FHA Member Alert
Dear FHA Member,
Tuesday, March 7, was the bill filing deadline for this year’s legislative session. With the deadline came two bills that FHA has been monitoring. The first is a reduction in the permissible time period during which a pregnancy may be terminated. The second requires hospitals to seek information regarding the immigration status of its patients. These rules are summarized below.
An Act Relating to Pregnancy and Parenting Support (HB7 / S 300) HB 7, among other things, amends the state’s “Termination after Pregnancy” statute (390.0111) by reducing the permissible time period for a physician to terminate a pregnancy from 15 weeks to 6 weeks. With that reduction comes a few modifications and additions to the existing exceptions.
- First, the bill adds a knowledge requirement regarding the physician’s obligations: “a physician may not knowingly perform or induce a termination” if the fetus is more than 6 weeks old. Current medical necessity exemptions apply.
- The bill amends language regarding the termination of pregnancy due to a fatal fetal abnormality. Previously, terminations for fatal fetal abnormalities were impermissible after the fetus is viable. The revised language permits terminations due to fatal fetal abnormality through the end of the second trimester.
- There is an exception in the case of rape and incest. Should the pregnant woman present specified proof of rape or incest, a pregnancy may be terminated as late as 15 weeks.
- The bill limits the distribution of “abortion-inducing drugs” to physicians. A patient must receive the drugs in-person. In other words, physicians may not use telehealth to prescribe abortion-inducing drugs to a patient.
The bill, which generally prohibits the expenditure of state funds for terminations of pregnancy makes an exception for “medical necessity for legitimate emergency medical procedures… to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert a serious risk of imminent, substantial, and irreversible physical impairment”
An Act Relating to Immigration (HB 1617 / SB1718) The Immigration bill, filed by Rep Michael and Senator Ingolia, appears to be a codification of the data collection requirements initially implemented in the Governor’s Executive Order on Immigration.
The bill requires all hospitals that accept Medicaid to include a provision on patient registration forms to indicate whether or not the patient is a United States citizen or lawfully present in the United States. The bill specifies that the question must be followed by a disclaimer that a) patient care will not be affected by their response, and b) that patients that respond that they are not lawfully present in the United States will not be reported to immigration authorities.
The bill also establishes annual reporting requirements. Hospitals will submit to the Governor, Senate and House, the total number of hospital admissions in each of the three categories (U.S. citizen, lawful entrant, unlawful), the cost to care for those patients, and a description of how caring for those patients may have impacted the hospital’s ability to provide other services.
FHA will continue to monitor the bills as they move through committee. We encourage you to review them with appropriate members of your team and reach out to David Mica at [email protected] with any feedback.
Mary C. Mayhew
President & CEO