Under the Golden Dome
Last week was the second funnel deadline. This means a bill has to pass a chamber and a committee in the other chamber. The only exception is for budget and tax bills which are exempt from the funnel deadline. The Senate spent the majority of its time doing committee work and the House mostly focused on floor debate to send its priorities to the Senate in hopes of avoiding the deadline.
Looking forward, we can expect a lot of floor debate in both chambers as they work toward the end of the legislative session. And, budget work has begun, at least in the House. The House Appropriations Committee has moved six of ten budget bills out of committee. There’s no sign of action on budget bills in the Senate but work is going on behind the scenes. It’s important to note that the House and Senate have not reached an overall budget agreement – they are about $79 million apart.
Bills that Survived
HSB 727: This bill consolidates the nine area education agencies into four and requires the boards to allow employees to provide services remotely rather than in person. IMHCA is registered opposed to this bill because it could mean children served by the AEAs receive less services. The bill is in the House Appropriations Committee.
HF 2549: This bill creates a mental health provider loan repayment program and provides $1.5 million. Any mental health provider, including prescribing providers, would be eligible for a four-year loan repayment agreement if that individual practices in a federally designated mental health shortage area. Mental health counselors are eligible for $8,000 a year, up to a maximum of $40,000 for making a 5-year commitment to practice in a shortage area. To be eligible, a person must be an enrolled Medicaid provider for the five years. And, a city or other entity must provide a community match of $4,000 to the fund. IMHCA is registered in support. The bill passed the House on a 96-2 vote
HF 2167: Clarifies that autism is a mental health condition by aligning state and federal definitions. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill. The bill passed the House on a 95-0 vote and was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee.
HF 2200/SF 2276: These bills expand current statutory authority to establish a direct healthcare agreement between any licensed healthcare provider and a patient. Current law only allows that to occur between a primary care provider and a patient. A direct healthcare agreement means that the provider agrees to provide specific services to the patient for a specified time and for a service charge. IMHCA is registered as undecided. HF 2200 passed the House on a 90-9 vote and SF 2276 was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee.
HF 2399: This bill prohibits revoking a prior authorization when reimbursement is submitted and requires that a prior authorization is valid for at least ninety days. IMHCA is registered in support. The bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee.
HF 2416: Prohibits schools, community colleges, private colleges and regents institutions from allowing transgender girls from participating in girls sports. IMHCA is registered opposed. The bill was signed by the governor on March 3, 2022.
HF 2554: Requires Medicaid to cover functional family therapy and multisystemic therapy for youth. IMHCA is registered in support of the bill. The bill passed the House Human Resources Committee and is in the House Appropriations Committee.
SF 2354: Extends Medicaid coverage for post-partum support for up to one year after birth. IMHCA is registered in support. The bill passed the Senate Human Resources Committee and is in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Bills that Died
HF 2245: Prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage for an out-of-state mental health provider who is licensed to practice in Iowa and met the same criteria for licensure as those who practice in the state.
HF 2386: Allows the release of psychological test materials to the opposing counsel if the litigation included a question of the individual’s cognitive ability. This provides an open door to making it easier to get all mental health records during litigation.
SF 2307: Eliminates independent verification of college transcripts for licensure in Iowa.
SF 2195: Creates a mental health provider loan repayment program for individuals who agree to serve in a mental health shortage area for five years. To qualify, you must have graduated from a recognized program in Iowa and be licensed to practice in Iowa. The definition of a mental health provider is tied to those without prescriptive authority in 228.1 (defines mental health provider). Successful applicants would receive up to $8,000 for each of the five years. The appropriations request is for $520,000 to fund 13 positions.