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CA’s Proposed $25 Minimum Wage for Healthcare Workers, Hospitals’ New ER Staffing Strategy & More

February 17, 2023 (3 min read)

CA to Consider $25 Minimum Wage for Healthcare Workers

A bill introduced last week in California (SB 525) would establish a statewide $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers and support staff. The bill would require healthcare facilities and home health agencies to increase the pay of many support employees, from nurse technicians to housekeepers, many of whom currently earn close to the state’s existing $15.50 general minimum wage, according to the proposal’s author, Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D). (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, STATE NET)

Hospital ERs Adopt Cost-Cutting Staffing Strategy

Hospitals—and emergency rooms in particular—are increasingly replacing doctors with nurse practitioners and physician assistants to reduce their labor costs. The medical staffing company American Physician Partners said the strategy, which it calls a “blended model,” ensures ERs are fully staffed and allows physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants “to provide care to their fullest potential.”

But a working paper published last year by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that treatment by a nurse practitioner without the supervision of a doctor increased the cost of care by 7 percent and the length of stay by 11 percent on average, and ER patients treated by nurse practitioners were 20 percent more likely to be readmitted for preventable reasons within 30 days. (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH)

FDA Advisors Recommend Over-the-Counter Sales of Narcan

A pair of advisory panels to the Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended making the overdose-reversing nasal spray Narcan available without a prescription. Those actions make it very likely an over-the-counter version of the drug will be approved by the FDA next month, possibly making it available at supermarkets, convenience stores and other locations by summer. (NEW YORK TIMES)

States Making Pharmacists' Expanded Vaccination Authority Permanent

Over the past two years more than a dozen states have passed laws expanding the authority of pharmacists to administer vaccines before federal emergency measures making it easier for pharmacies to provide vaccinations during the pandemic expire with the end of the public health emergency, expected in May. More states are considering taking such action this year, including Texas, where Rep. Four Price (R) and Sen. Peter Flores (R) have introduced HB 1105 and SB 749, respectively. (PLURIBUS NEWS, STATE NET)

MT Nonprofit Hospitals Push Back on Bill to Increase State Oversight

The Montana Hospital Association is seeking changes to proposed state legislation (HB 45) that would provide for the establishment of requirements for the reporting of community benefits nonprofit hospitals provide in exchange for their tax-exempt status. State officials say those changes would actually reduce state oversight of such facilities. (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, STATE NET)

MT Weighs Letting PAs Practice Without Physician Supervision

In an effort to address their state’s healthcare provider shortage, Montana lawmakers are considering a bill (HB 313) that would allow physician assistants to practice without the supervision of a licensed physician as currently required under state law. The measure is similar to laws that have been passed in the neighboring states of North Dakota and Wyoming. (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, STATE NET)

Flood of State Legislation Restricting Transgender Healthcare

A month and a half into the new year, 34 states have introduced nearly 300 bills targeting LGBTQ rights, including measures restricting healthcare for transgender youth. Two of those bills have been enacted: Utah SB 16 and South Dakota HB 1080, both of which prohibit medical providers from performing hormone therapy or gender-related surgeries on minors. (PLURIBUS NEWS)

CT High Court Reverses Own Medical Malpractice Precedent

In a 6-0 decision this month Connecticut’s Supreme Court overturned a 12-year-old precedent calling for the dismissal of medical malpractice lawsuits in which the plaintiff failed to submit a proper certificate and opinion letter from “a similar health care provider” supporting their claim. In 2005 the state passed a law requiring that documentation as a way of verifying such suits were reasonable. And in 2011 the Supreme Court went a step further, ruling that state courts had no “personal jurisdiction” to consider malpractice cases without the proper supporting documentation. (INSURANCE JOURNAL)

—Compiled by KOREY CLARK


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