NC House Approves Key Health Care Reforms to Expand Access, Lower Costs & Increase Transparency
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
The Republican-led North Carolina House has passed dozens of bills this legislative session to expand access to care and lower costs for hardworking families across the state. This includes legislation to increase transparency of prescription drugs costs, improve access to telehealth, prevent drug overdoses and protect patients' religious rights.
Here is a full breakdown of the bills approved so far this session:
Improve Access to Care Through Telehealth (House Bill 149)
House Bill 149 requires health benefit plans to provide coverage for the delivery of health care services through telehealth.
Expand Access to Oral Chemo Treatment Drugs (House Bill 524)
House Bill 524 requires insurers to cover orally administered chemotherapy drugs on the same terms as intravenous or injected chemotherapy drugs until 60 days after Executive Order 116 is rescinded.
Encourage Safe Disposal of Unused Medication (House Bill 683)
House Bill 683 requires pharmacies to provide information on drug disposal and have one on-site method of drug disposal.
No Vaccine Mandate by EO, Rule, or Agency. (House Bill 572)
House Bill 572 prohibits the Governor from using an executive order to require that an individual receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Increase Transparency of Prescription Drug Costs (House Bill 178)
House Bill 178 requires insurers to make prescription drug cost information available at the point of prescribing and dispensing of drugs. When appropriate, prescribers would be required to make the cost information available to patients at the point of prescribing.
Allow Pharmacists to Administer Injectable Drugs (House Bill 96)
House Bill 96 allows immunizing pharmacists to administer injectable drugs to adults. The Board of Pharmacy and Medical Board would be required to adopt the rules necessary to administer this act, including creating written protocols pharmacists must follow when administering the dugs and developing record keeping requirements.
Expand Coverage for Breast Cancer Imaging (House Bill 703)
House Bill 703 requires health benefit plans to cover diagnostic procedures for breast cancer to be covered on the same terms as pre-diagnosis screening exams for breast cancer
Ensure Visitation Rights (House Bill 351)
House Bill 351 protects visitation rights for patients during emergencies – like the COVID-19 pandemic – in nursing homes, combination homes, hospice care facilities, and adult care homes. The bill ensures each resident is allowed a visit at least twice per month from one preapproved visitor or preapproved alternate visitor.
Expand Dental Coverage (House Bill 646)
House Bill 646 amends insurance statutes to require coverage for dental procedures resulting from cancer treatment.
Prevent Lead in Drinking Water (House Bill 272)
House Bill 272 decreases the amount of lead in drinking water that constitutes a "lead poisoning hazard" from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb.
Protect Patients Religious Rights (House Bill 447)
House Bill 447 requires a hospital to allow clergy members to visit admitted patients who wish to be visited by a clergy member, despite any disaster declarations or the use of the hospital as a temporary emergency shelter. Clergy members would be subject to health screenings and adherence to infection control procedures that do not interfere with the religious beliefs of the patient or clergy member. Hospitals would be able to restrict visitation by clergy members who did not pass the health screening.
Designate September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (House Bill 89)
House Bill 89 designates the month of September as Childhood Cancer Awareness month in North Carolina. Cancer is a leading cause of death from disease among children and the most common types of cancers are leukemias, brain and other nervous system tumors, and lymphomas.
Remove Barriers to Occupational Therapy Licenses (House Bill 224)
House Bill 224 enters North Carolina into an agreement to recognize occupational therapy licenses granted in other states. Occupational therapy refers to care that helps people recover the ability to perform daily tasks after injury, illness, or disability. It was signed it law.
Increase Penalties for Falsifying Medical Records (House Bill 195)
House Bill 195 would create an offense for a health care provider to knowingly and willfully destroy, alter, or falsify a medical record for certain purposes.
Organ Donations on Driver’s License (House Bill 95)
House Bill 95 makes it an “evergreen” designation so that drivers will automatically remain an organ donor when renewing their license. It was signed into law.
Study Lipedema (Senate Bill 586)
Senate Bill 586 requires the Legislative Research Commission to study medical issues surrounding lipedema and to report findings and any proposed legislation to the 2022 Regular Session of the 2021 General Assembly.
Designate August 31st as Overdose Awareness Day (House Bill 180)
House Bill 180 designates August 31st of each year as Overdose Awareness Day to raise awareness of drug overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and spread the message that overdose death is preventable.
Provide Patients with Education on Opioid Overdose Prevention (House Bill 93)
House Bill 93 requires each health care practitioner who prescribes an opioid medication to a patient to provide education on overdose prevention and offer a prescription for an opioid antagonist for that patient under certain circumstances and purposes.
Ensure Safety of Incarcerated Pregnant Women (House Bill 608)
House Bill 608 prohibits the use of shackles on incarcerated women during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as the six-week postpartum period.
Prevent Rape Victims from Being Billed for Medical Exams (House Bill 626)
House Bill 626 penalizes any medical provider that bills a rape victim, the victim's insurance, or any other collateral source for the cost of a forensic medical examination.
Establish Safe Surgical Technology Standards (House Bill 468)
House Bill 468 prevent hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities from employing surgical technologists who do not have at least one of the following: evidence of successful completion of an accredited educational program for surgical technology, military training in the field of surgical technology, or prior work experience as a surgical technologist. Surgical technologists would also be required to complete thirty hours of continuing education every two years, and the employing hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities would have to verify completion of those hours.
Support Teledentistry (House Bill 144)
House Bill 144 establishes standards for teledentistry and allows dental hygienists to administer local anesthetics while under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.
Juvenile Court Mental Health Assessments (House Bill 615)
House Bill 615 requires an appropriate mental health assessment to be provided for juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent and have a suspected mental illness or developmental disability.
Timely Updates to Newborn Screening Program (House Bill 736)
House Bill 736 requires a condition to be added to the NC Newborn Screening Program within three years of being added to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP).
Increase punishment for mental health facilities operating without a license (House Bill 734)
House Bill 734 increase the penalty for operating a licensable facility without a license to a Class H felony, including a fine of $1,000 per day that the facility is in violation.