Health and Human Services

Health services package amended, returned to final reading

An omnibus health services proposal on final reading was amended to include maternal and child health protections after lawmakers voted to return it to select file May 24.

LB227, as introduced by Blair Sen. Ben Hansen, would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to provide Medicaid reimbursement to hospitals at 100 percent of the statewide average nursing per diem rate for Medicaid enrollees who meet certain criteria.

Sen. Ben Hansen
Sen. Ben Hansen

The measure was amended during previous rounds of debate to include a number of proposals related to pharmacy practice, licensure and other health and human services issues.

Senators voted to return the bill to select file to consider an amendment offered by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, which includes the amended provisions of three other bills considered by the Health and Human Services Committee this session.

Provisions of LB570, introduced by Vargas, would create the Overdose Fatality Review Teams Act to design a regulatory framework for establishing county level multidisciplinary teams to collect data related to opioid overdose deaths in Nebraska.

The state Department of Health and Human Services would develop regulations to carry out the act and teams would begin providing annual de-identified data on local incidents, causes and contributing factors of opioid deaths by June 1, 2024.

LB75, also introduced by Vargas, would grant the state’s Child and Maternal Death Review Team the authority to conduct reviews of the rates, trends and causes of severe maternal morbidity in the state.

Also included are the amended provisions of Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart’s LB419, which would expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from 60 days to at least six months.

Hansen, chairperson of the Health and Human Services Committee, spoke in support of the amendment.

“One of the underlying things I hear from [my constituents] is, ‘what are we doing to take care of those who are having babies in the state of Nebraska,’” Hansen said. “I think this is a big step forward to address that concern.”

Senators adopted the amendment 41-0 and advanced LB227 to final reading on a voice vote.

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