State of States: Mid-year 2018

June 2018 – Vol. 37, No. 5
SB-5179-signing

AAO-HNS member Sung-Won Kim, MD, (far right in picture) was present at Governor Jay Inslee’s bill signing ceremony for SB 5179. The Washington State Trackers and the Northwest Academy of Otolaryngology were successful in amending the bill to include otolaryngologists in the list of providers covered under the state’s public employee and Medicaid programs for hearing aid services.

With all but four state legislatures convening in 2018, it has been an active year for the AAO-HNS state advocacy program. However, many of those state sessions have been abbreviated. Oregon, for example, had a historically short session lasting only 27 days. This year, most of the legislatures were slated to concentrate on their state budgets. However, one need only look at Florida or West Virginia to see how a single issue can derail an entire session’s schedule. Thus, some issues pertaining to the specialty (e.g., a hearing aid bill in Florida), saw limited action and died upon adjournment.

For those states able to focus on non-emergency matters, four key healthcare issues impacting the specialty dominated the debate: the opioid crisis, inappropriate scope of practice expansions (particularly APRNs and PAs), maintenance of certification, and medical liability reform. States that continue to meet are pushing beyond the budget bills and attempting to make some substantive changes in these areas.

Stay up-to-date with the AAO-HNS monthly State Tracker report, the State-mENT, which can be found on the AAO-HNS Advocacy website www.entnet.org/advocacy. Finally, Academy members are urged to join the 140+ otolaryngology professionals who have volunteered for the State Tracker team. Be the “ears” for your state and help identify issues impacting your profession, your practice, and your patients. Sign up at legstate@entnet.org and you, too, can make a difference!