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Legislative Report 2007

During the 2007 session the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted the following legislation, which impacts and relates to the work of the Department of HEALTH. The General Assembly website lists the full text of the acts (see H or S number) and the enacted legislation identified by the Public Law (PL) reference.   

HEALTH PROFESSIONAL REGULATION

This act expands the Ambulance Service Board committee membership to include additional representation. PL 2007-298 (S 792A) and PL 2007-162 (H 5457A)

This act adds continuing education requirement to Funeral Service and embalmers license renewals standards. PL 2007-326 (H 5104Aaa)

The amendments to this law make the Medical marijuana program permanent and expand the definition of caregiver.  PL 2007-495 (S 791aa) and PL 2007-72   (H 6005aa)

This act allows Rhode Island Nurse Licensure to join the multi-state licensure compact for nurse licensure.  PL 2007-62 (S 640A) and PL 2007-50 (H 5956aa) 

These amendments update the Optometrist licensing requirements.  PL 2007-113 (S 636Aaa) and PL 2007-101 (H 5666A)

This act authorizes licensed pharmacists to administer injectable immunizations after completing the Health Department approved training. PL 2007-65 (S446Aaa) and PL 2007-53 (H 5678A)

These amendments add continuing education requirements to Physical Therapists license renewal standards.   PL 2007-27 (S 657A) and PL 2007-40 (H 5763A)

This law entitles physicians to payment for services rendered to patients during the period between the payer’s approval of a physician’s application for credentials and the issuance of a billing number.  The law also authorizes ‘Pay for performance’ payment guidelines providing they are based on principles endorsed by the National Quality Forum. PL 2007-215 (S254Aaa) and PL 2007-86 (H5736B)

The 2008 State budget document increases health professional licensure fees by approximately 30% for most professional licensure categories.  PL 2007-73  (H 5300A)

This law amends the Speech Pathology/Audiology licensing act by requiring audiologists initially licensed on or after January 1, 2008 to possess an earned doctorate in Audiology from a regionally accredited institution.   PL 2007-33 (S 173A) and PL 2007-39 (H 5674aa) 

This act prohibits mandatory overtime for nurses by legislating that no health care facility shall require a nurse or nursing assistant paid on an hourly basis to accept work in excess of an agreed upon, predetermined scheduled work shift of eight (8), ten (10), or twelve (12) hours.   PL 2007-496 (S 29A) and PL 2007-515 (H 5099A)

COMMUNITY, FAMILY HEALTH AND EQUITY

This amendment establishes an adult vaccine advisory committee and charges them with assessing ACIP-recommended vaccines for adults and advising the Director of Health. PL 2007-320 (H 5061A)

The act stipulates policies for schools to respond to student allergies to peanuts/tree nuts, including posting notices, prohibiting the sale of peanuts/tree nuts and peanut-based products, and providing peanut/tree nut free areas in the cafeteria and classrooms. PL 2007- 304  (H 5671 Aaa)

These acts requires high schools to offer statutorily defined healthier food and beverages, including in vending machines, effective January 1, 2008. PL 2007-80 (S 81A) and PL 2007-92 (H 5050 A)

This law establishes fire safety standards for cigarettes and restricts cigarette sales in Rhode Island to such cigarettes effective August 3, 2008.   PL 2007- 245 (S 106B) and PL 2007-333 (H 5257Aaa)

These acts establish air quality study protocols for the RI Airport Corporation to implement at T.F. Greene Airport and stipulate standards for such protocols, including a health study.   PL 2007-198 (S 1074) and PL 2007-190 (H 6208A)   

These acts establish fines for radon control activities performed by unlicensed individuals.
PL 2007-267 (S 131A) and PL 2007-142 (H 5735B)

These laws authorize the inclusion of HIV screening in routine prenatal care and allow health providers options for communicating to patients about the result of such tests.  PL 2007-279 (S 841Aaa) and PL 2007-170 (H 6095Baa)

VITAL RECORDS

These acts authorize former RI Probate Judges to solemnize marriages in Rhode Island.
PL 2007-259 (S 1037A) and PL 2007-174 (H 5390aa)

These amendments authorize the State Registrar for Vital Records to issue a certificate for stillbirths. PL 2007-24 (S174A) and PL 2007-26 (H 5086aa)

DRINKING WATER QUALITY

These amendments authorize the Director to adopt consistent statewide regulations governing the content of cross-connection control plans and to require that all community public water systems and all non-transient, non-community public water systems prepare a cross-connection control plan to guide the installing of back flow prevention devices.  PL 2007-127 (S 376Aaa) and PL 2007-208 (H 5578A)

HEALTH FACILITIES

These amendments allow the department to establish annual licensure renewal dates for health facilities and assisted living residences through the regulatory process. PL 2007-30 (S 326) and PL 2007 -41 (H 5946)

HEALTH PLANNING

This act directs the department, contingent upon funding, to develop and promote recommendations on the health care system in the form of health planning documents and defines the membership of a health care planning and accountability advisory council.   PL 2007-500 (S 648Aaa) and PL 2007-512 (H 56125A)

RESOLUTIONS

This resolution directs Health to prepare a strategic plan to educate the public about the health hazards associated with consuming artificial trans fats. Educational approaches may include use of existing newsletters, websites and advertising. The plan is due to the General Assembly by March 31, 2008.  2007-R 274 (H 5072A)

This resolution directs the Health Department and RI Department of Education to develop a syndromic school-based surveillance-reporting tool and present the findings to the General Assembly by March 15, 2007. 2007-R 6 (S 2aa) and 2007-R 5 (H 5008)

This resolution supports the state’s adoption of electronic medical records and a health information exchange. 2007-R 379 (S 1085)

These resolutions request the Department of Health to use its power to advocate for and support end-of-life and advanced care planning for the citizens of Rhode Island.  2007-R 374 (S 956) and 2007-R 276 (H 6359)

A special legislative commission is created consisting of eleven (11) members, one of whom shall be the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health or a designee.  The commission will study all aspects of Lyme disease in Rhode Island and report to the General Assembly on or before February 7, 2008.  The commission expires on April 7, 2008.  2007-R 399 (H 5676aa)