Healthcare Bills passed in Nevada 2021

Our lawmakers in Carson City passed bills governing all areas of the law in their 2021 session, even during the pandemic they were hard at work. Many of these laws focused on healthcare. In fact, there were so many healthcare bills passed that this topic will be two blogs, and this is part two of two. Our legislature was busy addressing many inequities based upon race, immigration status and socio-economic position.

I am proud to live in a state where our legislators are on the forefront of protecting our communities and preserving the rights of women in our state. The 2021 legislature passed laws to improve access to contraception and healthcare for women. They also looked forward in laying the foundation to provide for a framework for health insurance for small business owners and entrepreneurs in our state. They passed  laws to illuminate conflict of interest between insurers and medical Providers and protect women from unscrupulous medical providers. Perhaps the most groundbreaking law was allowing pharmacist to dispense birth control to women without a prescription. Our legislature stands on the forefront of protecting our constitutional and civil rights in the state of Nevada.

Our legislature was brave enough to step up and address the issues head on and protect and preserve women’s healthcare and reproductive freedoms.  This law is indicative of the progressive nature of our state. The legislature also addressed pandemic issues to allow our state administrators greater freedom in accessing medical supplies.  The following is part two of a summary of the healthcare bills that were passed by our Nevada legislature during the 2021 session.

Health and Health Care (Part 2)

Assembly Bill 287:  This is an interesting bill that removes the word “mother” from the statute governing medical facilities and changes the word to “person who gave birth.”  It also changes the word “father” to “parent who did not give birth.” The statue goes on to establish independent birthing centers that will be licensed by the state. This allows the use of midwives in their own facility. The statue is likely promulgated to provide reduced cost birthing options in a licensed facility.

Effective January 1, 2022.

Assembly Bill 436: Assembly bill 436 amends NRS 686A to mandate  that an insurer shall not contract with the provider of vision care services for any rate of reimbursement if the insurer has an ownership or other pecuniary interest in the rate of reimbursement. Basically,  the statute prevents insurance companies from having any interest in vision care services directly. They can only negotiate contracts and provide reimbursement for services, but they cannot have any ownership interest or monetary interest in the vision services themselves.

Effective October 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 181: Senate bill 181 changes the licensing requirements for alcohol and drug counselors to allow for an expansion of addiction treatment providers.  The statute still requires a total of 1500 hours of experience in counseling after graduation, but it no longer requires that experience to have been supervised by a licensed alcohol and drug counselor.  Other requirements for passage of an exam are still in place. It seems that this elimination of supervised residency does not benefit our community and perhaps brings less qualified providers to the profession.  However,  the statute still requires some supervised post graduate counseling work.

 Effective October 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 190: This  is  groundbreaking in that it authorizes pharmacists to dispense hormonal birth control to women without a doctor’s visit.  This is referred to as a “self-administered hormonal contraceptive” and it still requires approval of the food and drug administration of any medications dispensed.  The law does require women to fill out a risk assessment questionnaire and be given information about the medication.

Effective January 1, 2022.

Senate Bill 196: This bill prohibits a healthcare provider from performing any type of pelvic exam on a patient who is unconscious without their prior consent. As is  obvious on its face, this bill is aimed at preventing some of the atrocious acts of molestation that have occurred by medical professionals and been brought to light over the past couple of years.  Although it is fair that most medical professionals are of the upmost integrity, this law protects patients from the medical professionals who engage in this illegal conduct.

Effective July 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 251:  Senate Bill 251 requires a primary care doctor to make an assessment of whether a female patient should be screened for the BRCA gene mutation that causes breast cancer.  The law requires that state Medicaid will pay for the genetic counseling and testing of this harmful gene mutation.  Although this is an admirable effort to help early diagnosis of breast cancer, the practical implication of placing this burden on primary care physicians is problematic.  Is it now the law that every female is now required to fill out special paperwork for each visit to a primary care doctor to make this assessment and be sent for testing? This remains to be determined.

Effective January 1, 2022.

Senate Bill 305: Senate Bill 305 prohibits providers from using discriminatory practices when making decisions regarding organ transplants based on a person’s disability. Although this sounds on its face to be an effort at fairness, it seems that providers should be able to determine who, in fact, would be the worthiest recipient of an organ transplant and consider all relevant factors.  If I were donating my organs, I would want them to go to the person most likely to prosper and contribute to our society as a result of the donation. That does not mean that persons of disabilities are not worthy and deserving but this decision should be left to the people involved in making the decisions

Effective October 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 364: Senate Bill 364 requires hospitals and emergency rooms to inform victims of sexual assault that they have the right to receive emergency contraception and provide such contraception to them at their request. Unlike other states like South Dakota and Texas, I am proud to live in Nevada where our legislature is preserving and protecting the rights of women.

Effective October 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 396: Senate Bill 396 allows public agencies to contract with private entities or out of state entities to buy prescription drugs, pharmaceutical services, or medical supplies. This law was  likely prompted by the pandemic and the severe shortage of medical supplies that arose to give our state more options in obtaining supplies.

Effective immediately.

Senate Bill 420:  Senate Bill 420 creates a publicly managed, lower tier, private health insurance program. Unfortunately, this bill does not go into effect until January 2026 which is unusual for a law to be passed and not go into effect for five years.  However, this law could greatly help self-employed entrepreneurs in our state. This law will create a health insurance system that will leverage the purchasing power of the state to create lower premiums and provide affordable healthcare for the residents of the state of Nevada who are small businesses or employed by small businesses.  The option allows small businesses to start health plans that are defined in 402 US C 18021.

effective January 1, 2026. 

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