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Health & Human Services 2019-2020

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 to consider the following bills:

HB 924 (Representative Toohil) – Establishes the Living Donor Protection Act which prohibits discrimination by health, life, or accident insurers based upon an individual’s status as a living donor.  HB924 extends FMLA provisions to living donors.  HB924 also requires Department of Health (Department) to develop informational material relative to living donors and the live donation of organs and tissue.

Reported out (please note that all members present and or provided a proxy voted in favor of the bill- Senator Mensch name was called but there was no indication of his presence or a proxy)

HB 1220 (Representative Cruz) –Establishes the CMV (cytomegalovirus) Education and Newborn Screening Act requiring  newborns be screened before the newborn is 21 days old, if the newborn fails the newborn hearing screening under the Infant Hearing Education, Assessment, Reporting and Referral (IHEARR) Act or if a parent or guardian requests the newborn be screened for CMV.  HB1220 also requires the Department of Health (Department) make available on the Department’s website up-to-date, evidence-based information about CMV that has been reviewed by medical experts and national CMV organizations.

Reported out (please note that all members present and or provided a proxy voted in favor of the bill- Senator Mensch name was called but there was no indication of his presence or a proxy)

HB 2503 (Representative Miller) – Amends the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa. C.S.§ 6344 (m) (relating to provisional employee for a limited periods) to allow an employer to provisionally hire an applicant who has not completed all three required background checks for not more than 45 days, if specific conditions are met.

Reported out 7-4

The HHS Committee temporarily went over HB1363 and will meet later today to consider the bill.


The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 to consider the following bill:

SB 1189 (Senator K. Ward) – Amends the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 specifically section 5 of the Act pertaining to control measures by adding that the Secretary of Health must do the following:

  1. Ensure no individuals who is less than 30 days from testing positing for a communicable disease or who is less than 30 days from being asymptomatic of a communicable disease is admitted to a facility without being placed in a isolation area within the facility with dedicated staff assigned only to that area during the time staff is working.
  2. Ensure facilities are adequately equipped to follow and implement all recommendations and guidelines issued by CDC and CMS for the prevention and control of a communicable disease.

SB1189 also states that facility as used in this act includes assisted living residences, personal care homes, and long-term care nursing facilities. Reported out as amended 8-3

  • A06707 (Senator Brooks) – This amendment limits the bill to emergency declarations and makes technical changes.  Amendment passed 9-2

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a voting meeting on Monday, June 29, 2020, off the floor to consider the following bills:

HB 941 (Representative Heffley) – Amends section 449 of the Human Services Code by providing greater protections for pharmacies by creating transparency in pharmacy benefit manager pricing within in the Medical Assistance program as well as addressing reimbursement rates.   Reported out as amended unanimously

  • A06484 (Senator Brooks) – This amendment aligns the Right-to-Know law provision within HB941 with Section 708 of Act 3 of 2008, by stating the information disclosed or produced by an entity to DHS qualifies for an exemption.  A06484 provides that beginning January 1, 2020 for each prescription filled Pharmacists shall receive reimbursement for the cost at a rate no less than the cost of the drug as generally available to retail Pharmacies utilizing an average acquisition cost reimbursement methodology and after any PBM or payer adjustment to that drug cost.  A06484 further provides that the pharmacy shall receive a reasonable professional dispensing fee for each prescription filled as determined by DHS. A06484 requires payment for pharmacy services within the scope of practice for a pharmacist but outside of the pharmacy benefit be covered in accordance with the fee schedule published by DHS. A06484 clarifies the definition of pharmacy benefit manager in accordance with insurance law. A06484 removes other provisions in HB941 specifically sections F, G, and H.  Amendment passed unanimously

Note: All Democratic Members on the HHS Committee spoke on the bill/amendment

HB 942 (Representative Grove) – Updates the membership of the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee to include two individuals representing community pharmacists appointed by the Secretary. HB942 further provides that membership of the P&T Committee shall also include physicians, pharmacists and other members appointed by the Secretary as needed to develop and maintain the preferred drug list (PDL). Reported out unanimously

The Senate Health & Human Services Committee met on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, off the floor to consider the following bills:

HB 2455 (Representative Lawrence) – Amends the Administrative Code providing for implementation of COVID-19 antibody testing by local health departments and places requirements on the Secretary of Health as it relates to approval and requires the utilization of State Labs. HB2455 also provides for COVID-19 emergency plan and reporting requirements consistent with the federal Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act. Reported out as amended unanimously

  • A06325 (Senator Brooks) – This amendment removes the provisions relating to local health department COVID-19 antibody testing implementation as well as the requirements of the Secretary of Health and use of State Labs.  A06325 changes the expiration date of the legislation to December 31, 2021.  A06325 requires the Governor to submit the plan submitted to the federal government under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to specific Members of the General Assembly. A06325 also requires DOH to provide bi-weekly reporting related to the Department’s testing of COVID-19 to specific Members of the General Assembly.  A06325 requires the following information be provided in the testing report:
    • The technology and supplies procured or acquired by the Commonwealth related to COVID-19 testing.
    • The administrative and operating costs of a State laboratory related to COVID-19 testing.
    • The number and type of completed tests by a State laboratory. This information shall include diagnostic tests and serology tests.
    • The number of positive and negative COVID-19 test results tests completed by a state laboratory to include diagnostic and serology test
    • A description of State laboratory COVID-19 testing limitations, including limitations relating to acquiring reagents or other components of the testing process.
    • Demographic test result data, including age, sex, race and ethnicity- Note A health care provider ordering COVID-19 testing shall report, as prescribed by the Department of Health, a patient’s self-reported demographic data including age, sex, race and ethnicity.

Amendment passed unanimously

SB 890 (Senator Mensch) – Establishes a new category of Medical Assistance for Worker with Disabilities called Workers with Job Success by amending the Tobacco Settlement Act. Reported out as amended unanimously

  • A06382 (Senator Mensch) – This amendment aligns the age requirements for eligibility with federal law and clarifies participation provisions. Amendment passed unanimously

HB 672 (Representative Ortitay) – Amends Act 10 of 1970 (Allowing Minors to Consent to Medical Care) by clarifying consent provisions for minors as it relates to mental health treatment. Reported out unanimously

HB 1880 (Representative Gillespie) – Amends the photo identification tag regulations under the Health Care Facilities Act by omitting health care workers’ last names from their photo identification badges.  Reported out unanimously

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 off the floor to consider the following bill:

SB 430 (Senator Fontana) – Establishes standards for childcare facilities to have carbon monoxide detectors.  Reported as amended unanimously

  • A0578(Senator Brooks) – This amendment removes the requirement that the carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed by hardwire connection to the security system. Amendment passed unanimously

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 off the floor via remote session to consider the following bills:

HB 943 (Representative Gaydos) – Creates the Consumer Prescription Drug Pricing and Freedom Disclosure Act which provides for consumer prescription drug pricing disclosure and pharmacy freedom to communicate.  Reported as amended unanimously

  • A05261(Senator J. Ward) – This amendment aligns the definition of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) with Act 169 and removes section 4 regarding the disclosure of contract provisions.  Amendment passed unanimously

SB 1123 (Senator Dinniman) – Requires the Department of Health (DOH)to support the efforts of counties to initiate antibody point-of-contact tests, including the State health laboratory waiving or covering the needed Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) protocol.  Reported as amended unanimously

  • A05313 (Senator Brooks)- Removes the requirement that DOH waive or cover federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) protocol for counties.  Amendment passed unanimously

SB 1110 (Senator Browne) – Consolidates the Department of Human Services and the Department of Health in order to establish the Department of Health and Human Services effective 2023.

Please note-HHS Committee went over this bill

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Monday, April 20, 2020 off the floor via remote session to consider the following bills:

SB 273 (Senator J. Ward) – Amends the Community Based Health Care Act (the “Act”) by eliminating a cap on funding provided under the Act to Federally Qualified Health Centers or Federally Qualified Health Care Center Lookalikes (collectively “FQHCs”).   Reported as committed unanimously

SB 959 (Senator Bartolotta) – Amends Section 443.1 (Medical Assistance Payments for Institutional Care) of the Human Services Code by providing for additional Medicaid funding for facilities serving ventilator or tracheostomy patients.  Reported as amended unanimously

  • A04553 (Senator Brooks) – This amendment is technical in nature as it clarifies the payment methodology.  Amendment passed unanimously

SB 1110 (Senator K. Ward) – Amends the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 by requiring the Department of Health of to provide communicable disease information by municipality.  Reported as amended 7-4

  • A05166 (Senator Brooks) – This amendment requires the Department of Health to release individual identifiable health information (individual’s past, present or future physical health status) of any confirmed case of a communicable disease during a proclamation of a disaster emergency associated with a communicable disease to 911 Centers, law enforcement officers, fire and EMS.  Amendment passed 7-4

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 off the floor to consider the following bill:

SB 934 (Senator Laughlin) – Requires the placement of smoke detectors on each floor including the basement of family child care homes.  SB934 also requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to include smoke detectors in its inspections.  Reported unanimously

A04671(Senator Brooks) – This amendment provides for the following changes to SB934:

Requires child care centers and family child care homes to have a operable fire detection device or system that is maintained in accordance with the Fire and Panic Act, the PA Construction Code Act, and regulations.

A04671 also provides for detailed testing requirements and provisions for the inspection conducted by DHS.

Reported unanimously

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Monday, November 18, 2019 to consider the following bills:

SB 606 (Senator Browne) – This bill would authorize health practitioners to prescribe or provide antibiotics to treat sexually transmitted infections without requiring a medical examination.  Approved unanimously.

HB 1001 (Senator Oberlander) – This bill would provide for the regulation of human donor milk banks in Pennsylvania.  Approved unanimously.

  • A03688 (Senator Brooks)This amendment would change the bill to mirror the language found in HB. 811. Among the changes in the language, the amendment would exclude the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBA) as a professional association governing the operations of milk banks in the state, change licensee requirements to require donor milk and donor-milk-derived products be screened and tested and provide for an exemption that would allow milk banks and donors to receive remunerations.  Approved unanimously.

HB 1662 (DiGirolamo) – This bill would provide for the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act to include deaths from other medications that are used in the treatment of opioid use disorder.  Approved unanimously.

  • A03747 (Senator Brooks) – This amendment would provide a technical change, modifying the effective date of the bill from 60 to 90 days. Approved unanimously.

HB 1058 (Rapp) – This bill would require a medical provider to give perinatal support care information to a pregnant woman when her unborn child is diagnosed with a fatal condition.  Approved by a vote of 7:4.

HB 321 (Klunk) – This bill would prohibit the abortion of an unborn child for the reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis or on the basis of sex.  Approved by a vote of 7:4. 

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Monday, October 28, 2019 to consider the following bill:

SB 841 (Senator Martin) – Provides for the establishment of the Health Care Cost Containment Act which reauthorizes the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). SB841 also adds legislative representation to the PHC4. Approved unanimously

A03149 (Senator Martin) – This amendment is technical and clarifying in nature. Approved unanimously

A03503 (Senator Martin) – This amendment is technical and clarifying in nature. Approved unanimously

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 to consider the following bills:

SB 906 (Senator Yudichak) – Provides for a moratorium on the closure of State facilities under the Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Act of 1966 and establishes the Task Force on the Closure of State Centers. Approved 10-1

A03337 (Senator Muth) – This amendment adds a medical professional to the Task Force on the Closure of State Centers. This individual will be appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Human Services (DHS) in consultation with the representatives from the state facility.  A03337 also adds that a designee may be granted for the following: Secretary of DHS, The Chair and Minority Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, The Chair and Minority Chair of the House Human Services Committee. Approved unanimously

SB 842 (Senator Phillips-Hill) –Amends the photo identification tag regulations under the Health Care Facilities Act by omitting health care workers’ last names from their photo identification badges.  Approved unanimously

The Senate Health & Human Services Committee met on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, to consider the following legislation:

S.B. 390 (Baker) – Would delay the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) from making changes to the state’s Medical Assistance Transportation Program until a study is undertaken. The bill was Reported as Committed by a vote of 10:1.

S.B. 279 (Baker) – Would establish the Interbranch Commission on the Child Welfare System to investigate and review the child welfare system and provide recommendations. The bill was not considered but, instead, was removed from the agenda.

Senator Art Haywood

Senator Art Haywood

Committee Chair