Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, marked the beginning of the short legislative session in Oregon — anticipated to go through early March. As always, the Northwest Kidney Council has thoroughly reviewed the proposed legislation and is planning to engage on key issues, while monitoring others.
As we advocate on behalf of the kidney community in Salem this year, we remain dedicated to promoting safety and access to quality care for the kidney community throughout the state. With that in mind, here are the bills that have caught our eye so far:
HB 4071: Relating to health licensing
This is a bipartisan bill that would require health professional regulatory boards to issue a temporary authorization to practice a health profession to eligible applicants within 10 days of receiving an application for licensure. Essentially, if an out-of-state health care worker is qualified and they indicate that they intend to reside in Oregon, the relevant regulatory board can grant them a one-year license to provide care. This is critical for the kidney community, which continues to face pandemic-era challenges finding and retaining a qualified workforce. Learn more about HB 4071 here.
Thank you to Chief Sponsors Reps. Ed Diehl and Hai Pham, as well as Sen. Daniel Bonham and the many other co-sponsors.
HB 4011: Continuous glucose monitoring
Among many other things, this bill directs the Oregon Health Authority to cover continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) products for anyone who use insulin in the Oregon Health Plan. As diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease, it’s important that patients have the tools they need to manage their conditions.
Oregon should not continue to be one of only a handful of states that limit CGM coverage for Oregonians who use insulin. Importantly, this legislation also allows patients to access CGM through their pharmacy, which expands the accessibility of this tool and thus improves patient outcomes. Learn more about the bill here.
2/6/24 UPDATE: A public hearing on this bill was held. Read our testimony.
Thank you to the House Interim Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care for requesting the introduction of this bill.
Hospital discharges, health care interpretation, and new payment models
We’re keeping an eye on some other bills that could have impacts to the kidney community in Oregon — and while we’re not taking a position on these at the moment, it’s important to stay updated on their progress.
SB 1507 would direct the Oregon Health Authority to evaluate challenges that hospitals are facing in discharging patients — something that a large task force is already discussing. Additionally, SB 1578 would require the OHA to establish a portal for health care providers to contract with interpreters, which could be beneficial to many kidney patients in Oregon. And lastly, HB 4069 could establish a pilot program somewhere in the state that would test out “alternative ways” of paying for health care.
We look forward to keeping our community up to date as the session ramps up in Oregon.