Senate wraps up work, passes opioid bills

March 21, 2018 12:03 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

March 21, Wisconsin Health News

The Senate approved more than a dozen bills during its final planned floor period of the session Tuesday, sending them to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk for approval.

The bills range from creating an intensive care coordination program in Medicaid, supporting efforts to fight the opioid epidemic and providing grants to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

But the chamber didn’t take up some proposals approved by the Assembly in recent weeks. That includes bills that would define direct primary care in state law and allow small businesses to band together and self-insure their health plans.

The bills approved by the Senate and heading to the governor would:

  • Create an intensive care coordination pilot in the Medicaid program.
  • Provide funding to fight drug trafficking, support prevention, establish treatment courts and offer medication-assisted treatment to those leaving jails.
  • Boost treatment and prevention efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.
  • Allow first responders, emergency medical technicians and ambulance services providers to renew their certifications or licenses every three years instead of two years.
  • Allow podiatrists to supervise physician assistants and advanced practice nurse prescribers.
  • Axe a state law requiring the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board to appoint a board of trustees to manage its mental health facilities and modify how members are appointed to the board.
  • Guarantee pharmacists can delegate duties to pharmacy technicians, following confusion about current state regulation.
  • Allow the Department of Health Services to expand a dental reimbursement pilot program to additional counties. 
  • Provide $500,000 to award grants to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in rural and underserved areas. 
  • Require 911 dispatchers to provide assistance on administering CPR over the phone. 
  • Recognize supported decision-making agreements, which allow older adults and those with disabilities to designate another person to help them make a decision. 
  • Prohibit the sale of dextromethorphan, an ingredient in over-the counter cough medicine, to children without a prescription.
  • Require the Department of Veterans Affairs to administer a program providing outreach and mental health services to at-risk veterans.
  • Make it easier for physicians licensed in other states to treat patients at certain sporting events.
  • Change how high an applicant has to score on an examination to be granted a chiropractor license. 
  • Allow unaccompanied youth access to outpatient mental health treatment without parental consent.
  • Require health plans to cover refills of prescription eye drops