MCHD Addresses Concerns Over UK Variant
Legislative Session - Week 2
The Alabama Legislature finished its first two weeks on Thursday and will take next week off. Here's an overview of the bills we are monitoring and where things stand right now. If we've missed anything you believe is of significant importance to the Association and Alabama physicians, please let us know.
 
Scope Expansion Legislation
  • OPTOMETRY: These bills (SB174 & HB402) will allow optometrists (who do not undergo any surgical residencies anywhere in the U.S.) to perform surgeries and injections on the eye. This legislation is being pushed by Senator Jim McClendon, the chairman of the Senate Healthcare Committee and an optometrist himself. You may recall the controversy surrounding similar legislation last year when Sen. McClendon rammed the bill through committee without calling a proper vote (video). We stand opposed to these bills and hope you will help us fight to ensure they are defeated.
  • PODIATRY: This bill (HB291) will allow podiatrists who have completed as few as 2 years of podiatric residency (significantly less than a general orthopaedist and orthopaedic surgeon) to perform surgery on the foot and ankle. The same legislation was introduced last year but failed to receive a vote. We are working with the Alabama Orthopaedic Society and others on an advocacy action plan. We anticipate a hearing on the bill in the coming weeks.
  • ATHLETIC TRAINERS: This bill (SB73) provides for the licensing and regulation of athletic trainers relationship with a supervising physician, creates a joint committee of the two state boards, and expands the ability of athletic trainers to treat injuries sustained by physically active individuals. The Association worked with the ATs prior to the session and are supporting these bills. SB73 passed the Senate and will now be considered by the House.
Public Health
  • EMERGENCY TIMEFRAME & AUTHORITY: This bill (SB97) limits the timeframe for which a state of emergency can be declared (by the State Health Officer or Governor) to only 14 days. The bill also gives the Legislature the sole authority to extend such declarations. SB97 was passed out of committee and awaits a vote by the full Senate.
  • IMMUNIZATION REGISTRY (ImmPrint): This bill (HB184) would require health care providers to report immunization data to the registry and to review the registry before a vaccine is administered. Annual influenza vaccinations are exempt from the review requirement but are still required to be reported. We worked with ADPH and others in drafting the bill and support it.
  • SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BILL OF RIGHTS: This bill (HB137) creates the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights and provides certain rights to all victims of sexual assault. The bill also creates a task force responsible for developing recommendations for improving the coordination of the dissemination and implementation of best practices and protocols to hospital administrators, physicians, forensic examiners, and other medical associations and leaders in the medical community. The Association worked with the bill sponsor to amend the bill and ensure physician liability was not expanded.
Lawsuits & Liability
  • COVID-19 LIABILITY PROTECTION: This bill (SB30) provides liability protection to physicians, health facilities, and businesses from claims arising from COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic. The Medical Association, with the help of Starnes, Davis, Florie, LLP, worked with Sen. Arthur Orr in drafting this bill. SB30 has been signed by the Governor.
  • GENDER CHANGE THERAPY: These bills (HB1 & SB10) would make it a felony for doctors to treat transgender youth with hormonal therapy and puberty blockers to help their transition. More specifically, the bills would prohibit the use of puberty-blocking drugs, hormonal therapy and surgery to treat transgender minors. Violators could face up to 10 years in prison. The Association is always concerned about legislation that would set new standards of care in statute. See more on these bills and the public hearing at AL Daily News, AL.com, and KFF.
  • GENITAL MUTILATION: This bill (HB252) creates the crime of “genital mutilation” as a Class B Felony in Alabama. Although the list of acts that constitute “genital mutilation” is long, nothing in the bill applies to procedures that are medically necessary or procedures performed during labor. The legislation adheres to the ACOG position on genital mutilation and also contains Medical Association language explicitly stating that nothing shall be construed to establish a standard of care for hospitals or physicians.
Finance & Taxation
  • CARES ACT TAX EXCLUSION: These bills (SB98 & HB170) exclude any money received from the CARES Act or other similar COVID-related relief measures from Alabama income tax. “We are not going to tax any of the stimulus monies that came in for businesses, for individuals, for anyone,” said Senator Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook).
Federal Legislation
  • MEDICAID EXPANSION: On February 5, 2021, the House of Representatives adopted a concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021, and providing reconciliation instructions. The legislation includes a short provision saying states, for a length of five years, can extend Medicaid eligibility to women for 12 months after giving birth. The bill also provides an incentive for states that newly expand Medicaid by temporarily increasing the state’s base FMAP by 5% for two years. Please join the Cover Alabama Coalition in supporting Medicaid expansion in Alabama.
Patient Characteristic Data
Physicians in the Spotlight
Isolation Gown Recall
News release providing information on the second-dose (booster) vaccinations taking place this month at the Alabama Cruise Terminal
Isolation and Quarantine Timeframes for COVID-19 for Non-Healthcare Personnel
ADPH slightly modified their quarantine guidance in recognition of increased transmissibility in congregate settings and due to variant strains of SARS-CoV-2. Please share throughout your networks.  
USING BIG DATA TO ESTIMATE
UNDIAGNOSED HIV INFECTION AND
INFORM TESTING INTERVENTIONS IN
ALABAMA
UAB is recruiting participants for a one-time, confidential
in-depth interview (45-90 minutes) about your experiences with HIV
testing, prevention, and linkage to care in Alabama. UAB will
reimburse you $30 for your valuable time.
Recruiting Participants for the Study:
Community members and Advocates for
HIV testing
Providers, public health practitioners,
administrators, educators, outreach
champions, and other stakeholders who
develop or implement or think about HIV
testing strategies
Other HIV testing and care stakeholders
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
MADELINE PRATT
Call For Proposals
**DEADLINE EXTENDED** Wednesday, March 31, 2021
The Immunization Division at the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is currently accepting proposals for coronavirus vaccine activities to support broad-based distribution access and vaccine coverage for high risk and under served populations including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities. We invite your organization to submit a proposal to us by March 31, 2021 for consideration.

COVID-19 Vaccination for Mobile County Residents
Call 251-476-9494 or email wbedsole@msomc.org