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Legislative Report 2010

During the 2010 session the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted legislation (not including the annual budget) that impacts and relates to the work of the Department of HEALTH.  The list below references these new and amended statutes. The General Assembly website (General Assembly website) lists the full text of the acts by House (H) or Senate (S) number and the enacted legislation is identified by the Public Law (PL) reference.

Cross-Cutting Legislation

Any state agency with regulatory or permitting authority over a business shall establish a process whereby, at the option of the business and, if applicable, upon the presentation by the business of a preliminary determination by the municipality that the subject proposal is consistent with the applicable municipal zoning ordinances, the agency will conduct a simultaneous review and approval process with one or more other state or municipal agencies, and will not require prior approval of one or more state or municipal agency before beginning the review and approval process. PL 2010-258 (S 2849A) and PL 2010-247 (H 8104A) (The above isn’t clear to me—not sure what it’s about??)

Prescriptions may be written for sexual partners of STD patients without a physical exam.  PL 2010-166 (S 2806A) and PL 2010-174 (H 7450A)

The Health Care Quality Steering committee is mandated by law to recommend written guidelines to be given to every individual before and, if necessary, during their hospitalization for the purpose of preventing hospital-acquired infections. In emergency hospitalizations, written guidelines shall be given within a reasonable period of time. PL 2010-168 (S 2994) and PL 2010-164 (H 7550)

The law authorizes the director of Health to issue temporary health care provider licenses during emergencies.  PL 2010-51 (S 2631) and PL 2010-067 (H 7750) 

The law requires the health care provider to report the abuse of a child who has been sexually abused to the appropriate law enforcement entity.  PL 2010-83 (S 2220A) and PL 2010-85 (H 7865Aaa)

Community Family Health And Equity

Lyme Disease education is required in public schools. The Department of Health and the Department of Education are charged with developing messages. PL 2010-81 (S 2265B) and PL 2010-175 (H 7418A)

Office Of The State Medical Examiner

The Child Death Review analysis and reporting was added to the responsibilities of the Office of the State Medical Examiners.  PL 2010-144 (S 2588) and PL 2010-143 (H 7417A) 

Environment And Health Services Regulation

The Medical Marijuana Program confidentiality was extended to the to include the applications for participants and other information submitted relevant to the applicant.  PL 2010-229 (S 2834aa) and PL 2010-110 (H 8172aa)

The Radiation Tech Licensing Act was updated to reflect changes in the profession allowing the director to appropriately license radiologic technologists in accordance with current standards of practice and to register, certify or approve individuals and education programs relating to operators of sources of radiation. PL2010-139 (S 2130A) and PL2010-137 (H 7273aa)

A minimum financial capacity was established for private ambulance providers. Such information will be submitted as part of the licensing application.  PL 2010-170 (H 7825A)

The nursing home moratorium was extended and standards established to apply for “culture change beds”.  HEALTH is authorized to develop the process for additional culture change beds.  PL 2010-60 (S 2289A) and PL 2010-076 (H 7169A)

The window established in 2009 for the ten-bed/ten percent-expansion allowing an increase in nursing home beds is extended from June 30, 2010 through December 31, 2010.  PL 2010-309 (S3022) 

The definition of resident was amended in the Assisted Living Residence statute to allow the facility to accept new patients transfers from health care facilities, given a specific range of conditions to be articulated in regulation. PL 2010-183 (S 2429A) and PL 2010-178  (H 8068A) 

This act extends from July 2011 to July 2015 a variance in the Utilization Review Act which allows a review agent to be exempt from one or more of the specific requirements of the chapter where the review agent determines that such variance is necessary to permit the review agent to evaluate and address practitioner billing and practice patterns. PL 2010-177 (S 2994) and PL 2010-190 (H 7907A)  

A Utilization of Unused Drugs Pilot program is mandated and the window for implementation has been extended by three years to 2012.  PL 2010-172 (H 7853)

The requirement for retrofitting or installing residential cross connection valves on existing homes has been eliminated from the Drinking Water statute.  PL 2010-138 (S 2952A) and PL 2010-129 (H 7131A)

Distressed essential community hospitals will be allocated a quarter of a percent (.25%) of the taxes on the premiums of health insurers to assist the distressed community hospitals.  PL 2010-155 (S2417A) and PL 2010-154 (H 7654A)