Montana health care laws are getting a cleanup crew

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As the 67th Montana Legislature got underway this winter, Montana Nurses Association Executive Director Vicky Byrd set to the task of soliciting input from health care professionals about desired changes to state law. One theme that emerged from those conversations was the denial by some health care facilities and insurance companies of medical form signatures from advanced practice registered nurses — denials that flew in the face of a law passed in 2019 granting Montana APRNs signature authority parity with physicians.

“They were literally printing off Senate Bill 94 and stapling it to the form that got denied,” Byrd said, referencing the 2019 law.

The trouble sprang from discrepancies in how different state laws define health care providers, prompting Byrd and her staff to pore over Montana’s code for additional wrinkles. They identified more than 270 statutes that failed to reflect current practice in Montana’s health care system, some of which Byrd said haven’t been changed since the mid-1990s. The association subsequently recommended that lawmakers initiate a wide-reaching regulatory cleanup during the legislative interim.

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