Policy Update

August 25, 2021


 Contents

State Government

Capitol Hill

Archive


State Government

Did You Know?

OPCA and community health centers enjoyed successes on numerous priorities in the 2021 legislative session – many of which will improve access to health care for Oregonians. Here are a few highlights

  • HB 3352 Cover All People - extends health care insurance to Oregonians not eligible for Medicaid,
  • HB 2508 Telehealth Payment Parity - requires payers to reimburse telehealth services at same rate as in-person including audio only,
  • HB 2528 Licensing Dental Therapists - establishes Dental Therapist education, licensure and scope of practice standards,
  • HB 2591 Expanding the School-Based Health Center Program - directs OHA to identify and provide grants to 10 school districts to implement or expand SBHCs, and
  • HB 2969 Improving oral health in schools - requires school districts to provide age-appropriate instruction in oral health
  • HB 3229 Jail Health Care Standards Council - The Council will evaluate current practices and recommend minimum health care standards for people who are inmates in Oregon's county jails. The Council is being formed and they are seeking member(s) from an FQHC. Contact Marty Carty at  to express interest or recommend a colleague

Additionally:

  • Lawmakers passed the largest state budget in Oregon’s history
  • OPCA’s policy team tracked 398 bills
  • OHA’s Legislatively Approved Budget saw a 12% increase

New Governor Issues Vaccine requirement for health care workers and K-12 educators, staff, and volunteers

On Thursday, August 19 Governor Kate Brown announced two new vaccination measures to address Oregon's hospital crisis, caused by the Delta variant surge, and to help keep Oregon students safe in the upcoming school year. 

  • Oregon's vaccination requirement for health care workers will no longer have a testing alternative. Health care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18
  • All teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18.

OHA has issued a temporary COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Healthcare Providers and Healthcare Staff in Healthcare Settings rule 


Capitol Hill 

House Appropriations

On July 29, the House passed a minibus appropriations bill which includes $1.8 billion for the Health Center Program, an increase of $148 million from FY21. Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree on the amount of funding in the package and the lack of inclusion of the Hyde Amendment. This could lead to issues for passage of the “minibus” in the Senate.

House Moves to Make Telehealth Permanent

Reps. Glen “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) introduced the HEALTH Act of 2021 (H.R. 4437) which would make telehealth flexibilities permanent under the Medicare program past the Public Health Emergency (PHE), allowing health centers to keep current policies which also include extending audio-only.

Senate Infrastructure Bill

On Sunday, August 1, Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Rob Portman (R-OH), with a larger group of bipartisan negotiators introduced the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. This package includes spending over five (5) years for public transit, clean drinking and wastewater projects as well as highways/roads, broadband, and electric grid upgrades.

The bill is silent on health care but includes small grant opportunities for health centers (e.g., broadband funding). This bill will need to pass the Senate along with a Budget Resolution before becoming law. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said there will be no Senate recess until both bills are passed. 

Help Make the Case for CHC Infrastructure Funding

Input Needed on Infrastructure Call for Information: Please respond to this call for information to help us demonstrate the importance of federal infrastructure investment as CHCs tackle the burden of an increasing patient base. We know you are busy, but this advocacy is critical. We are asking members of Congress to prioritize infrastructure funding for health centers. Your answers will help us show Congress how health centers would utilize additional federal infrastructure funding. If you have any questions, please contact Marty Carty at  

340B Legislation Introduced

The first-ever comprehensive 340B pick-pocketing bill – H.R. 4390, the PROTECT 340B Act of 2021 – was introduced in the U.S. House on July 9, 2021.  If enacted, this bill would prohibit PBMs and insurers from taking CHCs’ 340B savings on drugs dispensed to patients with private insurance and Medicare.  It builds on laws enacted in 15 states (including Oregon), expanding their protections to Medicare Parts C & D plans, and to all 50 states. You can help OPCA by sending an email asking your member(s) of Congress to co-sponsor the PROTECT 340B Act of 2021.


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