2021 Legislative Agenda

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Stay up to date on bills impacting Indiana hospitals this session. View IHA's bill trac​​k here >>​​​

Disaster Immunity from Liability

  • Once the Governor declared a public health emergency, certain liability immunity was triggered under current state law (these liability protections extend to individuals during the emergency).
  • Although it certainly helps, they were put in place to protect only licensed health practitioners, but the response to COVID has required individuals to step up at every level and in every capacity, not just state licensed practitioners.
  • Even within protections for licensed practitioners, there could be specific scope of practice issues that arise based on our “all hands on deck” approach necessary to address COVID.
  • IHA, ISMA, and state business groups have joined together to file legislation to expand the protections to include everyone stepping up, in some capacity, to help the state’s response to COVID.
  • This is an issue for many; not just health care. Most industries have had to pivot in some way to respond to and adapt to the COVID pandemic, which may open them up to liability as well.
  • It is important to note that the protections we seek do not include immunity from gross negligence and willful misconduct.
  • ​Read more about bills SB 1 and HB 1002​.

​​Telemedicine Expansion

  • ​T​hroughout the public health emergency, telemedicine flexibilities have been extremely critical to ensuring all Hoosiers are able to receive care when they need it most. To continue this momentum permanently moving forward, state legislation will be necessary. Specific flexibilities hospitals would like to retain include:
    • Expanding the list of services that can be provided via telemedicine and reimbursement for those services;
    • Allowing audio-only telemedicine in certain instances including for those who are unable to establish a video connection;
    • Repealing face-to-face requirements of certain healthcare services such as mental health services and substance use disorder treatment;
    • Allowing physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists to practice telemedicine;
    • Allowing telemedicine to be used for prescribing of controlled substances in certain circumstances such as substance use disorder treatment.

Cigarette Tax Increas​e

  • Hospitals urge the Indiana General Assembly to raise the cigarette tax (both traditional cigarette products and vaping/e-cigarettes) to reduce Indiana’s high smoking rate and improve our state’s health metrics.
  • The pandemic showed us just how critical it is to have a healthy population. Unfortunately, it became clear that Indiana citizens who had underlying chronic health conditions had a harder time fighting off COVID-19 and too many Hoosiers’ lives were lost due to Indiana’s poor health metrics.
  • In 2015, Indiana led the country in sustainable funding for road infrastructure with the passage of a billion dollar road infrastructure plan. Traditional infrastructure investments led to a return on investment for Indiana. Likewise, investment in Indiana’s health infrastructure can produce the same results for Hoosiers, employers, and state government. More importantly, it will save Hoosier lives and lead to a better quality of life for our citizens.

 Surprise Billing and Good Faith Estimates

  • As supported by IHA, HEA 1004 from the 2020 legislative session includes provisions limiting surprise billing and requires hospitals to provide patients with a good faith price estimate for certain procedures.
  • The language of this legislation inconsistently references important terms, such as “price” and “charge,” and hospitals are working to clarify state law to ensure these requirements can be implemented consistently.
  • ​Recent changes to federal law also impact these topics; it will be important to make sure that any statutory changes at the state level are consistent with the federal law.