At the last minute, though, it died, for the third straight year.
Cause of death? Fierce opposition from insurers.
But hope springs eternal, and when combined with persistence it sometimes pays off.
Watson's Provider Stability Act is scheduled for final
Watson said the bill is intended to address long-standing gripes among physicians and other providers about abrupt changes by insurance companies regarding fee and payment schedules for treating patients.
Doctors are especially aggrieved because their operations are smaller than hospitals and other provider groups. Last year, physician groups' office managers testified to their frustration, saying it was difficult for them to keep up with the changes.
But insurers like
They argued changes are far from arbitrary and ultimately benefit their customers because they help keep costs low.
Watson, who could not be reached Friday, earlier credited insurers' willingness to work on the issue for the bill.
Changes won't apply to various state and federal government health care programs.
The prospect of passage at last makes doctors happy.
"The Healthcare Provider Stability Act will level the playing field between providers and insurers," said
Chaney said limiting fee schedule changes to once a year and requiring more transparency from payers will give doctors and other health care providers more financial predictability and stability in their businesses.
"In every other industry, a contract is a contract. It should be the same in health care," Chaney said.
Speaking before the
"Either they accepted it or moved on and could be moved out of the [insurers'] network. This remedies that problem," he said.
The bill says insurers must give at least 60 days' notice before making any material change in their provider manuals for a reimbursement rule or policy.
A 90-day notice is required in changes to fee schedules, which list reimbursement amounts for specific therapies, procedures and other services.
"That's an important detail, particularly for the providers, and I want to thank the insurance industry for working with me on that," Watson later told the
Another provision requires the insurer, upon written request, to send the fee schedule list to the provider's email free of charge within 10 business days. Watson called it a "big ask" of the insurance industry.
The proposed law would take effect
(c)2017 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Visit the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at www.timesfreepress.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.