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MPA retains a professional lobbying firm to represent the interests of consumers and providers in the Commonwealth. We track bills and regulations to be sure that interests of the citizens are represented appropriately. 
 
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APA Advocacy Page  (with links to the many different APA Initiatives)

 

MPA’s Federal Advocacy Work

·         MPA advocates for mental health parity to the Federal Task Force on Parity (September 22, 2016)

·         MPA supports the elimination of barriers to the CDC’s funding of research on gun violence

(September 1, 2016)

·         Urge your legislator to support the Medicare Mental Health Access Act (February 11, 2016)

·         MPA Advocates for regulations to allow psychologists to determine necessity for                    inpatient substance abuse treatment (June 30, 2015)

 

2017-2018 Legislative Session

 

MPA’s Legislative Agenda for the Current Session

Find your state legislators and register to vote or update your information online

Brush up on your knowledge of the legislative process with this easy guide to how a bill becomes law in Massachusetts

Click on the bill numbers to read the full text, learn more about where it is in the legislative process, and who supports it

 

Top 3 Priorities for this Legislative Session

1.      Anti-clawback legislation

H. 2193 and S. 582, An Act to limit retroactive denials of health insurance claims for mental health and substance abuse services.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. James O’Day (D) of the 14th Worcester District (representing parts of Worcester and West Boylston) and Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D) of the 1st Bristol and Plymouth District (representing part of Southern Massachusetts)

·         Sets a limit of 6 months on the ability of a health care plan to retroactively retract payments made in good faith (also referred to as clawbacks). 

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Sen. James Eldridge (D) of the Middlesex and Worcester District (representing part of Central Massachusetts) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D) of the 3rd Suffolk District (representing part of Boston)

·         A hearing was held on May 16, 2017.  MPA Board of Director, Susan Rudman, Ed.D. and MPA member David Bullis, Ph.D. provided oral testimony in support of the bill, regarding their personal experience with clawbacks.  Dr. Jennifer Warkentin, MPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, submitted written testimony on behalf of MPA in support of the bill.  Learn more by reading our Legislative Update on the bill, which includes a description of the hearing, and Dr. Warkentin’s written testimony.

·         ACTION ALERT – You can help us advocate for limits to clawbacks!  Read our recent update on contacting your state legislators and take action today!

·         Reported favorably by the committee.  H.2193 extended the time limit from 6 months to 12 months, and became H.4315.  We are still reviewing the new text for any additional changes.  On March 22, 2018, it was sent to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

 

2.      Telehealth parity

S. 1095, An Act relative to behavioral health telemedicine.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. Ruth Balser (D) of the 12th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton) and Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D) of the Worcester and Middlesex District (representing part of Northern Central Massachusetts)

·        Requires health plans to cover the same behavioral health and substance abuse services via telehealth as they do for in-person sessions, and at the same rate as in-person sessions. 

·       Referred to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, chaired by Sen. Cindy Friedman (D) of the Fourth Middlesex District (representing areas northwest of Boston) and Rep. Denise Garlick (D) of the 13th Norfolk District (representing part of Northern Suffolk County)

·         A hearing was held on June 5, 2017.  MPA’s Executive Director, Mr. Brian Doherty, provided both oral and written testimony in support of the bill.  Learn more by reading our Legislative Update on the bill, which includes a description of the hearing, and Mr. Doherty’s written testimony.

·         Still being reviewed by the committee. MPA will continue to advocate in meetings with legislative committee members and staff that the committee recommend the bill favorably to advance it to the next level of the process.

 

H. 2156 and S. 527, An Act relative to telemedicine.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. Ruth Balser (D) of the 12th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton) and Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D) of the Worcester and Middlesex District (representing part of Northern Central Massachusetts)

·         Expands the changes to Chapter 175 of the General Laws, which stated that coverage of telehealth must be consistent with coverage of in-person, to Chapter 176B, which regulates non-profit health plans. 

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Sen. James Eldridge (D) of the Middlesex and Worcester District (representing part of central Massachusetts) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D) of the 3rd Suffolk District (representing part of Boston)

·         A hearing was held on July 18, 2017.  Dr. Jennifer Warkentin, MPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, testified on behalf of MPA in support of the bill.  Read our Legislative Update on the bill, which includes a description of the hearing, and Dr. Warkentin’s written testimony.

·         Reported favorably by the committee.  MPA will continue to advocate for this bill in meetings with legislative committee members and staff.

 

3.      Continuity of coverage

H. 484 and S. 552, An Act relative to the continuity of care of mental health treatment.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. Ruth Balser (D) of the 12th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton) and Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) of the 2nd Essex and Middlesex District (representing part of Northern Massachusetts)

·         Requires continued coverage of mental health services with an “out-of-network” provider with whom the patient already has an ongoing treatment relationship if the provider accepts the in-network payment rate and complies with the insurer’s reasonable administrative requirements.

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Sen. James Eldridge (D) of the Middlesex and Worcester District (representing part of central Massachusetts) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D) of the 3rd Suffolk District (representing part of Boston)

·         A hearing was held on September 18, 2017.  Mr. Brian Doherty, MPA’s Executive Director provided oral testimony on behalf of MPA in support of the bill, and Dr. Jennifer Warkentin, MPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, provided written testimony.  More information about the hearing is coming soon.   

·         Still being reviewed by the committee. MPA will continue to advocate in meetings with legislative committee members and staff that the committee recommend the bill favorably to advance it to the next level of the process.

 

Other Legislation of Interest:

H. 2430 and S. 1179, An Act relative to facilitating the utilization of psychologists on the health care team.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. Ruth Balser (D) of the 12th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton) and Sen. Cynthia Creem (D) of the 1st Middlesex and Norfolk District (representing some cities west of Boston)

·         Adds psychologists to the list of providers whose written instructions nurses may follow in hospitals and other skilled nursing facilities.

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health, chaired by Sen. Jason Lewis (D) of the 5th Middlesex District (representing some cities north of Boston) and Rep. Kate Hogan (D) of the 3rd Middlesex District (representing part of Central Massachusetts)

·         A hearing was held on November 7, 2017.  MPA member Dennis Girard provided oral testimony, and Dr. Jennifer Warkentin, MPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, submitted written testimony.  More information about the hearing is coming soon.

·         H.2430 was reported favorably by the committee on March 9, 2018 and referred to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.  MPA will continue to advocate for the bill in meetings with legislative committee members and staff.

 

H. 1060, An Act relative to increasing access to psychological services.

·         Primary sponsor: Rep. Ruth Balser (D) of the 12th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton)

·         Allows MassHealth to reimburse psychologists in independent practice for psychotherapy services and appropriate supervision of clinical providers. 

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, chaired by Sen. Cindy Friedman (D) of the Fourth Middlesex District (representing areas northwest of Boston) and Rep. Denise Garlick (D) of the 13th Norfolk District (representing part of Northern Suffolk County)

·         A hearing was held on June 19, 2017.  Dr. Jennifer Warkentin, MPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, provided both oral and written testimony in support of the bill.  Learn more by reading our Legislative Update on the bill, which includes a description of the hearing, and Dr. Warkentin’s written testimony.   

·         Still being reviewed by the committee, and the reporting date was extended to May 4, 2018. MPA will continue to advocate in meetings with legislative committee members and staff that the committee recommend the bill favorably to advance it to the next level of the process.

 

H. 2866 and S. 58, An Act to provide equal access to evaluations for children with disabilities.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. James O’Day (D) of the 14th Worcester District (representing parts of Worcester and West Boylston) and Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D) of the 2nd Essex and Middlesex District (representing part of Northern Massachusetts)

·         Requires state-set rates for educational evaluations to reflect actual market rates and to be adjusted regularly and fairly. 

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Education, chaired by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D) of the 2nd Suffolk District (representing part of Boston) and Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch (D) of the 14th Norfolk District (representing some cities west of Boston)

·         A hearing was held on July 11, 2017.  Dr. Jennifer Warkentin, MPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, provided both oral and written testimony in support of the bill.  Learn more by reading our Legislative Update on the bill, which includes a description of the hearing, and Dr. Warkentin’s written testimony.

·        H.2866 was reported favorably by the committee on February 8, 2018, and referred to the Joint Committee on House Ways and Means.

 

H. 2947 and S. 528, An Act to increase consumer transparency about insurance provider networks.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. Christine Barber (D) of the 34th Middlesex District (representing part of Medford and Somerville) and Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D) of the Worcester and Middlesex District (representing part of Northern Central Massachusetts)

·         Requires health plans to keep accurate and current provider directories and make transparent their process and criteria for creating their provider network.

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Sen. James Eldridge (D) of the Middlesex and Worcester District (representing part of central Massachusetts) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D) of the 3rd Suffolk District (representing part of Boston)

·         A hearing was held on May 16, 2017.  Dr. Jennifer Warkentin, MPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, provided both oral and written testimony in support of the bill.  Learn more by reading our Legislative Update on the bill, which includes a description of the hearing, and Dr. Warkentin’s written testimony.

·        Still being reviewed by the committee, and the reporting date was extended to May 9, 2018. MPA will continue to advocate in meetings with legislative committee members and staff that the committee recommend the bill favorably to advance it to the next level of the process.

 

H. 1070 and S. 1093, An Act to further define medical necessity determinations.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. Kay Kahn (D) of the 11th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton) and Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D) of the Worcester and Middlesex District (representing part of Northern Central Massachusetts)

·         Requires health plans to allow clinicians make the determination of whether a service is medically necessary for a patient, instead of health plans drafting their own criteria and definitions for each service.

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, chaired by Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D) of the Worcester and Middlesex District (representing part of Northern Central Massachusetts) and Rep. Denise Garlick (D) of the 13th Norfolk District (representing part of Northern Suffolk County)

·         A hearing was held on June 5, 2017.  Mr. Brian Doherty, MPA’s Executive Director, provided both oral and written testimony in support of the bill.  Learn more by reading our Legislative Update on the bill, which includes a description of the hearing, and Mr. Doherty’s written testimony.

·         Still being reviewed by the committee. MPA will continue to advocate in meetings with legislative committee members and staff that the committee recommend the bill favorably to advance it to the next level of the process.

 

H. 487, An Act relative to the transparency of mental health benefits.

·         Primary sponsor: Rep. Ruth Balser (D) of the 12th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton)

·         Allows state agencies to monitor health plan denial of service for behavioral health services and size of the provider network, and track number of patients who are unable to schedule an appointment with a behavioral health provider

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Sen. James Eldridge (D) of the Middlesex and Worcester District (representing part of central Massachusetts) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D) of the 3rd Suffolk District (representing part of Boston)

·         Still being reviewed by the committee, and the reporting date was extended to May 9, 2018. MPA will continue to advocate in meetings with legislative committee members and staff that the committee recommend the bill favorably to advance it to the next level of the process.

 

H. 2960 and S. 591, An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare.

·         Primary sponsors: Rep. Karen Spilka (D) of the 2nd Middlesex District (representing some cities and towns southwest of Boston) and Sen. Kate Hogan (D) of the 3rd Middlesex District (representing part of Central Massachusetts)

·         Allows consumers who are not the primary beneficiary of a health plan to be able to have explanation of benefits (EOBs), reimbursement checks, and similar communication sent to a different address than the primary beneficiary.

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Sen. James Eldridge (D) of the Middlesex and Worcester District (representing part of central Massachusetts) and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D) of the 3rd Suffolk District (representing part of Boston)

·         Both bills were reported favorably by the committee on September 5, 2017 and referred to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.  On February 5, 2018, the committee on Health Care Financing recommended that S.591 ought to pass and referred it to the Committee on Senate Ways and Means.  On February 8, 2018, the committee on Senate Ways and Means recommended it ought to pass with an amendment, and the bill became S.2296.  It then went through several readings and the amendments were reviewed.  On February 14, 2018, the Senate passed the revised bill.

·         On February 15, 2018, H.2960 was sent to the committee on House Ways and Means, who then recommended it ought to pass with an amendment and sent it to the committee on House Steering, Policy, and Scheduling.  A new version was the bill was issued, H.4256, and it was again discussed and amendments were reviewed.  On March 21, the House concurred with the Senate amendment.

·        On March 22, 2018, bill was enacted and sent to Governor Baker.

 

H.4014 (formerly H. 1190) and S. 62, An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation, and gender identity in minors.

·         Primary sponsors: Sen. Mark Montigny (D) of the 2nd Bristol and Plymouth District (representing part of Southeastern Massachusetts) and Rep. Kay Kahn (D) of the 11th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton)

·         Bans licensed mental health providers from the practice of conversion therapy to change the gender identity or sexual orientation of minors.

·         Referred to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, chaired by Sen. Cindy Friedman (D) of the Fourth Middlesex District (representing areas northwest of Boston) and Rep. Kay Kahn (D) of the 11th Middlesex District (representing part of Newton)

·         A hearing was held on June 6, 2017, and Mr. Brian Doherty, MPA’s Executive Director, provided both oral and written testimony in support of the bill.  Learn more by reading our legislative update, which includes a description of the hearing, and Mr. Doherty’s written testimony.

·         The bill was reported favorably by the committee on July 13, 2017 and referred to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, chaired by Sen. James Welch of the Hampden District (representing parts of Southern Central Massachusetts) and Rep. Peter Kocot of the 1st Hampshire District (representing parts of Southern West Massachusetts). 

·         The Committee on Health Care Financing reported favorably on the bill on November 8, 2017. 

·         The Senate then referred S.62 to the Senate Committee on Rules, chaired by Sen. Mark Montigny of the Second Bristol and Plymouth District (representing New Bedford and nearby towns). 

·         The House recommended the bill favorably with an amendment pending, now listed as H.4014.  It was referred to the committee on House Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez of the 15th Suffolk District (representing parts of Boston and Brookline).  The pending amendment would require a working panel of senators, representatives, clinicians, and health plan representatives to consider the addition of limiting clawbacks to a specific time period.

MPA is advocating in meetings with legislative committee members and staff to move favorably on the bill.

more MPA Events

5/3/2018
Anti-Clawback Event at the State House

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