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Passage of bills brings changes to Patient Protection Commission

The state’s Patient Protection Commission has moved to a new home due to passage of legislation in the 2021 legislative session.

The commission will now be housed under DHHS due to the passage of Assembly Bill 348, according to the state agency. Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the bill on May 28, and DHHS states that the legislation will bring better patient access and engagement.

“The pandemic has brought to light the value of partnership and areas of improvement where we can better support Nevada patients,” said DHHS Director Richard Whitley. “I look forward to the Patient Protection Commission joining our department to ensure the voice of the patient is heard in all we do.”

“Through Nevada Assembly Bill 348, sponsored by Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, the PPC has moved to DHHS to better support patients and connect the commission more closely with the data and resources of DHHS,” according to the agency’s release. “It also designates the commission as the sole state agency responsible for administering Nevada’s participation in Peterson-Milbank Program for Sustainable Health Care Costs.”

The commission was created through legislation passed in the 2019 session. The commission will transfer to DHHS and was revised to include health care professionals, advocates and others to represent consumers and provide patient perspective on the commission.

The members and executive director are appointed by the governor.

“The inaugural members of the Patient Protection Commission were vital to getting us to where we are today,” said PPC Executive Director Sara Cholhagian. “I am grateful for their work and dedication to the people of Nevada and the policy discussed, questions asked and ideas brought forward have all contributed to the legislation sponsored by the commission this session. I look forward to the next steps of the commission and working with DHHS.”

Related proposed legislation, Senate bills 5 and 40, were also put up for consideration in the 2021 Legislative Session.

“The passage of these bills are landmark achievements for the state’s public health system, providing patients with more information and access than ever before,” said Cholhagian. “This is the reason Governor Sisolak created the Patient Protection Commission and now the members and lawmakers have fulfilled that promise with measures that will improve the lives of Nevada patients.”

According to DHHS, SB5 improves patient and equitable access to telehealth. The bill establishes telehealth policy for payment parity beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation also creates a public data dashboard that will allow for the analysis of data relating to telehealth access.

“This data collection is a first step to measure telehealth access that will ensure the state evaluates policies to make access more equitable,” DHHS states.

Additionally, SB40 provides more transparency in health care for Nevada patients,” DHHS states.

The bill creates a state-funded all-payer claims database, along with mandating the collection of data from any public or private insurer that provides health benefits in Nevada. The bill also encourages the voluntary submission of data by insurers regulated under federal law.

DHHS states, “The database provides a new capacity for the state to monitor and regulate the rapidly changing health care system that will improve health care of Nevada residents and the accessibility, affordability and quality of health care in the state.”

To apply to the Patient Protection Commission or other Governor-appointed board go to gov.nv.gov/Board/Home_Board/ to review the list of vacancies and complete an application.

For more information on the Patient Protection Commission go to ppc.nv.gov

For more information on the Peterson-Milbank Program for Sustainable Health Care Costs go to milbank.org/focus-area/sustainable-health-care-costs/

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