2021 Legislative Update-Week 5

2021 Legislative Update-Week 5

It was a week of significant progress for the IDA and its advocacy efforts. Bills related to telehealth, the practice of dentistry, and COVID-19 immunity, all of which we support, are moving forward. In addition, a dental therapist bill to which we were very opposed has been withdrawn. Read below for more details.

SB 330: Dental Therapists
Thanks to the hard work of the IDA Government Affairs team, the bill’s author, Senator Ronald Grooms, not only agreed to withdraw the controversial dental therapist bill, he also offered to meet with IDA leadership to further explore our recommendations on improving access to care. Dentistry may well have found a new champion for our access to care efforts!

If passed, the bill would have provided for the licensure of dental therapists and advanced dental therapists in Indiana. IDA is opposed to the concept of dental therapists because it establishes a dual standard of care and has not been proven to be an effective method of improving access to care.

HB 1079: Definition of Dentistry/Vaccines/Virtual Credit Cards
In other news, HB 1079 passed unanimously out of the Public Health Committee on Monday, went through a second reading on Thursday, and is expected to be heard on third reading in the House early next week. IDA member and State Representative Dr. Denny Zent, Director of Government Affairs Shane Springer, and Executive Director Doug Bush all testified in favor of HB 1079.

The bill amends the definition of dentistry, allows a dentist to administer immunizations under certain circumstances, and provides that a health insurance plan may not require a dental provider to accept payment under the health insurance plan solely by virtual claim payment.

SB3: Telehealth Matters
SB 3, related to various telehealth matters, passed unanimously out of the Senate this week. It will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration. SB 3 would permanently codify many of the expansions in telehealth implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure all Hoosiers have access to the health care they need regardless of where they live.

This legislation would put legal safeguards in place for Hoosiers receiving virtual care and require telehealth medical records to be created and maintained under the same standards of practice for patients in an in-person setting. The bill would also expand the application of the telehealth statute currently in place to include more licensed practitioners and specify the various activities that would qualify as health care services under telehealth law.

SB1: Civil Immunity Related to COVID-19
SB 1—one of the Governor’s priority bills—passed out of the Senate, into the House, and through the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is expected to be voted on in the House early next week.

As a reminder, SB 1 provides civil tort immunity for damages arising from COVID-19 on the premises owned or operated by a person, on any premises on which the person or an employee or agent of the person provided property or services to the individual, or during an activity managed, organized, or sponsored by the person, except for an act or omission that constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.


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