This report is compiled from multiple press releases from the Massachusetts State House. Photo from the Governor’s office.
BOSTON – Today, January 8, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to participate in a ceremonial signing of S.2984, An Act Promoting a Resilient Health Care System That Puts Patients First.
Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito were also joined by Senator Cindy Friedman, Senator Julian Cyr, and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr to participate in the ceremonial signing. The Governor also acknowledged the work of Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano, Senate President Karen Spilka, and other legislators for their work in advancing this comprehensive health care legislation.
The new law increases insurance coverage for telehealth services, expands the scope of practice for nurse practitioners, other specialized nurses, and optometrists, and takes steps to protect consumers from surprise medical bills. Recognizing the continuing impacts of COVID-19, the law also extends requirements for all insurance carriers in Massachusetts to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment. In addition, the legislation takes several steps to increase MassHealth member access to urgent care sites, including eliminating referral requirements before urgent care visits and requirements for care coordination with the member’s primary care physician.
“This pandemic has brought an urgency to the need to make quality healthcare more accessible to all,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “By eliminating barriers to care, protecting patients from surprise billing practices, and advancing our state’s support for community hospitals, testing sites and medical staff, this comprehensive legislation will equip healthcare providers to truly put patients first. I am particularly happy that rate parity for telehealth services will remain a permanent option for Massachusetts patients – thereby expanding efficiency in care while reducing stress for everyone involved,”