legislative News for updates.

Biologics – Last year’s HB 1315 was heard in summer study committee and will again be considered. The ISMA is concerned about appropriate communication when a pharmacist substitutes a biosimilar for a biologic, just as when generics are substituted for brand drugs. In contrast to drugs that are chemically synthesized and whose structure is known, most biologics are complex mixtures not easily identified or characterized, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Patient Compensation Fund (PCF) payments – The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association is seeking to increase the frequency of PCF payments from two times a year to four. The ISMA remains neutral on this change.

Telehealth/telemedicine – Discussions have been heard regulating use of telemedicine to establish a patient/physician relationship. These talks may lead to a bill addressing concerns and defining the relationship, which now must be established with an in-person initial visit. Authorization for a pilot program in Indiana may be considered during session, allowing even first visits to occur through telehealth under controlled environments.

Anesthesia assistants – The ISMA supports efforts to establish a new license type to enhance anesthesia care teams. A bill was vetoed last year when the anesthesia assistant license was combined with two other license types and the governor did not choose to address the issue.

Medicaid expansion – A bill on expansion was defeated last year; however, a similar bill is expected this year. The governor will meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss further expansion of the HIP program, which has been extended through 2014. The governor’s meeting with HHS will be to authorize Indiana to use HIP for Medicaid expansion beyond 2014.

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