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Encouraging News from Healthcare Conference Committee

Posted on 12/6/2020 in State Legislative News

As previously reported, the Massachusetts Senate and House passed healthcare reform bills this summer that contained language for independent practice authority for Nurse Practitioners in Massachusetts after a 2 -year period of supervised practice by either an MD or NP with independent practice authority.

The House and Senate bills remain before a 6 member conference committee who has been charged with reconciling them into a single compromise bill.

According to an update this week from the State House News Service, the committee is making progress:

House-Senate negotiators are "close" to a deal on health care legislation dealing with access to telehealth services in Massachusetts, according to one top member of the conference committee.

"We're close. We're close. About two, three issues that we're working on," Majority Leader Ron Mariano, the House's lead negotiator on the bill, told the News Service as he left the State House Thursday afternoon.
The Quincy Democrat said some of the "bigger" differences between the House and Senate bills (H 4916 / S 2796) had been "solved," and there was "mostly a lot of little stuff" to be worked out by the six-lawmaker panel.

Mariano would not discuss specifics of the executive-session talks, but said the group has met around 10 or 12 times. The panel was appointed in July, and as of early October they had not yet held their first meeting.

He also spoke of the difficulty of COVID-era negotiations on Beacon Hill.
"It's hard to negotiate when you're on a Zoom call, you know? You don't get instant feedback. So it's tough ... You end up waiting to see things in print, because you don't sit across the table and exchange," he said.

This is very encouraging news and consistent with information already provided by our lobbying team. This makes us hopeful that the legislature will be able to pass a compromise healthcare reform bill that contains our FPA language prior to the end of the formal session on 01/04/2021.
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