Iowa Academy Public Policy Update: - 2021 Legislative Session Wrap Up

The 2021 Iowa Legislative session came to a close late on Wednesday, May 19th. Your Public Policy Team, in conjunction with our lobbyist, Brittany Lumley of LS2group, remained diligent in monitoring a variety of bills through the end of the session.


Though we kept a vigilant watch on several bills that might affect Iowa dietitians, there were four in particular that we were closely monitoring. A brief overview and final status of these bills are outlined below.


Senate File 487 (formerly SSB1046) - Review of State Boards:

Description: This bill pertained to the review of State boards (including the Iowa Board of Dietetics), the regulation of professions and occupations (i.e. licensure), and investigations conducted by State boards, including effective dates and applicability provisions of licenses.


How would this impact dietitians: This type of review could potentially leave the profession open to decreased regulation and potential elimination of licensure. Regulation of the nutrition and dietetics profession increases public safety by reducing the prevalence of unethical and unsafe practices.


Did it pass the Senate: Yes

Did it pass the House: No


After reviewing the bill, the House added an amendment that removed several pieces from the bill, resulting in an extensive rework to be done. Therefore, it never moved out of the House.


Is it eligible for consideration next year? Yes


Due to the fact that it was passed by the Senate in 2021, it is eligible for reconsideration next year.

House File 784 (formerly HF706) - Telehealth Parity:

Description: This bill pertained to insurance reimbursement rates for telehealth services provided by

covered providers.


Proposed changes to the existing rules on Telehealth included:

● The definition of Telehealth expanded to “delivery of healthcare services through the use of real-time interactive audio and video, or other real-time interactive electronic media, regardless of where the healthcare professional and the covered person are located.”

● Reimbursement rates would be the same for Telehealth services as if they had been conducted in-person.


How would this impact dietitians:

This type of reimbursement will change the landscape of the way the medical system provides health care. It is important to note that this would be for ‘credentialed providers’, meaning those currently recognized as providers by Iowa insurance companies. Currently, RDs are not recognized as credentialed providers. This means that dietitian services may be covered within the hospital setting when they can bill under a different provider, but a private consultant dietitian might not receive this insurance benefit. On a positive note, however, this may set a precedent for future insurance reimbursement.


Did it pass the Senate: No

Did it pass the House: No

Is it eligible for consideration next year? No, not in the current form


This bill died in the second funnel meaning that it never made it out of the Committee it was assigned. However, Brittany has shared with us that she believes additional conversations on this topic are continuing outside of the Session.

Senate File 354 (formerly SF 163) - Continuing Education Extensions

Description: This bill pertained to extending the requirements for completing continuing education requirements for 90 days if a licensing board finds that a licensee is experiencing unforeseen financial or medical hardship and the licensee submits the following:

● A request that a deadline be extended due to an unforeseen financial or medical hardship experienced by the licensee or a member of the licensee’s family, including an explanation and evidence of the hardship.

● Proof of enrollment in a program that will satisfy the licensee’s continuing education requirements prior to the expiration of the extension.

● Submit request no later than sixty days before the date the continuing education requirements must be completed.


How would this impact dietitians:

Iowa licensed RDs could potentially be eligible for extensions when completing their continuing education requirements if they meet the designated criteria.


Did it pass the Senate: Yes

Did it pass the House: No

Is it eligible for consideration next year? Yes


Due to the fact that it was passed by the Senate, it is eligible for consideration next year. It would pick back up in the House

Senate File 389 (formerly SF 1125) - Public Assistance Program Oversight

Description: This bill would implement a variety of new requirements for welfare programs including asset verification and identification verification. Welfare programs that would be impacted included the Child’s Health Insurance Program and SNAP. While these new requirements are meant to reduce fraud within the programs and save the State money, it could impose significant barriers to food insecure families attempting to receive benefits.


How would this impact dietitians: Dietitians working in the community programs impacted by the new verification requirements could potentially feel some ripple effects. This bill was a priority for the Iowa Academy as food security is an issue we follow closely. This bill does have the potential to negatively impact many Iowas and reduce their access to food.


Did it pass the Senate: Yes


The language from the bill was inserted into both the Governor’s Budget Bill as well as the Senate’s Health and Human Services Budget Bill towards the end of the Session. Due to the fact that the House was not interested in this bill, the wording was removed from the final budget bills.


Did it pass the House: No

Is it eligible for consideration next year? Yes


Due to the fact that it was passed by the Senate, it is eligible for consideration in 2021. It would pick back up in the House. Though it is impossible to say with certainty, Brittany feels that the House has no interest in pursuing this bill.

In closing, although the session is over, our work is just beginning! Now is the time to meet with your local legislators as they are back in their home districts. The work and relationships we build now can be critical in upcoming Sessions!


If you have any questions or concerns about any of the bills the team was following, feel free to reach out. We are here to answer any questions or concerns.



Thanks!

Lexie Stoneking

Iowa Academy Public Policy Coordinator

publicpolicy@eatright.org

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