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HB 1663 - Establishes the "COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020" - Maryland Key Vote

Timeline

Issues Related to HB 1663

Stage Details

Legislation - Signed (Executive) -

Title: Establishes the "COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020"

Legislation - Concurrence Vote Passed (House) (131-3) - (Key vote)
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Title: Establishes the "COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020"

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Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to concur with senate amendments and pass a bill that expands powers of the governor and establishes employment protections during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Highlights:

 

  • Authorizes the governor, as a result of the proclamation issued on March 5, 2020, declaring a state of emergency and the existence of a catastrophic health emergency, or any other proclamation relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Sec. 1):

    • To prohibit cost-sharing by carriers for COVID-19 testing and any associated costs that is conducted based on testing protocols recommended by the Secretary of Health; 

    • To order the Maryland Department of Health to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and any associated costs, if the costs would not otherwise be paid for by a carrier or third party; 

    • To require carriers and the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to cover the cost of an immunization for COVID-19 and any associated costs, without cost-sharing if: 

      • The immunization has been determined by the Department to prevent the disease that is the basis for the emergency proclamation; and

      • The patient belongs to a category of individuals to whom the Department has determined cost-sharing should not apply;

    • To establish or waive telehealth protocols for COVID-19, including authorizing health care professionals licensed out-of-state to provide telehealth to patients within this state; 

    • To order the Department to reimburse telehealth services for COVID-19 provided to a patient without regard to whether the patient is a at a clinical site, if the service is: 

      • Covered by the Program;

      • Provided by a health care provider participating in the Program; and

      • Authorized under the health care provider’s scope of practice; 

    • To consult with the Department, the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, and the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange to develop and implement orders relating to COVID-19 to:

      • Minimize disruption in enrollment in health insurance and to the Program; 

      • Facilitate reimbursement by carriers of telehealth services provided to patients within the state; and

      • Facilitate reimbursement of essential services to minimize the risk to public health; 

    • To prohibit a retailer from increasing the sale or rental price of any good or service to a price that increases the retailer’s value of profit by more than 10 percent, including the price of food, fuel, water and ice, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, cleaning products, building supplies, energy sources, and storage spaces;

    • To prohibit an employer from terminating an employee solely on the basis that the employee has been required to be isolated or quarantined; and

    • To order the Department to authorize an alternative workweek for an employee: 

      • Of  health care facility that is owned or operated by the Department and open 24 hours and 7 days a week; and

      • Who is subject to the memorandum of understanding with the American Federation of Teachers. 

  • Defines “carrier” as an insurer, a nonprofit health service plan, or a health maintenance organization (Sec. 1).

  • Specifies that if the governor prohibits a retailer from increasing the sale or rental price of any good or service, a violation of the prohibition (Sec. 1):

    • Is an unfair, abusive, and deceptive trade practice within; and

    • Is subject to the enforcement and penalty provisions of Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article.

  • Specifies that if the governor orders the Department to authorize an alternative workweek (Sec. 1):

    • The alternative workweek may allow the employee to work hours or shifts that are not typical for state employees and work less than 40 hours a week; 

    • An employee who is authorized to work an alternative workweek must be:

      • Considered a full-time employee of the state; and 

      • Entitled to compensation for overtime work; and

    • The time worked by an employee who is authorized to work an alternative workweek includes only the hours actually worked and does not include paid leave hours taken by the employee. 

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Labor to determine that an individual, whose needs are not separate from the individual’s employment, is eligible for benefits if (Sec. 2):

    • The individual’s employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work; 

    • The individual is quarantined due to COVID-19 with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; or

    • The individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure of COVID-19, or to care for a family member due to COVID-19.

Legislation - Bill Passed With Amendment (Senate) (44-0) -

Title: Establishes the "COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020"

Legislation - Bill Passed (House) (131-3) -

Title: Establishes the "COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020"

Legislation - Introduced (House) -

Title: Establishes the "COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Protection Act of 2020"

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