Baker signs health care bill into law that codifies changes made amid pandemic

Massachusetts

FILE – In this Dec. 3, 2020, file photo, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker speaks after touring the DCU Center as it gears up to be used as a COVID-19 field hospital for the second time in Worcester, Mass. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday, Dec. 10, that Baker did not overstep his authority when he issued sweeping orders to close businesses to control the spread of the coronavirus. (Nancy Lane/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool, File)

BOSTON (WPRI) ─ Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a wide-ranging health care bill codifying many of the emergency changes made to the system in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The key provisions of the new law include:

  • Requiring coverage of telehealth services including behavioral health care
  • Expanding Scope of Practice for Advanced Practice Nurses and Optometrists
  • Increasing disclosures around provider costs and network status to protect consumers from surprise medical bills
  • Removing barriers to urgent care centers for MassHealth members
  • Extending insurance coverage and access to COVID-19 testing and treatment
  • Directing a study and report of the impacts of COVID-19 on the health care system

“Massachusetts has long been a leader in ensuring health care quality and access and with this new law, we are making further progress in building a strong, accessible and affordable health care system, a goal that is more important now than ever,” Baker said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is not releasing updated COVID-19 data Friday because of the holiday, adding that the data released on Saturday will cover two days.

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