Legislative Reports

With one voice. The power of many.

NHMS is grateful for all the time and effort our members and their staff put into supporting or opposing key pieces of legislation. The live testimony, letters, emails and phone calls from physicians have a profound impact on legislators. Thank you for your continued help and support.

September 13, 2017

NH Medical Society tracked 142 bills this year, including 69 priorities, which fell into 12 categories: access to care, alcohol and tobacco, firearms, human resources, legal process, licensure, mental health, public health, reproductive health, substance use disorders, vaccines, and miscellaneous. Our success rate was just over 60% for bills we supported and just under 70% for bills we opposed, pretty good statistics for a process in which it is easier to kill a bill than get one passed and in which results are more frequently a compromise than outright victory or defeat.

Access to care was a key focus this year and improvements were made in access to medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders, telehealth services for Medicaid patients and 3-D breast tomosynthesis. Also, an effort to prohibit the use of manufacturer coupons for prescription drug purchases was defeated.

On the legal side, NH Medical Society took the lead in defeating a bill to allow certain medical records and reports to stand on their own without live testimony from the medical provider. The stated intent of the bill was to decrease litigation costs but we believe it would merely have shifted costs from plaintiffs, who bear the burden of proof in our system, to defendants.

The backlog of severely ill mental health patients in hospital emergency departments must be resolved and NH Medical Society is involved at many levels, most visibly through its leadership of a workgroup aimed at eliminating regulatory barriers to the delivery of appropriate care and its strong support for allocation of additional resources to the mental health system. This work continues.

In the public health arena, NH Medical Society was instrumental in killing a bill that would have abolished the use of fluoride in public drinking water and in passing a bill that re-authorizes expedited partner therapy, a practice aimed at increasing the speed and flexibility of response to public health threats by allowing providers to prescribe drugs for non-patient sexual partner(s) of a patient in limited circumstances.

NH Medical Society was mostly successful in its advocacy on reproductive health issues; however, defeat came on a very public and politically-charged bill. On the plus side, we helped kill proposals to undo carefully-crafted restrictions on the authority of midwives to perform vaginal deliveries after C-sections and to ban abortion after viability, and we helped pass a study commission bill to explore improved access to oral contraceptives by making them available through pharmacies without a prescription. On the negative side, our efforts to kill or improve a fetal homicide bill failed and the bill was enacted with a 20-week threshold for defining a fetus as a person in the criminal code. A similar bill was retained in a House committee and we hope to make changes to this new fetal homicide law next year. 

While our efforts to prevent expansion of the medical conditions for which therapeutic use of cannabis is authorized and to preserve a two-step system for use determinations failed, a bill to authorize needle exchange programs in New Hampshire, which we supported, has been signed into law.

NH Medical Society was not successful in preventing expansion of the list of vaccines that may be administered to adults by pharmacists. However, we were a key advocate in maintaining the requirement of the Hepatitis B vaccine for children in schools and childcare settings. Childhood vaccines are a vital component of public health protection in our state and our efforts to prevent changes to this program were strongly and actively supported by members.

More details on the top  priority bills are set forth below and all bills we tracked appear in the legislative spreadsheets. If you have questions about any bill not included below, please contact me.

The NH Medical Society Legislative Committee will resume monthly meetings in September to discuss next year’s policy priorities. All members are welcome to participate!

Valerie Acres
Director of Advocacy

Full 2017 NHMS Legislative Summary

2017 Killed Bills

2017 Tabled Bills

2017 Signed Bills

Current NH Legislative Session - Bill Tracking (coming soon)

We summarize annually our collective efforts in our Legislative Reports.

Past NHMS Legislative Reports: 

2016 NHMS Legislative Summary

2015 NHMS Legislative Summary

2014 NHMS Legislative Summary

2013 NHMS Legislative Summary

2012 NHMS Legislative Summary

2011 NHMS Legislative Summary

2010 NHMS Legislative Summary