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The 2020 Legislative Agenda

Below are brief summaries of the issues we are advocating for in the coming year.

Certificate of Need: Hospitals must apply for and receive a certificate of need (CON) to expand, build, or add services. Healthcare providers wishing to enter a market must also receive a certificate of need to build a hospital or other healthcare facility. SCHA supports broad reform measures to the current certificate of need program, including reduced appeals, increased dollar thresholds for capital and equipment purchases, and eliminating the CON requirements for adding beds or replacing equipment.

Workplace Safety: Hospital workers are four times more likely to face violence on the job than workers in other industries. SCHA supports policy changes that deter offenders from committing violence in the hospital setting and support the safety of hospital workers, patients, and visitors.

Telehealth Access & Reimbursement: SCHA supports improved funding for and access to telehealth services. As the ability to use telemedicine to treat a variety of health issues expands, the reimbursement and utilization of technology should be updated. Telepsychiatry and tele-behavioral health services are one area with extraordinary potential if reimbursement and access are improved.

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact: SCHA supports South Carolina joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. In addition to reducing average time to licensure for qualified physicians who hold an unrestricted license in another compact state, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact will expand South Carolina’s provider access through telemedicine.

Tort Claims Act Revisions: Legislation to revise the South Carolina Tort Claims Act was introduced last year. SCHA opposed the unreasonable increases to the liability limits in the proposal and advocacy efforts were critical in the compromise that brought the legislation to its current form, which increases the liability limits to $500,000 per person per occurrence and $1,000,000 aggregate per occurrence. SCHA will continue to monitor this legislation closely in the House and continue to oppose unreasonable increases and additional exceptions to the Tort Claims Act.

Behavioral Health System Transformation: SCHA supports broad measures to transform the behavioral healthcare system in South Carolina. Below are some of the specific items SCHA supports in an effort to improve the system of care.

  • Modernizing behavioral health patient transportation between facilities
  • Current state law requires law enforcement to be responsible for transporting behavioral health patients from one facility to another. SCHA supports updating the law to allow the state to contract with a private, trained transport company to safely move behavioral health patients without restraints when situations allow.
  • SCHA supports state funding for mental health crisis intervention—for crisis stabilization units, mobile crisis units, and community crisis response and other successful intervention strategies.
  • SCHA supports state funding for expanding the first episode psychosis programs in the state.
  • Integrate behavioral health services in primary care settings. Many individuals with behavioral health disorders do not seek mental healthcare and are instead recognized or diagnosed in the primary care setting. However, primary care providers are often not adequately prepared to treat behavioral health disorders. Integrating behavioral healthcare into the primary care setting through collaborative care models is clinically proven to improve outcomes and access to services in a cost-effective way. SCHA supports reimbursement models and state policies which support this integration.