Legislative Update 4.24.23


Devon Green, VP of Government Relations
On Friday evening, the Senate Appropriations Committee wrapped up their work on the FY 24 budget, and passed it out of their committee unanimously. This truly signals the ramp up to the end of the session, where we expect to see child care and paid family leave as some of the biggest initiatives for the House and Senate to hash out.
Workplace Violence: A huge thank you to the House Judiciary Committee, the House Health Care Committee and the entire House for their work on S.36, the workplace violence bill. The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with a 10-0-1 vote and passed second reading on the House Floor. It will be up for a third reading this week. At that point, it returns to the Senate for their approval of the House changes. If there is disagreement, the Senate may further amend the bill, or there may be a conference committee for both sides to hash it out. On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee indicated some concerns with the House version, so the bill is unlikely to sail to the governor’s desk quite yet.
APS Bill: Providers testified in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on behalf of the health care providers association coalition on H.171 and the issue of expanding the definition of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult to include a negligent mindset, which would include mistakes and errors. Betsy Hassan, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CPPS discussed how providers have worked hard to create a "Just Culture," where everyone would feel empowered to come forward with mistakes and errors so that improvements could be made to the system as a whole and how expanding abuse and neglect to include errors would endanger these efforts.
Shield Laws: Last week, the House passed S.37 and the Senate passed H.89, the shield laws that protect providers from criminal, civil and professional liability for providing legal reproductive and gender affirming care. Added to the bills were protections for medication approved by the FDA on January 1, 2023, which includes Mifepristone.
More than Miscellaneous: The Senate Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony on H.206, the miscellaneous bill from the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA), H.206. The committee discussed making 340B protections scheduled to sunset permanent. VAHHS supports keeping these protections in place. The committee also considered attaching the hospital lien compromise language in S.79, which missed crossover, to H.206.
Cybersecurity: The Senate Government Operations Committee heard testimony on H.291, a bill addressing cybersecurity. This was the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bill that passed just below the crossover deadline wire. The bill has two parts: (1) creation of a cybersecurity advisory council and (2) creation of cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure, including requiring the Green Mountain Care Board to create cybersecurity standards for all health care organizations. Members of the health care association coalition acknowledged the importance of coordinating on cybersecurity, but raised concerns about creating actionable standards without going through rulemaking or any stakeholder process.
Workforce: The Senate Health and Welfare committee advanced the following compacts:
  • H.62, Interstate Counseling Compact
  • H.77, Physical Therapy and Physical Therapist Assistants Licensure Compact
  • H.86, Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Compact
  • H.282, Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact