[R75] Six weeks down, four to go (2/17/2014)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Start Date: 2/17/2014 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/17/2014
It is hard to believe that we are already more than halfway through the 2014 legislative session. This halfway point marked the time when House bills, which had been passed out of the House, switched over to the Senate and vice versa.  In my previous columns, I discussed the bills that I was authoring in the House. Now, I want to talk to you about a couple of the Senate bills that I am sponsoring. 

Given my experience in the healthcare industry, I have taken a strong interest in furthering policies that benefit and promote a healthier state. I am sponsoring Senate Bill (SB) 51, which was heard in the Public Health committee on Wednesday. This legislation requires the State Department of Health to adopt rules concerning the regulation of facilities for treatment of traumatic brain injuries, before September 1. The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the Health Finance Commission which I served on during the 2013 interim.

This is an issue which I continue to feel strongly about. Currently, Indiana lacks traumatic brain services, specifically post-acute care facilities. This means that Hoosiers must go out of state for their care. Not only does this result in money leaving our state to fund licensed facilities elsewhere, but it also poses a heavy burden on individuals who, in order to receive proper care, must travel long distances away from friends and family. 

The second bill, SB 139, does a few things. First, it amends the definition of "attendant care
services" to allow attendants to legally provide assistance with taking medications that are controlled substances and/or prescription drugs. This applies to services provided at a licensed home health agency or personal services agency.

Currently, if another person is not available to assist with this task, the client, or patient, may go without adequate medication until another person in the home or a health provider is present to assist them. This results in unnecessary costs when a licensed or certified health care provider has to make a special visit just to help administer a controlled substance when an attendant is present and capable of doing so but is prohibited by existing law.

As you may know, when you register your vehicle with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), you can elect to donate money to Donate Life Indiana, which promotes the procurement of organs for anatomical gifts. These donations are then transferred to the Anatomical Gift Promotion Fund for distribution to the Indiana Donation Alliance Foundation and Donate Life Indiana.

Last year alone, over $160,000 was raised for Donate Life Indiana through the BMV. The authority for the distribution of the funds is currently set to expire, however this bill would remove that expiration date and ensure further support for this important organization.  

The last thing this bill does is continue the authority for the Office of Minority Health (OMH). The purpose of OMH is to increase awareness, partnerships, and the development and promotion of effective health policies and programs that will help reduce minority health disparities. This will allow them to continue important initiatives which will improve the health of all racial and ethnic populations. 

I hope that you find these bill summaries helpful and informative. I cannot stress enough how important it is for Hoosiers to be involved in the legislative process, and I appreciate your feedback. With just four weeks left, if you have not already reached out to me with questions, comments or concerns, please do so. I will continue to work my hardest to represent the needs of our district in Indianapolis. 


BLT_Senate sponsor.docx