Representative JIm Neely's Capitol Report
Greetings, friends of the 8th Legislative District!
General Assembly Approves Bill to Expand Access to Chiropractic Care (HB 1516)
Legislation approved this session by the General Assembly would require Medicaid to pay for a patient to visit a licensed chiropractor up to 20 times in a year. Supporters say the bill is an important step to give Medicaid recipients more options for treating pain. They say the change will lead to fewer patients becoming addicted to opioids, and will save the state money by getting away from other, more costly treatments.
House Bill 1516 would allow licensed chiropractors to be reimbursed for treatment of conditions currently covered under the MO HealthNet program. The bill’s sponsor said such services are currently covered by most private insurance carriers and Medicaid parts B and C on a limited basis. Currently, more than half of the states in the nation allow Medicaid recipients to receive chiropractic services.
As the sponsor of the legislation said, “Ultimately the goal of this legislation is to allow Medicaid recipients access to chiropractic health care providers at a lower cost and in many cases with better outcomes and overall reduction in opioid abuse.”
The sponsor said the bill would save money for the state as MO HealthNet patients would turn less often to opioid prescriptions and services from emergency rooms, hospitals, and physicians. The sponsor said the bill is part of a shift happening across health care to offer patients more options for treating pain or other chronic conditions.
Supporters note that the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a nonprofit responsible for accrediting hospitals, now requires hospitals seeking its accreditation to develop strategies to decrease opioid use and minimize related risks, and to offer patients at least one non-drug pain treatment option.
The bill now requires the governor’s signature to become law.
Legislation Signed into Law to Improve Women’s Health Care (HB 1252)
A bill that received strong bipartisan support from the legislature is designed to improve women’s health care and save lives and money for Missourians. The bill, which was signed into law by the governor, will add digital mammography and breast tomosynthesis to the definition of low-dose mammography screening.
Supporters of the change note that 3D imagery offers better cancer detection rates, which will help save lives while promoting more proactive and less costly treatment methods. The bill’s sponsor pointed out that 3D imagery shows 30 percent better cancer detection, with 41 percent more invasive cancers detected along with 15 percent fewer false positives.
As the sponsor said, “The success rates for breast tomosynthesis (3D) verses traditional x-rays are encouraging, and I believe this legislation will truly act to improve health care for women and men and serve as a life-saving measure.”
The legislation also requires insurance to cover more frequent mammograms for women from age 40 to 49. Current law requires insurance coverage for mammograms every two years for women age 40 to 49, unless a physician recommends more frequently, and a mammogram each year for women age 50 and over. The bill will require coverage for mammograms every year for women age 40 and over.
With the governor’s signature the bill is now set to become effective as law on August 28, 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, the legislation will also require reimbursement rates to accurately reflect the resource costs specific to each modality, including any increased resource cost of breast tomosynthesis.
Legislation Approved to Expand CBD Oil Treatment (SB 718)
Lawmakers gave final approval this session to legislation that would give medical professionals greater freedom to recommend CBD oil to treat intractable epilepsy. The bill was a bipartisan priority and was able to cross the legislative finish line on the final day of the regular session.
The legislation will enact language similar to what other states have in place to protect medical professionals from liability for recommending a Schedule I drug. The original bill approved by the legislature in 2014 to allow for the use of CBD did not contain such language, and the result is that some medical professionals have hesitated to recommend the use of the oil to patients. With the new protections in place, medical professionals would have the freedom to recommend CBD oil when it is the right treatment.
As the sponsor of the bill said, “Patients who can benefit from CBD oil deserve to have access to it, and we want our medical professionals to be able to recommend it when appropriate without fearing a lawsuit. This change can go a long way toward putting this life-altering medication into the hands of those who can greatly benefit from its use.”
The bill now requires the signature of the governor to become law.
Developing Missouri’s Workforce (HB 1415)
During the 2018 legislative session the General Assembly approved a measure meant to help spur the development of Missouri’s workforce. The legislation contains several provisions meant to better prepare young people for good-paying jobs.
One component of the bill would allow a teacher to count hours spent in a local business externship as contact hours of professional development. The bill is meant to encourage teachers to engage in learning experiences with businesses in the community and bring real world skills back into the classroom.
Another provision would provide students the opportunity to choose between the ACT WorkKeys assessment or ACT (including ACT Plus Writing) assessment in any year the state funds statewide assessments. The ACT WorkKeys assessment indicates that a student is career ready and provides an option for students who may seek vocational training rather than college.
The sponsor of the bill said, “As we look to develop our workforce, it’s vital that we provide the educational resources necessary to ensure our young people have the skills and knowledge necessary to be part of a capable workforce. By bringing real world knowledge into the classroom, and giving kids the opportunity to more easily pursue vocational training, we can better prepare young people to fill the jobs created by Missouri businesses.”
The legislation would also reauthorize the Missouri Works Program and the Missouri Works Training Program until August 28, 2030. Missouri Works is the state’s number one incentive tool for expansion and retention. It helps businesses access capital through withholdings or tax credits to embark on facility expansions and create jobs. Missouri Works Training is the state’s premier workforce training program.
Other provisions in the bill would establish the "Career Readiness Course Task Force" to study the possibility of offering a middle school career readiness course; require the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council to annually review, update, approve, and recommend a list of industry certifications, state-issued professional licenses, and occupational competency assessments; and authorize schools to rely on technical coursework and skills assessments developed for industry-recognized certificates and credentials when developing career and technical education pathways for their students.
Yours in service,
Representative Jim Neely
Proudly Serving the 8th House District
Clinton, Caldwell, Ray, & Clay Counties
Missouri House of Representatives