As a daughter, mother and grandmother, and small business owner, I know how important it is to have affordable and accessible health care for all. During my first term in the Senate, 2019 to 2022, I was fortunate to serve on the Senate Finance Committee. Health care policy is one of the major issues the committee considers and legislates. Serving on the Finance Committee has allowed me to be directly involved in all aspects of health care policy in Maryland.
The Committee has heard and investigated topics regarding:
- Reducing the cost of health care, including pharmaceuticals
- Decreasing the cost, or supplementing the cost for small employer group plans
- Increasing the workforce of health care providers
- Improving access to mental health care, and more
I sponsored several bills during the 2022 session to address health care concerns:
- SB 440 created a Commission to Study the Health Care Workforce Crisis in Maryland. I was appointed to serve on the Commission and we are meeting this summer and fall to discuss short-term solutions to the workforce shortage, future health care workforce needs, and the relationship between the Maryland Department of Health and the health occupations boards.
- SB 696 established the Maryland Loan Assistance Repayment for Nurses and Nursing Support Staff. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) must convene a stakeholder workgroup to examine how to further incentivize nursing and nursing support staff students to practice in specified areas.
- SB 386 extends the sunset date of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. This will allow physicians to continue to be licensed in multiple states.
Much of the legislation I sponsored is brought to me from the community. One very serious issue that happened in Anne Arundel County led me to introduce SB611, State Board of Dental Examiners – Training and Disciplinary Processes – Revisions. It provides a more efficient way to investigate dental practices that are causing harm to patients. It was unconscionable to allow a dentist to continue to practice for 13 years when hundreds of patient complaints had been received.
Several other extremely important bills that passed the General Assembly in 2022:
- SB150, Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Dental Coverage for Adults expanded Medicaid to include dental services for qualifying adults.
- SB661, Pharmacists-Status as Health Care Providers and Study on Reimbursement requires the establishment of a workgroup with stakeholders to identify requirements necessary for the reimbursement of pharmacists who provide medical services within their scope of practice. It also requires the Commissioner to establish a workgroup with specified stakeholders to identify options and requirements necessary for the reimbursement of pharmacists who provide medical services within their scope of practice and work setting. By December 31, 2022, the Commissioner must report findings and recommendations to the specified committees of the General Assembly.
- SB 890/HB 937 expands access to abortion by expanding training for professionals. This has become more important since other states are prohibiting abortion and many women are expected to seek assistance with their health care needs in Maryland.
- SB834, Health Insurance – Two Sided Incentive Arrangements and Capitated Payments. I was the lead sponsor in the Senate for the bill which allows doctors, working with insurance companies, to develop two sided incentive agreements. These agreements have improved health care in many other states, while Maryland prohibited this practice.
I hope to return to the Senate to continue to work on these and other important health issues.