Physical Therapy 2023 Legislative ReportBy Jack McDonald 5/8/2023
North Dakota’s 68th Legislative Assembly, that began Day 1 at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2023, lurched to a close at 2:54am on Sunday, April 30, 2023, its 75th Legislative Day, after considering some 990 bills and resolutions.
The State Constitution allows the Legislature to meet 80 days biennially, or every two years, so the Legislature has five days “in the bank” to use to call itself into special session for whatever reason the next two years.
It was a good session for physical therapists. First and foremost was SB 2191, introduced at the urging of the North Dakota chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA-ND). It adds physical therapists to the list of health care practitioners who can sign applications for mobility impaired parking permits. It sailed through nearly unanimously and was signed by the Governor March 15, 2023. It takes effect August 1, 2023.
There were four bills aimed at licensing boards. HB 1372 would have required boards to issue a provisional license within 30 days to foreign practitioners who were state residents. It was strongly opposed by various licensing boards and was defeated in the House 0-90.
HB 2184, introduced by Sen. Judy Lee, R-West Fargo, would have put all boards under a uniform governance law and called for another interim study of licensing boards. It failed in the House, again with much board opposition.
Senate majority leader Sen. David Hogue, R-Minot, an attorney, introduced SB 2249 to put all licensing boards under the Labor Commissioner with directions to review continuing education requirements and licensing of out-of-state applicants, among other things. It was amended to have the Labor Commissioner meet with the boards during the interim to discuss these issues and to recommend legislation to the 69th Legislative Assembly. It passed.
Sen. Lee also introduced SB 2337, to have the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide administrative, financial and information technology (IT) services to all boards. It was another attempt at uniform governance. It failed in the Senate 1-46.
One of the most controversial health care bills of the session was HB 1416, the any willing provider law. It said an insurer must allow coverage for an insured who sees a health care provider not in the company’s plan. It passed but was vetoed by the Governor. The legislature over-rode the veto and it will become law August 1, 2023. Two physical therapists testified in both the House and Senate in favor of the bill.
HB 1221, which requires health care professionals to wear name tags properly designating their profession, was introduced by the North Dakota Medical Association (NDMA) and reflects existing law for physical therapists, passed and becomes law August 1, 2023.
However, another NDMA bill, HB 1121, which sought to include health care professionals working in hospital or clinical locations to existing law which makes assaulting those persons a Class C felony, failed.
HB 2012, the huge ($5.3 billion) Health and Human Service Department budget, obviously passed. It included language providing 3% inflationary reimbursement rates for each of the next two years of the biennium (2023-2024, 2024-2025) for health care providers (including physical therapists) providing services under traditional Medicaid.
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