Greetings! I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating Independence Day. I enjoyed seeing so many of you out at the West Des Moines and Windsor Heights parades. While the beginning of July is marked with parades, barbeques, fireworks, and many other festivities, it is also the day the majority of the legislation passed during the 2017 session goes into effect. Several of these new laws are personally important to me and will help protect and improve the health and well-being of many Iowans.
For the past several years, I have advocated for expanded treatment for children on the autism spectrum. House File 215, establishes a major new expansion of health insurance coverage for autism treatment. For years I’ve heard from constituents and families across the state who have struggled to get adequate treatment for their children. In an attempt to help these children and their families, this new law will require businesses with at least 50 employees to provide applied behavior analysis coverage for autism treatment in their employee health care plans. This bill passed the House 96-0 and was signed by the Governor on March 30th. This law will be effective on January 1, 2018.
Also many years in the making was Senate File 250, which requires facilities that provide mammograms to also include information on breast density in the reports provided to patients. Including this additional information will help women be better informed of the effects and risks of dense breast tissue, and to enable earlier warning signs of breast cancer. This bill passed the House 96-2 and was signed by the Governor on April 13th. The Department of Public Health was directed to have the rules in place to implement this law by January 1, 2018.
House File 233 passed by the House on April 12th will help patients to receive known treatment quicker by making changes to step therapy insurance protocols. Insurance companies often require patients to go through a variety of levels, or steps, to find the most cost-effective treatment. Although finding the lowest-cost effective treatment can help reduce costs and insurance premiums for Iowans, there are often patients that have gone through previous treatments that have proven ineffective. For example, if a patient had been on a higher step treatment, as lower steps failed to prove effective, and the patient switches insurance companies, if certain requirements are met, the patient will be able to continue treatment without repeating these unnecessary steps.
Two additional notable mentions are House File 577 which helps patients diagnosed with Lyme Disease get more accessible treatment in-state; and Senate File 51 which develops a public health initiative for cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is a dangerous virus that can cause significant birth defects or permanent damage to infant children.
These are just a few of the new laws taking effect this year. If you have any questions on these bills, or anything else, please do not hesitate to let me know