House Bill could help health plans improve provider directories
What do you want to know
- Ways and Means members focused on tagging a maternal health bill that was shaped by the late Jackie Walorski, who died Aug. 3 in a car crash.
- Her husband and mother were in the courtroom, and committee members approved the Maternal Health Bill, and all other health bills under consideration, by voice vote.
- Members honored Walorski’s memory by holding a recorded vote on the Maternal Health Bill.
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee honored the memory of the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., on Wednesday by uniting to pass bills that could improve Medicare and medical coverage commercial.
One of the approved bills, Committee impression 117-4would require physicians and other healthcare providers listed in a health plan’s provider directory to notify the plan, at least annually, whether they are accepting new patients.
Providers should also say whether they offered new patients in-person appointments, telehealth appointments, or both.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, said requiring providers to send in updates annually could help health plans keep their provider directories current. “I wish it happened a lot more frequently,” he said. “But at least it’s progress in the right direction.”
What this means
If Committee Print 4 becomes law and works as supporters hope, you and your clients may soon have an easier time finding network doctors.
The Ways and Means members approved the Print 4 Committee, and all other bills were considered at a “markup” or invoice review meetingby voice vote, as Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, and mother, Martha Walorski, watched from the courtroom seats.
Jackie Walorski died on August 3 in a car accident in Indiana at the age of 58.
“We know how much Jackie loved you,” Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass, chairman of the committee, told Walorski’s husband and mother during the markup, which was broadcast live on the web. “You should know how much we all loved him. She was taken from us too soon.
Neal pointed out that Democrats and Republicans had worked together for two years on the provider directory bill and other bills being tagged, and that Walorski had taken the lead in negotiations for one. of bills being considered, HR 8876, the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Bill of 2022, which would renew and increase grant funding for state programs that send home support workers pregnant women, babies and young children.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the highest-ranking Republican on the committee, said the last conversation he had with Walorski, on Zoom, was about HR 8876.
Members began by accepting HR 8876 with a voice vote.
“You can clap,” Neal said after the bill passed.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, then asked Neal to hold a recorded vote.