New Nevada Healthcare Laws 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 one of two. Our legislature was busy addressing many inequities based upon race, immigration status and socio-economic position. They updated our Medicaid laws to provide expanded coverages to address these disparities.   The Nevada legislature passed laws to require our Department of Health and Human Services to study maternal mortality rates in different demographic areas to determine the need for additional services.  This study will allow our lawmakers to  determine whether to laws passed expanding coverage for maternity regardless of residency and expanding coverage to allow for Doula services will cut down the maternal mortality rates impacting those communities. 

They also addressed issues of drug overdose and passed into law a bill allowing school district personnel to administer life-saving opioid overdose drugs to students. It is shocking and sad that this bill is necessary. However, the fact that it is necessary, and our legislature was brave enough to step up and address the issue head on will hopefully save lives of students.  This law is indicative of the progressive nature of our state. The legislature also addressed pandemic issues in allowing employees to take their sick leave to take care of family members. The following is part one of a summary of the healthcare bills that were passed by our Nevada legislature during the 2021 session.

Health and Health Care (Part 1 of 2)

Assembly Bill 59: Assembly bill 59 seemed to sneak in under the radar. I was quite surprised that there was not a lot of press or social media regarding the passage of this bill. This bill is our legislatures attempt to curb this shocking and distressing trend towards kids smoking and vaping. It is sad to see kids starting these activities at such a young age that are so bad for their long-term health. It is my hope that this bill possibly curbs this trend toward of kids under 21 using nicotine and tobacco products.  This new law raises legal age to use or buy tobacco or nicotine products to 21, from 18.  Various effective dates through July 1, 2021. 

Assembly Bill 119:  Existing law establishes a Maternal Mortality and Review Committee, and that committee has traditionally been required to perform studies and make recommendations to reduce maternal mortality. This bill increases the duties of the committee to identify and review disparities in the incidence of maternal mortality in the state including disparity by race and economic position. Basically, the legislature has asked the committee to review and include in their report whether there is race and economic issues that contribute to maternal mortality so that the state can address and hopefully remedy those disparities.  This law revises the duties of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee to look at factors of race, ethnicity, age, and geographic region in mortality which were not previously considered.  

Effective May 25, 2021.

Assembly Bill 177: Senate Bill 177 is another attempt to make our state inclusive of all races. This bill requires pharmacies to print prescription labels in different languages if requested by the patient.

Effective July 1, 2022.

Assembly Bill 187: This law Designates September as “Ovarian and Prostate Cancer Prevention and Awareness Month.” Assembly bill 187 specifically designates the month of September each year as the ovarian and prostate cancer prevention and awareness month in the state of Nevada. This law is put into place to bring attention to the factual information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian and prostate cancer.   Hopefully , this recognition of these terrible cancers will make our citizens more aware of the early signs of these conditions to prevent death and encourage proactive health screenings.

 Effective May 27, 2021.

Assembly Bill 189: Expands Medicaid coverage for pregnant women. Existing law requires the department of health and human services for State of Nevada to determine coverages under Medicaid for pregnancy. This bill requires the department to expand coverage under the state plan for Medicaid for pregnant women to provide Medicaid for pregnancy without submitting an application for enrollment and Medicaid which includes additional proof of eligibility. The bill also prohibits the imposition of the requirement that a pregnant woman who resides in the state and who is otherwise eligible for Medicaid must reside in the United States for a prescribed period of time before enrolling in Medicaid. This bill is to protect the health and safety of babies born in the state of Nevada by providing proper medical care for their mothers regardless of their residency status.

Effective July 1, 2022.

Assembly Bill 190: Assembly bill 189 is another Covid-based law that requires private employers to allow employees to use sick-leave to take care of a family member. This new law allows certain employees to use sick leave for any purpose, including to take care of an immediate family member with illness and/or medical needs. 

Effective October 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 191: Senate Bill 191 basically updates the Medicaid laws to recognize the treatment by physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners. Many of the existing laws refer to doctors; however, as we all know, we are seeing these medical providers much more frequently than medical doctors. This law allows coverage for physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners and other community health workers to be covered services under Medicaid.  This law adds Medicaid coverage for services of different community health workers besides medical doctors. 

Effective July 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 192: This new law changes procedures and requirements for testing pregnant women for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases.  The new law requires that physicians treating pregnant woman test for additional sexually transmitted diseases unless the pregnant women opt  out of such tests.  This law also  removes the penalty for a woman who refuses treatment.

Effective July 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 205:  Bill 205 authorizes a school nurse or other designated school employee or administrator to administer medication to reverse an opioid drug overdose. Is a sad state of our country and schools that this is a necessary law. However, if any child can be saved by quick action by school personnel it is a much-needed law

Various effective dates through July 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 216: This bill adds Medicaid coverage for cognitive assessment and care planning for patients showing signs of impairment including memory loss.  This bill provides that the director of Medicaid shall require that the state pay the non-federal share of expenditures incurred for patients receiving cognitive assessments and care planning services due to symptoms or signs of cognitive impairment including short term memory loss, orientation as to time in place, deductive or abstract reasoning or other cognitive impairments.

Effective July 1, 2021.

Assembly Bill 256:  This bill requires state Medicaid to pay for Doula services for pregnant women. The law further requires that applicants seeking payment for Doula services must provide prove that they possess the require training and qualifications to perform such services that are prescribed by the department of health and human services.  This law is another expansion of  Medicaid coverage for services.

Effective January 1, 2022.

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