The 2021 NH legislative session has begun, albeit much differently than in past years given the ongoing pandemic and the need for a virtual format for most Committee meetings. Both the House and the Senate have been busy holding many hearings on a variety of bills during the last month. While the format is challenging, both the House and Senate have provided sufficient opportunity for stakeholders to weigh in on bills. The inability to connect in person with legislators remains an ongoing challenge and barrier to more effectively communicating our concerns or support for a bill with legislators.
The Governor unveiled his State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2022/2023 Budget proposal on Thursday, February 11, 2021. While HB 1 (operating budget and capital budget spreadsheets) is now available, HB 2 (trailer bill with detailed policy proposals) has not been posted for the public yet. It is expected imminently, and once we receive the document; we will have a better understanding of the details behind the Governor’s budget proposals.
The House Finance Committee’s work on the next biennium State Budget for SFY 2022/2023 is beginning with agency presentations scheduled for the coming weeks. The State Budget will take several months of review and changes before it is finalized. The House Finance Committee divides their work into three divisions for the purposes of their budget review work. Division III is our priority, as they are solely focused on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The House Finance divisions will finalize their review and provide their recommendations on changes (increases/decreases) to the Governor’s proposed budget in the next few weeks. The full Finance Committee will vote on the budget recommendations by early April, with their recommendations going to the full House soon after. Then the process starts all over in the Senate Finance and Senate Ways and Means Committees.
While NHHA has been following many bills of interest to our members, the priority focus area continues to be ensuring that the settlement agreement signed in 2018 regarding the Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) payments due to hospitals is properly funded in the budget, that the Medicaid rate increase passed in 2019 and implemented in 2020 and 2021 remain at the current levels, and solutions to the ongoing mental health crisis are sustainably created to ensure patients are able to get the care they need.
Since many bills from the 2020 legislative session were not passed due to the pandemic, many of those bills were re-introduced in this current session. While NHHA has been following many bills of interest to our members, the priority focus areas are workplace safety, updates to the advance care planning statute and improvements in the prior authorization process. There are also several health professional licensing bills that we are working on to ensure consistency and efficiencies in the licensing processes as well as improvements to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to allow for integration with hospital medical record systems.
All of the bills that NHHA is following can be found on our web site here which includes links to bill language, the prime sponsor, hearing dates/times and the status of the bill.
Prior Legislative Newsletters