Summary of Public Laws

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Public Laws Enacted
during the 1st Session
of the
128th Maine Legislature


P.L., Ch. 122 (L.D. 273)              

An Act To Add an Exception to Prescription Monitoring Program Requirements

Summary: This law provides the following exceptions to the requirements to check prescription monitoring information:

  1. When a licensed or certified health care professional directly orders or administers a benzodiazepine or opioid medication to a person in an emergency room setting, an inpatient hospital setting, a long-term care facility or a residential care facility; or
  2. When a licensed or certified heath care professional directly orders, prescribes or administers a benzodiazepine or opioid medication to a person suffering from pain associated with end-of-life or hospice care.

P.L., Ch. 284 (L.D. 390)       

An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the   Expenditures of  State Government, General Fund and Other Funds and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government  for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019

Summary: This is the FY 2018-2019 Biennial Budget Bill. The over 830-page proposal included several policy initiatives the Governor has advanced throughout his six years in office. Many of the measures found in the budget struck a discord with the members of the Legislature, causing a temporary state government shutdown and the unprece-dented convention of four special legislative “Committees of Conference,” whose six members were appointed by the presiding officers and were effectively delegated budget negotiation authority. The compromise budget was finally adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor on July 4. Key issues in the bill were cuts to the Fund for Healthy Maine, reductions in hospital payments and K-12 funding.

Of note for home care providers, the budget included funding for increased reimburse-ment rates for Home-based and Community-based Services (originally LD 643). The funding brings the total amount of increased revenue to nearly $15M over the past 3 years. The Alliance will continue efforts to secure the $18M that is consistent with the recommendations made by Burns & Associates, Inc. in its report “Rate Review for Personal Care and Related Services: Final Rate Models” dated February 1, 2016.

P.L., Ch. 290 (L.D. 481)          

An Act To Promote Workforce Participation

Summary: This law increases the amount of income earned by recipients of benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that is disregarded in determining the amount of benefits they receive. The amount of the disregard is lowered over time as recipients make the transition to stable employment.

P.L., Ch. 80  (L.D. 801)  

An Act To Allow a Physical Therapist To Administer Certain Coagulation Tests in a Patient’s Home 

Summary: A bill initiated by the Alliance, is now a law that allows a person licensed as a physical therapist, as part of an evaluation of a person in preparation for treatment by the physical therapist, perform a finger stick blood test in the person’s home to assess blood clotting levels of that person. If a person licensed as a physical therapist performs a finger stick blood test pursuant to this section, that person shall communicate the test results to the prescribing health care practitioner. Only the health care practitioner may interpret the test results, determine whether a change is needed in the person’s plan of care and make decisions with respect to medication adjustments.

P.L., Ch. 213  (L.D. 1031)

An Act To Clarify the Opioid Medication Prescribing Limits Laws                 

Summary: Public Law 2015, Chapter 488 requires that, beginning July 1, 2017, the aggregate amount of opioid medication prescribed to a patient may not be in excess of 100 morphine milligram equivalents per day and directs the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt rules establishing reasonable exceptions to those prescriber limits. This law makes the following changes to the laws relating to the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program and limits on opioid prescribing.

  1. In the laws governing the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council, it changes the definition of “palliative care” to clarify that palliative care does not always include a requirement for hospice care or attention to spiritual needs and includes chronic, unremitting or intractable pain such as neuropathic pain as an example of “serious illness.”
  2. It changes the definition of “dispenser” to remove healthcare professionals.
  3. It removes the requirement to submit to the Department of Health and Human Services information regarding a controlled substance that is dispensed by a hospital emergency department for use during a period of 48 hours or less.
  4. It adds to the list of individuals who can access the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program information the staff members of a group practice of prescribers who are authorized by a designated group practice leader, insofar as the information relates to a patient receiving care from that group practice.
  5. It removes the requirement for a dispenser to notify the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program if the dispenser has reason to believe that a prescription is fraudulent or duplicative, maintaining the requirement that the dispenser contact the prescriber.
  6. It clarifies that the requirement to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program does not apply for surgical procedures, rather than only inpatient surgery.
  7. It clarifies that dispensing in connection with surgical procedures is exempt from the 100 morphine milligram equivalents limitation on opioids.
  8. It clarifies that an opioid product that is labeled by the federal Food and Drug Administration to be dispensed only in a stock bottle that exceeds a 7-day supply may be prescribed as long as the amount dispensed does not exceed a 14-day supply.
  9. It makes all rules related to the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program major substantive rules except that the Department of Health and Human Services is directed to adopt routine technical rules to conform to the changes in the definition of “dispenser” and the removal of the requirement of a pharmacist to notify the program when a prescription appears fraudulent or duplicative.

P.L., Ch. 312  (L.D. 1108)    

An Act To Restore Public Health Nursing Services                                    

Summary: This law requires the Department of Health and Human Services to promptly fill all public health nurse positions within the Public Health Nursing Program for which funding is provided. It prohibits the transfer or otherwise repurposing of any funds appropriated or allocated for the salaries, benefits and other costs of public health nurses and the services they provide. It changes reporting deadlines for the Director of the Public Health Nursing Program under the Department of Health and Human Services to report to the Health and Human Services Committee on the progress of the department in achieving full staffing of the Public Health Nursing Program. The amendment also removes the appropriations and allocations section.

P.L., Ch. 145  (L.D. 1134)

An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Nursing Facilities To Permit Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists and  Physician Assistants to Perform Certain Physician Tasks

Summary: As enacted, this law provides that, in accordance with federal regulations:

  1. For nursing home residents receiving skilled nursing facility level services, a physician assistant, nurse practitioner  or  clinical  nurse  specialist  may provide  medically necessary visits, certifications and recertifications and required visits that alternate with those performed by a physician if delegated by a physician; and
  2. For nursing home residents receiving nursing facility level services, a physician assistant, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist may perform any physician task.

P.L., Ch. 258  (L.D. 1410)   

An Act To Adopt the Nurse Licensure Compact                                

Summary: This law enacts the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The compact provides a mechanism by which a physician licensed in one member state may apply for and receive an expedited license in another member state.

P.L., Ch. 276  (L.D. 1427)

An Act To Make Community Paramedicine Services Permanent

Summary: This law allows Maine EMS board may establish community paramedicine services. “Community Paramedicine” is defined as the practice of an emergency medical services provider primarily in an out-of-hospital setting. That provider would be allowed to provide episodic patient evaluation, advice and treatment directed at preventing or improving a particular medical condition, within the scope of practice of the emergency medical services provider as specifically requested or directed by a physician.

P.L., Ch. 162  (L.D. 1477)   

An Act To Coordinate and Enforce Existing Workplace Training Requirements           

Summary: In addition to employer responsibilities set forth in rules adopted under Title 5, section 4572, this law requires all employers to ensure a workplace free of sexual harassment by implementing the minimum requirements, including workplace posting, employee notification and education and training.

P.L., Ch. 307   (L.D. 1485)    

An Act Regarding MaineCare Coverage for Telehealth Services

Summary: This law establishes an advisory group, the Maine Telehealth and Telemonitoring Advisory Group, within the Department of Health and Human Services to study telehealth and telemonitoring.