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Fleming attends ceremonial signing for public health bills

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State Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) attended two ceremonial signings of bills that she championed this session. House Bill 1568, which allows qualified pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control, and Senate Bill 400, which addresses the health care provider shortage and removes some requirements of prior authorization, were signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb today. Fleming, a retired OB/GYN, co-sponsored Senate Bill 400 and co-authored House Bill 1568 and has been a longtime advocate for pharmacist-prescribed birth control.

Fleming offered the following statement following the signings:

“Both of these bills will have a tremendous impact on public health in Indiana. By allowing pharmacists to provide women with birth control, we're going to see more Hoosier women be able to take control of their health and the well-being of their families by deciding if and when they get pregnant. This is a blessing for many working, low-income and rural women who too often lack adequate access to health care providers. We have seen this policy work in other states, and I'm excited to see the impact it has in Indiana.

“As a retired health care provider, I can't emphasize enough how much of a hassle prior authorization can be for both providers and patients in need of care. In our district, too many people have experienced delays in care or have been denied needed medical treatment or prescriptions because of prior authorization, and the vast majority of our district indicated in my legislative survey that they would like to see prior authorization removed. This bill is the first step in doing that, and I'm proud to have worked on it.

“This bill also requires a peer-to-peer review process in the event of a delay or denial. What this essentially means is that a doctor trained in the area of medicine the procedure involves would be required to discuss with an individual's health care provider to discuss the decision. This would increase transparency and hopefully lead to fewer delays in care.

“Another important aspect of the bill is it requires wearable cardioverter defibrillators to be covered in state health insurance policies to help prevent recurrent heart attacks. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Hoosiers, and this is a great way to improve health outcomes and save lives.

“As a lawmaker, I specifically requested to sit on both the public health and the insurance committees to work with other elected officials to bridge the gaps between insurance companies and health care providers. Both of these bills are shining examples of what can happen when we work together to benefit Hoosiers. These are just first steps, but I'm excited to see where they take us as we continue to work to improve public health and access to care in our state.”

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