News
Legislative Update June 2017

BUDGET

The state's top legislative priority, passage of the FY 2017-18 state budget H. 3720 and the Capital Reserve Fund H. 3721 had taken a back seat as legislative leaders worked to reach a compromise on the other top legislative priority, highway infrastructure funding which was finally enacted last week. Budget Conference Committee members got together twice last week but agreed they would not be able to finish their work before the mandatory adjournment. However, a Joint Resolution S. 692 (Senator Leatherman) was adopted that will allow the General Assembly to work beyond the mandatory deadline. Senate conferees are Senators Hugh Leatherman, Nikki Setzler and Sean Bennett. House conferees are Representatives Brian White, Mike Pitts and Leon Stavrinakis. Both bodies will then return to Columbia on May 23 to adopt the Conference Report and then again at a later date to deal with gubernatorial vetoes if necessary.

Both versions of the state budget can be found here. http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess122_2017-2018/appropriations2017/gab3720.php
Individual state agency budget requests can be found here http://www.admin.sc.gov/budget/agency-budget-plans/current-budget-plans

HEALTH CARE

Health care issues were few and far between this session – no discussion of Certificate of Need reform, and no real legislation considered to address the uninsured. However, there was one issue that seemed to garner a lot of attention – the opioid epidemic.   A number of bills were introduced this year targeting addicts, parents of children prescribed opioids and practitioners prescribing them.  The following bills are a sampling of healthcare issues considered by the General Assembly. 

S. 179 (Senators Hutto and Hembree), a bill that provides limited immunity from prosecution for certain drug and alcohol offenses by a person who seeks medical assistance for another person who is experiencing a drug or alcohol related overdose, became one of those vehicles this week. The bill was amended this week to include H. 3819 (Reps. Bedingfield, Fry, Henderson, and others) which establishes requirements for physicians  related to prescribing opioid analgesics to minors including new informed consent procedures but with some limited exceptions for emergency situations and chronic disease management.  This bill is now in a conference committee so that both chambers can work out the differences between the two version.  Senate conferees are Senator Brad Hutto, Paul Campbell and Greg Hembree and House conferees are Representatives Russell Fry, Eric Bedingfield and Robert Ridgeway.

The following healthcare bills have been ratified and sent to the governor for his consideration:


H. 3817 (Reps. Bedingfield, Fry, Henderson, Huggins, and others) allows pharmacies and other entities to register as a collector to receive controlled substances as part of substance take-back events and mail-back programs.

H. 3864 (Reps. Bernstein, Collins and Erickson) revises the age, weight and position of a child who must be secured by a child passenger restraint system.

H. 3824 (Reps. Henderson, Bedingfield, Fry and others) which requires health care practitioners to review a patient's controlled substance prescription history before prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance and establishes a penalty for failure to do so.

H.3132(Rep. G. M. Smith), relating to licensing requirements for hospice providers.

HIGHWAY INFRASTRUCTURE

After more than two years of debate, two weeks ago a Conference Committee agreed on a compromise report on H. 3516, the highway infrastructure funding bill. Senate conferees were Senators Paul Campbell, Vincent Sheheen and Ross Turner. House conferees were Representatives Gary Simrill, Brian White and Todd Rutherford. Senators came in for a rare Monday session last week and adopted the Conference Report by a vote of 32-12. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives adopted the report by a vote of 99-20. Governor Henry McMaster followed up on his promise and vetoed the bill last Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, both bodies overrode the governor's veto and the plan is now law. The compromise plan includes: 

  • Effective July 1, 2017, the gas tax will be raised 2 cents per year for 6 years resulting in a 12 cent increase in the tax by year 6 to a rate of 28.75 cents per gallon;
  • Increases the motor vehicle registration fee by $16 every other year;
  • Increases the motor vehicle sales tax cap by $200 to $500;
  • Enacts a $60 fee every other year on hybrid vehicles and a $120 fee every other year on electric vehicles;
  • Enacts a $250 fee for registering a vehicle in South Carolina that is registered in another state; 
  • Creates a temporary state income tax credit/rebate for South Carolina residents for gas purchases or preventive maintenance equal to 100% of the amount paid in new gas taxes based on gallons of gas purchased in a tax year. The rebate will expire in year six.
  • Increases tuition tax credits from $350 to $1,500 for two year institutions and $850 to $1500 for four year institutions. The $1500 cap is increased each year afterwards equal to a percentage increase in the Higher Education Price Index;
  • Creates an earned income tax credit (EITC) starting in 2018 equal to 125% of the federal EITC;
  • Creates a two wage earner tax credit; and
  • Decreases the industrial property tax rate from 10.5% to 9.0% through a six year phase in of the reduction.

The bill also includes reform of the SCDOT Commission by allowing the governor to remove SCDOT commissioners and by adding an additional member appointed by the governor. Once fully implemented, the plan will raise an additional $630 million annually for the SCDOT and will include $186 million in tax relief. Our state's 16 cent per gallon gas tax, the primary source of funding for infrastructure repairs and improvements, has not been increased since 1987 and has never been adjusted for inflation. Finding a long-term solution for our road needs has been a top priority of the general public, legislative leaders and many in the business community for several years.

 

 

 
Governing Body Responsibilities and Compliance

Sandra Jones, Ambulatory Strategies Inc.
[email protected]

Question:

I read an e-newsletter in early May about running more productive ASC board meetings. It addressed strategic planning and what detail may not need to go to the board. I am wondering now if I take too much information to the board.

Read more...
 
CMS Requrements for Patient Surveys

By Sandra Jones, Ambulatory Strategies Inc.
[email protected]

Question:

I heard about a new Medicare requirement for patient surveys. True? And, are there new quality measures CMS is requiring we report this year?

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FAQs on Reporting Data for ASC-9 and ASC-10

FAQs on Reporting Data for ASC-9 and ASC-10

Quality Reporting Center has answers to questions you may have about the endoscopy/colonoscopy surveillance measures: ASC-9 (Appropriate Follow-Up Interval for Normal Colonoscopy in Average Risk Patients) and ASC-10 (Colonoscopy Interval for Patients with a History of Adenomatous Polyps – Avoidance of Inappropriate Use):

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2017 Legislative Session

The first regular session of the 122nd South Carolina General Assembly convened on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.  As legislators returned to Columbia, many of the same issues were still dominating the discussion. Although work has been done in recent years to provide more funding for highway infrastructure, there still is no stable, long-term funding source, and that will be once again be a top priority. Reforming our state's retirement system, public school funding and the state budget are also at the top of the agenda.

Read more...
 
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