Council Debates Healthcare Licenses, MCOs, and Vaccine Mandates October 5, 2021

Written by MSDC Staff

Meeting formally for the first time since passing the budget, the DC Council debated a number of healthcare bills of interest to the physician community.

Of primary interest is the "Preserve Our Healthcare Workers" temporary and emergency bills introduced by Councilmember Vincent Gray. The bills extend the temporary license language in place from DC Health for the maximum time allowed by emergency and temporary bills. It also requires any healthcare practitioner using a "temporary license" to be fully vaccinated (as defined by DC Health). The bill is important to the District healthcare community because it allows health facilities to maintain needed staffing levels while healthcare licenses are approved. In addition, practitioners in Maryland and Virginia who are awaiting license approval while treating DC patients can continue to treat their patients.

In addition, the Council discussed legislation extending the three current managed care organization contracts for an additional nine months. This action allows the three previously approved MCOs to continue covering Medicaid beneficiaries until the new rebid process is complete. MSDC and other healthcare associations sent a letter to the Mayor and Council asking them to work together on the MCO contracting issues that could have deprived DC residents of care during this COVID Delta surge. The hope is this compromise will indeed preserve beneficiaries' access to care.

The Council also addressed other healthcare topics, including:

  • Requiring the Council itself and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • How students can opt into virtual learning due to risk from COVID-19

Physicians interested in learning more or becoming involved in advocacy are welcome to share their interests with MSDC here or calling 202-466-1800.