2020 Legislative Session

Scope of Practice

  • Physical Therapy: This bill (SB104 & HB145) would eliminate the physician referral requirement and allows for physical therapy direct access. By doing so, patients would not receive a medical diagnosis, potentially receive unnecessary care, and ultimately be delayed in obtaining appropriate care.
  • Optometry: This bill (SB66) amends current law to allow optometrists to perform surgeries on the eye and gives the Alabama Board of Optometry the sole power to define and regulate what is considered to be the practice of optometry. The bill was unfortunately passed by the Senate Health Committee and now heads to the floor.
  • NP & LMW Collaborative Practice: This bill (SB114) would allow a physician to “collaborate” with an unlimited number of nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives. Studies show that removing this type of oversight can lead to inappropriate prescribing, unnecessary referrals to specialists, and unnecessary orders for diagnostic imaging studies such as x-rays. The Association opposes this bill.
  • Athletic Trainers: This bill (SB93 & HB141) would provide further for the licensing and regulation of athletic trainers to treat athletic injuries sustained by physically active individuals. The bill also provides further for the formal professional relationship between an athletic trainer and a supervising or referring physician. The Association worked with the ATs prior to the session and are supporting this bill.

Public Health

  • Immunization Registry (ImmPrint): This bill (SB56 & HB103) 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. The bill has been passed by the Senate Health Committee and now heads to the floor.
  • Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC): In response to the rise of Alabama’s maternal death rate, The Medical Association of the State of Alabama is spearheading an effort to secure funding for the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC). We are proud to be leading the charge in spotlighting this tragic issue and grateful to Governor Ivey for including this funding in her budget.
  • Medical Cannabis: Last year, a bill authorizing medical cannabis passed the Senate but was significantly revised in the House, ultimately creating a study commission to make recommendations for this session. Those recommendations have been put to paper and new legislation (SB165) has been officially introduced. Due to the length of the bill, we will not be listing a full synopsis here. That said, the list of qualifying conditions begins on page 10, and physician certification requirements are on page 30.

Rural Health

  • Rural Physician Tax Credit: This bill will amend the current definition of rural, strengthen the residency requirement, and extended the tax credit to include dentists. While the bill has yet to be filed, we have been in constant communication with interested physicians and stakeholders and hope to have it finalized in the coming weeks.
  • Board of Medical Scholarship Awards (BMSA): The Association is has been working with BMSA to request additional funding for this highly successful program. We are proud to see the funding including in the initial budget and will continue advocacy efforts to ensure it remains in the final version.