May 3, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Delores Kelley

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful legislative session for Senator Delores Kelley (District 10 – Baltimore County). The 2019 session would be the first for Kelley as the new Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Kelley would also be directly involved with some eighty-eight pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of twenty-five significant bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the twenty-five bills that she carried as the lead sponsor, ten passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 192 – Estates and Trusts – Elective Share of Surviving Spouse

This bill alters the elective share for a surviving spouse by making numerous changes to statute governing the calculation, election, and payment of an elective share of a surviving spouse. The bill, among other things, (1) establishes definitions and procedures for calculating the estate subject to election; (2) expands and clarifies procedures by which the surviving spouse may elect to take an elective share; (3) establishes additional procedures for the payment of an elective share; and (4) establishes standards for court modification of an elective share. The bill also updates specified personal financial power of attorney and limited power of attorney forms contained in statute and makes other technical, clarifying, and conforming changes. The bill applies prospectively.

Senate Bill 195 – Public Health – Prescription Drug Monitoring Program – Revisions

This bill requires, rather than authorizes, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to review prescription monitoring data for indications of (1) possible misuse or abuse of a monitored prescription drug or (2) a possible violation of law or breach of professional standards by a prescriber or dispenser. If either is indicated, PDMP must notify and provide education to the prescriber or dispenser. If there is a possible violation of law or breach of professional standards, PDMP may provide prescription monitoring data to the Office of Controlled Substances Administration (OCSA) for further investigation under certain circumstances, provided that PDMP takes specified actions. PDMP must take specified factors into account regarding a possible violation of law or breach of professional standards. PDMP must also include specified information regarding instances of possible violations of law or breaches of professional standards in its annual report.

Senate Bill 220 – Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Coverage of Dental Services – Repeal of Contingency

This bill repeals language that makes Medicaid’s provision of dental services to adults with incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) contingent on specified findings of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC).

Senate Bill 227 – Insurance – Principle-Based Reserves

This bill repeals the statutory criteria that allow an insurer to be exempt from certain requirements in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) valuation manual. Instead, an insurer may be exempt from those requirements if it meets the exemption criteria published in the valuation manual itself.

Senate Bill 495 – Medical Laboratories – Laboratory Tests and Procedures – Advertising

This bill authorizes a person to directly or indirectly advertise for or solicit business in the State for (1) a diagnostic laboratory test or procedure that is ordered by a physician and performed by a medical laboratory certified under federal law, as specified and (2) specified ancestry testing. The Secretary of Health may take legal action to restrict the marketing of a diagnostic laboratory test or procedure under specified circumstances.

Senate Bill 522 – Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Council – Revisions

This bill alters the membership and duties of the Virginia I. Jones Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Council and requires the council to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the activities and recommendations of the council by September 1 each year. The requirement that the Secretary of Health and the Secretary of Aging (or their designees) co-chair the council is repealed; instead, the members of the co-council must select the chair. The bill extends the council’s termination date from September 30, 2019, to September 30, 2024.

Senate Bill 597 – Maryland Health Care Commission – State Health Plan and Certificate of Need for Hospital Capital Expenditures

This bill requires the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) to adopt the State Health Plan annually by October 1, and specifies that the plan must be consistent with the Maryland All-Payer Model Contract. MHCC must annually, or on petition by any person, determine the chapter or chapters of the State Health Plan that should be reviewed and revised and establish, at a public meeting, the priority order and timeline of the review and revision. The bill also increases the threshold below which a specified certificate of need (CON) is generally not required when a hospital intends to make specified capital expenditures, from $10 million to the “hospital capital threshold,” which is defined as the lesser of 25% of a hospital’s gross regulated charges for the immediately preceding year or $50 million.

Senate Bill 698 – Continuing Care Retirement Communities – Mediation – Representation by Counsel

This bill repeals the prohibition against a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) provider, subscriber, or group of subscribers being represented by counsel during a mediation following an internal grievance procedure.

Senate Bill 699 – Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Home- and Community-Based Waiver Services – Prohibition on Denial

This bill prohibits the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) from denying an individual access to a Medicaid home and community-based services waiver due to lack of funding for the waiver if (1) the individual is living at home or in the community at the time of application; (2) the individual received home and community-based services through Community First Choice (CFC) for at least 30 consecutive days; (3) the individual will be or has been terminated from Medicaid due to becoming eligible for or enrolled in Medicare; (4) the individual meets all of the eligibility criteria for participation in the waiver within six months after the completion of the application; and (5) the home and community-based services provided for the individual would qualify for federal matching funds.

Senate Bill 904 – Maryland Department of Health – Family Planning Program – Funding

This bill prohibits the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) from accepting any federal funding under the Title X Family Planning Program if that program (1) excludes family planning providers and (2) does not require such providers to provide a broad range of acceptable and effective medically approved family planning methods and services. If MDH does not accept Title X program funds, the Governor must fund Maryland’s Family Planning Program at the same level as total funding provided in the preceding fiscal year.

Now after a successful 2019 legislative session, Senator Kelley looks ahead to the 2020 session when she’ll bring with her the experience of another productive and effective year in the Maryland Senate.