Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of April 14. Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session April 28.
• Legislation introduced by state Rep. Nicholas Miccarelli, R-Delaware, would enact contract standards for physicians so that they can make informed decisions when contracting with the Pennsylvania Blue Cross Blue Shield plans and their affiliates. Miccarelli said in a sponsorship memo that HB 2190 contains the key policies contained in several national legal settlement agreements reached by each of the four Blue plans in the state with Pennsylvania physicians.
• HB 2061 has been introduced in the state House of Representatives to reduce patient confusion that results from deceptive, misleading or otherwise confusing advertising by health care providers, according to the sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster. Patient confusion can arise in a number of ways, Cutler said in a sponsorship memo. In the case of a non-physician provider, a patient might mistakenly believe that a provider using the title “doctor” in an advertisement is a physician. In the case of a physician, it might be an advertisement that he or she is “board-certified,” when in fact the board certification is in an entirely different specialty than the service being promoted in the advertisement.
• State Sen. Scott Hutchinson, R-Butler, has introduced a measure that would increase the cap on the annual deduction for capital expenditures to $100,000 for state tax purposes. Pennsylvania currently caps that deduction at $25,000 per year.
• HB 1721 would require full disclosure of all chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The bill was introduced by state Rep. Jesse White, D-Allegheny. The bill would require the state Department of Environmental Protection to maintain a public database of all compounds used by an applicant prior to a permit being issued, providing transparency and accountability.
Banking and Securities Commission
The state Senate has confirmed James R. Biery, formerly CEO of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, as a commissioner on the Banking and Securities Commission.
Composed of five commissioners, the commission serves as an adjudicatory body for the Department of Banking and Securities. Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Jerry Pappert serves as chair of the commission.
Table Game Revenues
Revenue from the play of table games at Pennsylvania’s casinos rose 1 percent in March, producing the highest level of revenue, $67.9 million, since their introduction in July 2010, according to a report released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
The total eclipsed the previous high from March 2013, $67.4 million.
The Pennsylvania State Police announced troopers seized more than $16 million in heroin, crystal meth and other prohibited drugs in the first quarter of 2014.
Troopers seized more than 17 kilograms of heroin and more than 10 kilograms of methamphetamine with a combined approximate street value of $9.5 million. In addition, they seized more than 700,000 prescription pills and 1,325 pounds of marijuana valued at more than $4 million. Troopers seized more than 23 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of more than $1 million.