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State Advocacy Update: Step Therapy Legislation in Texas, West Virginia, and Rhode Island

Posted: April 4, 2017

Texas Step Therapy Bill Clears Another Hurdle

SB 680, a step therapy bill introduced in Texas by Senator Kelly Hancock (R-9) on January 31, cleared yet another hurdle yesterday after receiving unanimous support on the Senate Floor. Now that it has passed the Senate, the bill will move to the House Insurance Committee where it (along with companion bill HB 1464) will await a hearing.

The CSRO thanks Senator Hancock for leading the way on SB 680 and urges House Insurance Chairman Larry Phillips to move forward with this important legislation and schedule the bills for hearing as soon as possible.

West Virginia Governor Signs Step Therapy Bill into Law

The CSRO is pleased to announce that West Virginia has officially enacted a law to limit the use of step therapy protocols, making it the first state to successfully pass step therapy legislation in 2017. After receiving overwhelming support in both chambers, step therapy bill HB 2300 passed out of both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Jr. last Thursday.

Beginning in 2018, this newly enacted law will protect patients in West Virginia by ensuring they have access to a clear and convenient process for requesting a step therapy protocol exception and by requiring health plans to allow such an exception under five specified circumstances, including when patients are already stable on a drug selected by their physician to treat the medical condition under consideration.

The CSRO applauds the efforts of bill sponsor John R. Kelly (R-10) and both the West Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates in passing HB 2300. We hope this is the first of many step therapy bills to be enacted across the nation this year.

Rhode Island Step Therapy Bill Scheduled for Hearing This Afternoon

H 5636, a step therapy bill introduced in Rhode Island by Representatives Christopher Blazejewski, Joseph Solomon, Jean Barros, Daniel McKiernan, and Bill O'Brien on March 1, is scheduled for hearing in the House Corporations Committee this afternoon. Should it pass out of Committee following today’s hearing, the bill will then move to the House Floor for consideration by the entire chamber. The CSRO will continue to monitor this legislation as it makes its way through legislature and will provide updates as available.