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Legislative Report 2005

The following Public Laws were passed during the 2005 General Assembly session.

Nursing Home Quality

  • Licensing of Nursing Service Agencies 2005 Public Law Chapter 127 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 158 This chapter clarifies the criteria for the development, establishment, and enforcement of standards (1) For the licensing of nursing service agencies; and ( 2) To promote safe and adequate care for individuals receiving nursing and nursing related services.
  • Nursing Home Solvency 2005 Public Law Chapter 156 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 247 This act establishes standards for the initial and continued licensure of nursing facilities and for additional ongoing oversight and enforcement with respect to nursing facilities in order to: (1) Determine the general financial solvency of nursing facilities, and to assure that the quality of resident care is not compromised by a lack of solvency;  (2) Avoid the closure of nursing facilities due to bankruptcy, receivership, or deficiencies in the quality of resident care, or any combination thereof; (3) Affirm the financial and fiduciary responsibility of the owners or boards of directors or other governing bodies to prevent declines in financial condition or the quality of resident care that may make closure and other actual or potential harm to nursing home residents imminent; (4) Assure that nursing home residents and their families are notified whenever the future operation of the facility in which they reside is in jeopardy; and (5) Provide powers and abilities to the director of the department of health to effect the purposes of this act.
  • Nursing Home Reporting 2005 Public Law Chapter 157 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 248. This act would clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Health in monitoring of nursing home quality by providing a system of reporting to provide early detection of deteriorating quality.
  • Nursing Home Notification 2005 Public Law Chapter 158 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 249 The purpose of this act is to adopt further requirements to strengthen state oversight of nursing facilities, to improve quality of care of nursing facility residents, to prevent future residents from suffering. The department is authorized to adopt federal Medicare nurse staff posting requirements by regulation. In addition to any federal requirements for posting of nursing staff levels, the nursing facility shall post the nurse staff levels for the facility in a public place within the facility. The director shall establish regulations Which at a minimum notify the resident, or his or her legal representative, the resident's family representative, the resident's attending physicians of record and the nursing facility's medical director, if that resident has been found to be in immediate jeopardy to health and safety. Each licensed nursing facility shall develop and implement a quality improvement program and establish a quality improvement committee. As well each licensed nursing facility shall establish family councils. The role of the family council shall be to address issues affecting residents generally at the facility, not to pursue individual grievances. The family council shall not be entitled to obtain information about individual residents or staff members, or any other information deemed confidential under state or federal law.
  • Nursing Home Receivership 2005 Public Law Chapter 159 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 226. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure quality care for citizens of the state by vesting in the department of health the power necessary to regulate nursing facilities and provide appropriate legal remedies to provide quality of care for residents in nursing care facilities. This law shall establish a process for notification of quality of care concerns, survey results and enforcement actions to residents and their families, residents' legal representative and health care providers, the long-term care ombudsman, and the public.
  • Utilization of Unused Medications 2005 Public Law Chapter 179 The department of health and the board of pharmacy shall jointly develop and implement a voluntary pilot program consistent with public health and safety through which unused prescription drugs, other than prescription drugs defined as controlled substances in section 21-28-1.02, may be transferred from nursing facilities or assisted living residences that centrally store prescription drugs and are licensed at the M1 licensure level by the department of health to charitable clinics for the purpose of re-dispensing the medication to Rhode Island residents who are medically indigent.

Healthy People

  • Public Health and Workplace Safety 2005 Public Law Chapter 22 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 23. Exemption to workplace safety standards deleted for facilities operated under a class C and class D liquor licenses.

Healthy Children

  • School Health and Wellness Subcommittee 2005 Public Law Chapter 74 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 76. The school committee of each school district shall establish a district-wide coordinated school health and wellness subcommittee chaired by a member of the full school committee. The subcommittee will make recommendations regarding the district's health education curriculum and instruction, physical education curriculum and instruction, and nutrition and physical activity policies to decrease obesity and enhance the health and well being of students and employees. The Rhode Island department of elementary and secondary education and the Rhode Island department of health will provide technical assistance and support to the school health and wellness subcommittees All district strategic plans shall include strategies to decrease obesity and improve the health and wellness of students and employees through nutrition, physical activity, health education, and physical education. Said strategies shall be submitted by May 1st of each year to the Rhode Island department of elementary and secondary education and the Rhode Island department of health
  • Autism Spectrum Evaluation and Treatment Act 2005 Public Law Chapter 349 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 415 Subject to appropriation and/or the receipt of other resources designated for these purposes, the chapter authorizes the Rhode Island department of health to provide appropriate testing and screening models to determine a proper diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and to create a case management system to properly catalogue such diagnosis. In addition, subject to appropriation and/or the receipt of other resources designated for these purposes, this chapter shall authorize programs of outreach, education, increased awareness and cultural competence to the statewide community.
  • Student Vision Screening 2005 Public Law Chapter 382. Upon entering kindergarten or within thirty (30) days of the start of the school year, the parent or guardian of each child shall present to school health personnel certification that the child, within the previous twelve (12) months has passed a vision screening conducted by a health care professional licensed by the department of health or has obtained a comprehensive eye examination performed by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist. Effective January 1, 2006.

Office of State Medical Examiner

  • Quality Improvement - Reporting to the governor and legislature 2005 Public Law Chapter 147 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 152 The Office of State Medical Examiners shall issue a status report to the governor and the general assembly on or before September 15, 2005 and March 15, 2005 on efforts and outcomes during the previous six (6) month period. The report shall include the following areas of quality improvement: volume of investigations, turnaround time for investigations, organ/tissue donation activities, external reviews/progress toward national accreditation, budget and staffing, and plans for continued quality and performance improvement.
  • Accreditation by the National Association of Medical Examiners 2005 Public Law Chapter 169 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 122 The office of state medical examiners shall obtain and maintain accreditation by the national association of medical examiners or other national accrediting organization in the field of forensic medicine and pathology. This act shall take effect on July 1, 2006.

Healthy Environment

  • Seaweed Disposal 2005 Public Law Chapter 192. Seaweed collected and removed by a municipality shall be deemed "yard waste" by Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, and shall be accepted by the corporation at the same rate and cost as all other municipal yard waste. The removal of seaweed is necessary to minimize the impact of beach closures and avoid hydrogen sulfide releases (similar to the Conimicut Point event of 2003).
  • Public drinking water supply 2005 Public Law Chapter 71 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 83. Any water supply sampling, monitoring, testing result or laboratory analysis undertaken by or for a public water supply system to determine whether drinking water is safe and potable, which indicates that drinking water may not be safe and potable, shall be reported concurrently to the public water supply system and to the director.
  • Lead Hazard Mitigation Act 2005 Public Law Chapter 142 and 2005 Public Law Chapter Amends various sections the Lead Hazard Mitigation statue; establishes November 1, 2005 as the implementation date and deletes the sunset provision. Adds owner occupied two and three family dwellings to the exemption for education and requires the department of health to report on lead poisoning incidents in these dwellings.
  • Minimum standards for gasoline 2005 Public Law Chapter 181 and 2005 Public Law Chapter Beginning June 1, 2007, no person shall sell, deliver for sale, import, or cause to be imported into the state for sale any gasoline containing methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) or other ether oxygenates in quantities greater than one half of one percent (0.5%) by volume.
  • Massage Therapy Background Checks 2005 Public Law Chapter 411. Requires persons applying for a license to practice massage to undergo a nationwide criminal records check. Upon the discovery of any disqualifying information as defined in section 23-20.8-5, the bureau of criminal identification of the state police or the local police department shall inform the applicant, in writing, of the nature of the disqualifying information. The applicant shall be responsible for payment of the costs of the criminal records check. An applicant, whose criminal records check reveals a conviction for any sexual offense, including, but not limited to, those offenses defined in chapters 11-34 and 11-37, shall be denied a license under this chapter.

Health Regulation and Quality Reporting

  • MRI standards and accreditation 2005 Public Law Chapter 207. Re-establishes that magnetic resonance imaging examination eligible for reimbursement under the provisions of any individual or group health insurance contract, plan or policy delivered in this state shall be reimbursed only if the facility at which the examination has been conducted and processed is accredited by either the American College of Radiology (ACR) or an alternate nationally recognized accrediting organization whose accreditation standards are substantially similar to and no less stringent than current or subsequent ACR standards and have been reviewed and deemed adequate by the department of health. All accreditation standards under this section shall include, but shall not be limited to, provisions for establishing the qualifications of the physician, standards for quality control and routine performance monitoring by a medical physicist, qualifications of the technologist including minimum standards of supervised clinical experience, personnel and patient safety guidelines, and standards for initial and ongoing quality control using clinical image review and quantitative testing.
  • Health care quality program 2005 Public Law Chapter 45 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 60. A nnually in the month of January, every licensed hospital shall submit its core-staffing plan to the Rhode Island department of health. Such plan shall specify for each patient care unit and each shift, the number of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and/or certified nursing assistants who shall ordinarily be assigned to provide direct patient care and the average number of patients upon which such staffing levels are based.
  • Hospital events reporting 2005 Public Law Chapter 47 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 59. The department of health shall promulgate rules and regulations to include the process whereby health care professionals with knowledge of an incident shall report it to the hospital, requirements for the hospital to conduct a root cause analysis of the incident or other appropriate process for incident investigation and to develop and file a performance improvement plan. The director shall review the list of incidents to be reported at least biennially to ascertain whether any additions, deletions or modifications to the incident reporting list are necessary.
  • Utilization Review statute update 2005 Public Law Chapter 184 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 238 Sections 23-17.12-3, 23-17.12-4, 23-17.12-5, 23-17.12-6, 23-17.12-8, 23-17.12-9 and 23-17.12-10 of the General Laws in Chapter 23-17.12 entitled "Health Care Services - Utilization Review Act" were revised to eliminate internal inconsistencies without changing the scope, purpose or intent of the legislation.
  • Peer Review for EMTs 2005 Public Law Chapter 242 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 245 Peer review board means a committee of any licensed emergency medical service employing practicing licensed emergency medical personnel the function of which is to evaluate and improve the quality of health care rendered by providers of health care service or to determine that health care services rendered were professionally indicated or were performed in compliance with the applicable standard of care or that the cost of health care rendered was considered reasonable by the providers of professional health care services in the area. The proceedings and associated records of peer review boards shall not be subject to discovery or be admissible in evidence in any case except litigation arising out of the imposition of sanctions upon a emergency medical technician.
  • Dental Hygienists and anesthesia 2005 Public Law Chapter 219 and 2005 Public Law Chapter 232 Provides that in order to administer local injectable anesthesia to dental patients, dental hygienists must be under the supervision of a dentist and meet the requirements established by regulation of the Board of Examiners in Dentistry including payment of a permit fee. Amended statute to provide for dental and dental hygiene licenses to be issued on a biennial basis.