Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fiscal Year 2015 Budget – Public Health

In case you missed it, today marks the first day of debate on the House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

As you may have heard, the House of Representatives recently unveiled their $36.2 billion state budget proposal. While the Democratic-majority set an unfortunate tone to this year’s budget debate by refusing to consider amendments relative to local aid, education spending, and welfare reform, the House Republican Caucus will not be deterred.

During this year’s budget debate, House Republican’s firmly believe that the Legislature must make considerable strides in delivering a budget that is mindful of the economic times, while producing a spending plan that delivers an accountable and transparent state government which reflects the taxpayers’ priorities, and seeks to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

This afternoon’s debate will now focus on amendments relative to public health. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.

Amendment 14 - Pharmacist Scope of Practice (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section directing the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health to promulgate regulations to allow licensed pharmacists to administer certain vaccines to children over nine years old, who have a valid prescription from a doctor.

Amendment 32 - Study of Naloxone Universal Purchasing (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section directing the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health to study the feasibility of establishing a trust fund to support a universal purchase system for intra-nasal naloxone. This would allow the state to purchase naloxone from the federal government in bulk, and at a discounted rate. Municipalities would then be able to purchase the naloxone for first responders at a lower cost. If feasible, this language requires the Commissioner to establish said trust fund.

Amendment 51 - Codify the Substance Abuse and Prevention Task Force (Hunt, Randy) ADDS a new outside section codifying the current Substance Abuse and Prevention Taskforce, created under the Governor’s Executive Order in 2008.

Amendment 579 - Drug Story Theater of the South Shore Pilot Program (deMacedo, Viriato) EARMARKS $50K from the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services account (4512- 0200) for the Drug Story Theater of the South Shore pilot program. Does not increase the overall appropriation.

Amendment 618 - An Amendment to reform outside agencies doing business with the Department of Public Health (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section establishing an independent commission to study compensation paid to employees and officers of non-profit corporations that receive grants from the Department of Public Health, with a report due by October 15, 2014. Includes minority appointments.

Amendment 688 - Establishing provisions for the return of expired pharmaceuticals (Diehl, Geoff) ADDS a new outside section requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to fully refund expired medications returned to the manufacturer.

Amendment 714 - State Trauma Registry (deMacedo,Viriato) INCREASES the total appropriation for the Division of Health Care Quality Licensing Fee account (4510-0712) by $150K; CHANGES the inside language to allow $150K to be expended for the hiring of a full time Data Registrar and a part-time Data Analyst in the Office of Emergency Medical Services.

Amendment 787 - Addiction/Sobriety Solutions through Increased Substance Treatment (ASSIST) (Hunt, Randy) ADDS $200K by creating two new line items for the establishment of a court addiction commission and the addiction services commission. Inserted after line item (0330-3337) and (4512-0225), respectively.