Indiana's 2022 legislative session adjourned on March 9, 2022. Though filled with unexpected twists and turns, the IHA team is pleased with the outcomes of this session and the accomplishments achieved—including both the helpful legislation passed and the harmful bills avoided. The participation of IHA members and their willingness to have conversations with their local legislators was vital to ensuring the needs of hospitals were accurately represented.
In total, 849 bills were introduced during the 2022 session. The House introduced 432 bills, and the Senate introduced 417 bills. By the end of session, 95 Senate bills and 83 House bills passed.
IHA identified a proactive agenda for the 2022 legislative session based on the feedback of members and direction of the IHA Board. This legislative session resulted in multiple substantial achievements for Indiana hospitals that will have a beneficial impact on Indiana's health care landscape for years to come. Below is a list of IHA's agenda bills and outcomes for the 2022 legislative session:
Nursing Indiana Back to Health— HEA 1003: House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1003, authored by Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) and sponsored by Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), was named the “Nursing Indiana Back to Health" bill. This legislation focuses on expanding the number of nurses in Indiana through increasing nursing education enrollment, expanding the number of clinical simulation hours, and increasing the allowed number of adjunct nurse educators for associate degree programs. The bill also codifies the temporary health care registry that was previously established in Governor Holcomb's executive order, as well as accelerating paths for foreign-educated nurses to become licensed in the state. While Nursing Indiana Back to Health is not a complete antidote to Indiana's nursing shortage, it is an important step forward.
License Reciprocity— SEA 5: Authored by Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) and sponsored by Rep. Ann Vermilion (R-Marion), Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 5 provides license reciprocity for health care professionals in Indiana. Currently, only a few health care professions have license reciprocity, meaning that if they are licensed in another state, they can quickly receive an Indiana license to practice without starting the licensure process over from scratch. By instituting reciprocity for the rest of Indiana's health care professions, it will be much easier for health care providers from other states to move to Indiana and practice without sacrificing quality or safety. In a similar vein, the interstate medical licensure compact (SEA 251) and the psychology inter-jurisdictional compact (SEA 365) were also both passed this session. Compacts have a similar goal to license reciprocity—allowing members of the compact to practice in participating states, of which Indiana will now be one. Both reciprocity and compacts are additional steps toward alleviating the health care workforce shortage in Indiana.
Insurance Transparency— SB 249: To continue improving Indiana's health care costs through transparency, SB 249 would have required health insurance companies to provide additional cost information to the public, in line with the price transparency in which hospitals have already engaged. One provision of the bill would have required health insurance companies to detail the factors behind premium increases over 5%, which would have helped individual Hoosiers and employers better understand the drivers of cost year over year. SB 249 passed the Senate unanimously, but the House Insurance Committee chairman declined to hear the bill. Although the bill did not pass this year, IHA will continue to work with industry stakeholders and the legislature to continue the path toward greater transparency in an effort to lower Indiana's health care costs.
Streamlining Good Faith Estimate Requirements— HEA 1238: In addition to the transparency initiatives, SB 249 also included language that aligned Indiana law with federal good faith estimate (GFE) requirements, providing that a practitioner or facility satisfies the requirements of the Indiana Code requiring GFEs by complying with the existing federal law. Although SB 249 did not pass, the GFE provisions were added to HEA 1238, which did become law. IHA is working with our partners at Hall Render to update the No Surprises Act toolkit to reflect the changes to Indiana law that will go into effect on July 1, 2022. If you would like to receive this member toolkit, please reach out to us.
White Bagging— HB 1158: In response to the Indiana Department of Health's July report on the best practices of “white bagging" in specialty drug administration, IHA worked with other stakeholders to pass legislation this session that would implement those best practices. Due to the large number of bills filed, the controversy surrounding the topic of white bagging, and the lack of time this session to consider all the topics raised, the legislature chose not to consider white bagging specifically. Although the language did not pass, IHA is working with the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency to identify and implement non-legislative solutions to ensure patient safety is preserved in any situation in which white bagging would be implemented.
Ending the Public Health Emergency— House Bill (HB) 1001, authored by Representative Matt Lehman (R-Berne) and sponsored by Senator Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) was a top priority for lawmakers as they sought to responsibly end the Governor's declaration of a public health emergency. The legislation contains provisions that Governor Holcomb indicated would need to allow him to end said declaration, including flexibility to continue the enhanced FMAP and SNAP benefits and to continue efficiently vaccinating Hoosiers five years of age and older. With the passage of the bill, Governor Holcomb officially rescinded the public health emergency before the General Assembly adjourned. The legislation also contains language addressing businesses' employee vaccine mandates. While the IHA team spends considerable time and effort supporting and advocating for legislation to become law that would be helpful to hospitals, significant effort is also expended to ensure harmful legislation to hospitals does not pass. The introduced version of the bill contained extremely burdensome requirements concerning vaccine mandate policies. Through the advocacy of IHA, hospitals and facilities subject to the CMS rule requiring such policies were exempt from any new vaccine mandate requirements under state law.
“Reflecting on the 2022 legislative session, I could not be prouder of our advocacy team's efforts," said Trent Fox, IHA Vice President of Government Relations. “I am also grateful for the incredible work of IHA's membership—without it, accomplishments such as the Nursing Indiana Back to Health initiative and licensure flexibilities would not have been possible. Indiana hospitals' success during the legislative session is further evidence of their resilience and continued positive impact on the communities they serve every single day. The IHA team will continue to ensure policymakers understand the amazing work our hospitals are doing as well as the challenges they continue to face."
IHA President Brian Tabor echoed Fox's comments.
“We are pleased to see this legislative session concluded with many achievements for Indiana hospitals," Tabor said. “There is still much work to do, and we look forward to ongoing conversations with policymakers and other stakeholders to continue making Indiana the best place in the nation for quality care."
Every year, the legislature files bills on a multitude of topics. Topics this year included education, tax, and fiscal issues, transportation, utilities, and many others. Because health care is a topic of high interest and concern to the legislature and to their constituents, many bills related to health care regulation, services, and delivery are filed each session. A full report on IHA's bills of interest and their outcomes can be found here.