Daily roundup: May 9, 2014

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • Alaska: The state Legislature has approved a bill that would allow physicians in the northern U.S. state to write prescriptions without an initial face-to-face encounter with the patient. Currently, Alaska defines doctors "prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing a prescription medication to a person without first conducting a physical examination" as "unprofessional conduct." The bill would allow doctors to write prescription for medications that are not controlled substances—a move that would help patients in the mostly rural state gain access to care, according to supporters. The legislation now goes to Gov. Sean Parnell (R) for his signature (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 5/7 [subscription required]).

  • California: Lawmakers this week proposed a bill that would grant male and female residents access to no-cost contraception services. The bill builds on the Affordable Care Act's provision requiring insurers to cover FDA-approved contraception without co-payments. The bill would also provide no-cost vasectomies and other male contraceptive services. The California Family Health Council and the National Health Law Program are co-sponsoring the measure. The California Association of Health Plans, California Catholic Conference, and California Chamber of Commerce oppose the bill (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 5/6).

Justices hear case against the contraception mandate

  • Connecticut: Lawmakers this week unanimously approved a bill that would require children who have sustained—or are suspected of sustaining—a concussion during athletics to gain written clearance from a medical professional before returning to the sport. Additionally, the bill requires the state to develop an education program to teach children about concussions and directs operators of youth sports to provide parents with concussion information. The legislation heads to the governor for his signature (AP/Washington Times, 5/7).

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