5/26/22 Update

There are two weeks left in the Louisiana Regular Legislative Session.  Most of the bills were monitoring have made it through the process.  This week our bill (SB22) extending the Palliative Care Advisory Council is being heard in House Health and Welfare.  At the time of writing, the Senate had not announced their committee agendas for the week.  Senate Health and Welfare is expected to meet on Wednesday.  

May 12 was our Annual Hospice Day at the Capitol.  We handed out over 400 cups of ice cream to legislators and staff.  It was a great opportunity to speak with legislators about hospice and palliative care in Louisiana. 

2022 Louisiana Legislative Tracking List

 4/10/22 Update

This week was a little slow but it looks like next week will be quite busy! Next week there are 23 bills we are monitoring scheduled to be debated in committee or on the floor. One bill of high priority is scheduled for the House Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday, April 13th. HB 459 by Representative Owen is known as the Life-Sustaining Care Act. This bill states healthcare providers and institutions must provide life-sustaining care and if they decline to do so they must do it until the patient can be transferred to another facility. It defines "life-sustaining care" as health care including, but not limited to, mechanical ventilation, renal dialysis, chemotherapy, antibiotics, and nutrition and hydration that, in reasonable medical judgment, has a significant possibility of sustaining the life of a patient. From my interpretation of this bill and after speaking with other groups this legislation doesn’t take into account terminally ill, advance care directives, living wills or POLST. In the definition it does state “reasonable medical judgement” but that is a broad term. Monday I will send out a list of key points regarding the bill along with contact information for legislators on the committee. If you would like, you can send an email or call your representative to oppose the bill. Since COVID, you can also oppose/support legislation by emailing the committee and I will send that information as well.

HB 226 by Rep. Turner that creates the Louisiana Healthcare Workforce Training Law was scheduled for this week has moved to next week. HB 611 by Rep. Selders was added to the agenda at the last minute this week and will be heard on the floor Wednesday, April 13th. This legislation requires LDH to run the Facility Needs Review through the House or Senate Health and Welfare Committees. A number of vaccine/COVID/Immunization bills are scheduled to be heard Tuesday, April 12 in House Health and Welfare. Senate Health and Welfare Committee has not yet posted their agenda for next week.

4/3/22 Update

Last week SB 22 by Senator Boudreaux that extends the termination date of the Palliative Care Advisory Council passed out of Senate Health and Welfare Committee.  Special shout out to Dr. Susan Nelson who came and testified for the bill.   Also passing out of that committee was Senator Mills bill that moves Facility Needs Review from rule to statute and creates a more transparent process.  You can watch the committee at https://senate.la.gov/s_video/videoarchive.asp?v=senate/2022/03/032322HW our testimony starts at 14:00.

Week 3 of the regular session is behind us and so is the one day veto session. Tuesday evening SB 22 regarding the Palliative Care Advisory Council and SB 30 regarding Facility Need Review passed off of the Senate Floor and are now on their way to the House of Representatives. Both bills passed without opposition.

As many of you know the regular session was put on hold Tuesday evening and a veto override session was convened Wednesday afternoon. Some may be wondering why the veto session couldn’t wait until after the current regular session. According to the State Constitution, a veto override session must convene at noon on the fortieth day following the most recent session. For the first time in state history the fortieth day fell in the middle of a regular session. During this one day veto session the legislature did overturn Governor Edwards veto of the new congressional districts.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programing...

Committees that were canceled this week have been rescheduled for next week. Legislation on the docket include a bill that extends certification of medication attendant to adult residential care facilities and a bill addressing workforce shortages in healthcare. This bill creates the Louisiana Healthcare Workforce Education and Training Council and provides for duties of the council, the Department of Health and higher education governing boards with respect to healthcare workforce development. As the bill currently stands the council is made up of legislators and higher education boards. I will be monitoring this bill closely to see how end of life care can benefit from the legislation.