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NJBIA’s Health Affairs Policy Committee Meeting recently held a virtual meeting with Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D-29), Chair of the Assembly Aging and Human Services Committee, to discuss her legislative priorities in the current session. 

During her remarks, Assemblywoman Speight highlighted recent meetings she’s participated in with providers, managed care, and constituents regarding women’s health, Medicaid, long-term care, prenatal issues, and public safety, among other issues. 

She noted that her first hearing was on Medicaid, so it was important for her to understand how the Medicaid system works and how it affects different providers. Speight has been working on legislation regarding providing Medicaid reimbursement for mental health and pediatric reimbursement. 

She spoke on legislation enacted during COVID-19 that has had a negative impact now, and what the legislation could do to amend it. Legislation on problems like long-term care and staffing ratios was specific to the pandemic, and now their impact is not as positive as before. 

As an owner of a childcare center, Speight expressed her concern for how legislation can negatively impact businesses. She affirmed her dedication to making sure childcare providers are paid and creating improved conditions for these businesses to stay open through legislation.  

Speight mentioned her collaboration with agencies regarding a shortage of Certified Nurse Assistants and home health aides and how to grow the workforce. There exists a healthcare shortage of about a 5,000 CNAs, so Speight referred to a bill she is crafting that would try to provide work for undocumented immigrants in the healthcare space to provide work for those individuals and remedy the shortage and staffing ratio problems. 

Speight indicated she is reviewing her menstrual health bills to understand what she can and cannot do within the context of insurance. 

When asked about loan redemption programs to retain the workforce, Speight confirmed her involvement in working on incentive programs like loan redemption, providing childcare for individuals, and raising the eligibility with the rise in minimum wage so individuals do not lose out on their benefits. 

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Althea D. Ford mentioned a Healthcare Symposium that will be hosted by NJBIA on May 22nd. There will be panels on issues such as AI and technology in healthcare, workforce, and finally healthcare cost and quality. 

Ford spoke of bills that are being monitored, including S-308 which establishes certain guidelines for health insurance carriers concerning step therapy protocols. 

In the support column, there is A-1896, which adopts the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact, and A-3972 which makes certain changes to calculation of minimum loss ratio requirements for health benefits plans in individual and small employer markets.