Cybersecdn- In a significant move, Pennsylvania is set to enact transformative healthcare laws aimed at enhancing patient care and accessibility. One of the key legislations, known as “Owen’s Law,” addresses the critical need for donor breast milk. This law, effective around January 20, 2024, mandates Medicaid health insurance to cover the costs of breast milk donated by other women and parents.
This initiative will greatly benefit babies born with serious medical conditions, offering them the vital health benefits of breast milk, especially in cases where mothers face challenges in breastfeeding. This milk, carefully screened and pasteurized at milk banks across the country, primarily aids newborns in hospital neonatal intensive care units.
With costs reaching up to $4 per ounce in outpatient settings, Medicaid coverage under this law is a game-changer for many families. It applies specifically to infants with or at risk of conditions like low birth weight, congenital heart disease, and neonatal abstinence syndrome, among others.
Additionally, another law slated for implementation later in the month introduces a mandate for health providers. They are required to obtain both verbal and written consent from patients before conducting pelvic, rectal, or prostate examinations under sedation or anesthesia.
This law, in addition to the state’s Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, emphasizes patient consent, particularly for examinations done for medical training purposes, barring emergencies. Crossing over to New Jersey, early 2023 saw the signing of a law that revolutionized access to hormonal birth control.
In a significant shift from traditional practices, individuals can now obtain birth control directly from pharmacists without needing a prescription from a doctor or nurse. This law is anticipated to be operational by spring, marking a step towards enhanced reproductive healthcare access.
The state also made strides in making essential medications more affordable. The legislation caps out-of-pocket costs for crucial drugs like insulin, epinephrine auto-injector pens (EpiPens), and asthma inhalers for individuals with certain health plans. Insulin, vital for diabetes management, will see a cap of $35 for a 30-day supply. EpiPens and asthma inhalers will be capped at $25 and $50 respectively for the same duration.
This law, effective early this year, aims to alleviate the financial burden on patients, although the price caps will only apply to health insurance plans starting January 1, 2025. These legislations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey mark a significant step in healthcare reform, aiming to make health services more accessible and patient-centered.