Caucus hears Sussex County healthcare concerns

Medicare, Medicaid patients make up 75% of patients at Beebe, says CEO
April 20, 2024

A Caucus on Aging met in Lewes April 11 for a Sussex County viewpoint that the group can use when suggesting legislation or other policy involving the aging population.

“The caucus is an informal setting to gather data … [then] you can start pulling together legislation, programs, things of that nature, to address the aging population,” said Sen. Russ Huxtable, D-Lewes, who attended the meeting at Troop 7.

Dr. David Tam, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, gave some background on his healthcare group, of which, he said, more than 75% of patients are on Medicaid or Medicare.

Medicare does not generate income, which means hospitals have to balance out other healthcare, such as third-party insurance, to be able to provide a spectrum of services, he said.

“We’re not a rich system because of that Medicare population, but our commitment is to continue to grow,” Tam said. “Beebe is already at a point where it loses money despite all the efficiencies we’ve put in place. We really need to make sure that we give healthcare systems an opportunity to grow.” 

Sussex County is also the fastest-growing county in the state, he said, and recruiting physicians has become difficult. This, in turn, places large caseloads of patients on physicians working in the county, he said.

Legislative wrap
Senate passed

• SB 233 with SA 1 passed the Senate 15-6 April 17 to establish employment protections for certain service employees during changes of ownership.

• SB 244 passed the Senate 17-3 with one absent on April 17 to authorize any county that collects a lodging tax to allocate some or all the proceeds for workforce and affordable housing programs within that respective county. Currently, New Castle and Sussex counties collect a lodging tax with limitations on how those funds can be spent. 

• SB 276 unanimously passed the Senate April 17 to name the Newark Regional Transportation Center after U.S. Sen. Tom Carper.

Awaiting governor signature

• HB 288 unanimously passed the Senate April 16 to change the Division of Research to the Division of Legislative Services. The bill unanimously passed the House March 12.

• HB 315 unanimously passed the Senate April 16 to remove racist language and provisions from the Delaware Code. The bill unanimously passed the House March 14.

Bills in committee
House Administration Committee

• HB 365 would establish the framework and requirements for a competitive mobile sports wagering market in Delaware under the authority of the Lottery Director. 

• HB 373 would allow the Office of Highway Safety to solicit and receive subscriptions, donations, and other funds from individuals or organizations for the purpose of implementing highway safety programs and projects that support the mission of reducing traffic fatalities and injuries in Delaware.

House Appropriations Committee

• HS 1 for HB 17 would require all employers in the state to provide employees with a minimum of one hour of earned sick time and safety leave for every 30 hours worked. For employers with nine or fewer employees, the time may be unpaid, job-protected time instead of paid time. Accrued earned sick time and safety leave may be used by the employee for time off with pay at the employee’s same wage and benefit rate to deal with the mental and physical health needs of either the employee or an employee’s family member and other specified purposes. Earned sick time and safety leave may also be used to address the consequences of domestic violence for such things as meeting with lawyers, obtaining services from victim service organizations, temporary relocation and the like. Employers may cap the number of hours earned per year at 40, the carryover from one year to the next at 40 hours, and the maximum earned sick and safety leave an employee has access to at any one time at 40 hours. Employers may require employees to have been employed at least 90 days before they may take earned sick leave and safety time. Employers whose benefits packages already meet the minimum requirements of this Act are not required to offer anything additional. The Department of Labor will promulgate regulations governing operation of the act and will enforce the provisions of the act. Employers who violate the act are subject to civil penalty of no less than $2,000 nor more than $20,000. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee who complains to the department that an employer has violated the act. Where discrimination or retaliation is found to have occurred, a penalty between $20,000 and $50,000 may be applied.

House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee

• HB 362 would require coverage of doula services under private health insurance plans.

• HB 370 would require the seller of an interest in residential real property to provide the following to a buyer of the property before closing on the sale of the property: (1) For residential real property that is supplied with potable water by a private well located on the property, a report on the results of testing of the water supplied by the private well that is conducted within 3 months of the signing of a form documenting compliance with the water testing requirements of this act. (2) For residential real property that is supplied with potable water from a public water system, the results of testing of the water supplied by the public water system performed by the public water supplier that is conducted within 1 year of the signing of a form documenting compliance with the water testing requirements of this act.

• HB 371 would change how the insurance commissioner and the state treasurer provide for distributions from taxes collected by the insurance commissioner to be made to fire companies or departments in Delaware. The current method for reporting, calculating, and making distributions to fire companies or departments is complex to administer and can lead to incorrect payments. 

• HB 378 would require health spas selling subscription services online to provide a prospective buyer of such a subscription the right to cancel the automatic renewal online.

House Housing Committee

• HB 363 would require a landlord who provides a dwelling place to a person as part of their employment compensation to provide them with a disclosure form advising them of the conditions and requirements for occupancy and vacancy of the premises once they are no longer employed by the landlord. The disclosure must inform the tenant employee that the landlord must offer the tenant, within 5 business days of termination by the employer, the opportunity to enter into a written rental agreement, if no rental agreement is in effect already. No offer for a rental agreement is necessary if the tenant employee is terminated for cause. The landlord may condition the rental agreement on the person financially qualifying as a tenant and meeting the landlord’s income, credit, or other financial requirements for renting the unit. This act also lengthens the time period the landlord must wait before bringing a summary possession action against a formerly employed tenant from 15 days to 30 days unless the termination is for cause.

• HB 372 would amend the Delaware Manufactured Homes and Manufactured Home Communities Act by defining the term “day” to mean a calendar day excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and state legal holidays. This bill eliminates anyone with implied permission under definition of “guest” or “visitor”; expands the definition of “tree” to include root system, limbs, trunk and stem; clarifies that a landlord is responsible for maintenance and repairs of all utilities and services up to the home distribution point; requires the landlord to maintain and regrade, in addition to lots, bulkheads, streets and grounds, and include in rental agreements that for all areas designated by local, state, or federal regulations as wetlands, flood plains, tidal areas and water discharge areas the landlord will coordinate with the appropriate authorities to prevent any lot flooding and keep the tenant advised, on at least an annual basis, of any flood prevention or drainage projects.

House Judiciary Committee

• SS1 for SB 164 with HA1 would allow correctional officers employed with the Department of Correction to make a written request that their personal information not be published and remain confidential. The bill unanimously passed the Senate by 20 votes with one absent on March 28.

• SB 198 would revise existing animal cruelty laws to include people who knowingly possess, own, buy, sell, transfer, or manufacture animal fighting paraphernalia with the intent to engage in or otherwise promote or facilitate such fighting as guilty of a class E felony. This act defines “animal fighting paraphernalia” and creates a list of considerations a court may use when assessing whether an item or object qualifies as animal fighting paraphernalia. The bill passed the Senate March 28 by 17-2 with one absent.

• HB 374 would provide the same legal protections afforded providers of contraceptive and abortion services to providers of fertility treatment.

• HB 380 would add a definition of mental condition to the state’s red flag law on firearms.

House Sunset Committee

• SB 194 would allow pharmacists, under protocol approved by the Division of Public Health, to provide HIV pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis treatments. The bill passed the Senate March 28 by a 16-5 vote.

• HB 369 would define a successor professional engineer and delineate the acceptable parameters for a successor professional engineer's use or reliance upon work performed by the previous professional engineer in responsible charge.

Senate Banking, Business, Insurance & Technology

• SB 258 would prohibit any autonomous vehicle with a gross weight of 10,001 pounds or more from being operated on a Delaware highway for testing purposes, transporting goods, or transporting passengers without a human safety operator being physically present within the autonomous vehicle. A two-thirds vote requirement is required for this bill.

• SB 266 would remove the ability for persons to bring an action under the Delaware False Claims and Reporting Act for failures to comply with reporting requirements of the Delaware Unclaimed Property Law. It leaves untouched the ability of the government (through the attorney general) to bring such an action after a 90-day period during which the state escheator may initiate an examination, against a holder who is not otherwise engaged in a voluntary disclosure agreement or under examination, compliance review, or verified report review. The act also defines what payment a whistleblower may receive, in the event the whistleblower provides information concerning the failure of a holder to comply with the UPL’s reporting requirements and the state receives a payment as a result.

• SB 267 would clarify various aspects of the state’s unclaimed property laws.

• SB268 would update the Uniform Transfer on Death Security Registration Act. 

Senate Education Committee

• SB 259 updates and modernizes the DIAA board of directors' composition.

• SB 260 would give the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association the authority to promulgate regulations by removing the requirements that the secretary of education propose DIAA-related regulations and the State Board of Education approve the proposed regulations. It also removes the requirement that DIAA and Department of Education  collaborate to develop regulations. 

Senate Elections & Government Affairs

• HB 127 with HA1 and HA2 passed the House with 39 votes and two absent to allow each county to impose, by duly enacted ordinance, a fire protection fee. 

• HB 322 passed the House with 39 votes and two absent to establish the Delaware Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage and Culture.

Senate Environment, Energy & Transportation Committee

• HB 14 with HA1 passed the House with 39 votes and two absent April 16 to create a new license for the use of trotlines in commercial crabbing.

• SB 262 would permit trucks with five or more axles that are hauling farm produce grown in this state and traveling from the farm on which the farm produce is grown to a location at which the farm produce is to be processed or stored, or from a location at which the farm produce is processed or stored to an export facility within this state, to weigh up to 90,000 pounds or combined manufacturer’s gross combined weight rating, whichever is less, before a penalty is assessed for exceeding weight restrictions. A truck hauling farm produce is granted this increased weight limit if the truck complies with several conditions aimed at ensuring public safety. 

• SB 263 would limit the use of plastic and other beverage container rings, as well as plastic shrink wraps and plastic tops used to connect beverages, by expanding the definitions of “beverage” and “beverage container” and prohibiting beverages from being sold in containers connected to each other with plastic, ring, or ring-like connectors.

• SB 264 would remove the sunset provision relating to the electrical and natural gas utility distribution system improvement charge.

Senate Executive Committee

• SB 271 would clarify the definitions of “motor vehicle”, “new motor vehicle,” and “dealer” to reflect technological advances and changes in industry business practices in the state. The act also recognizes the limited circumstances issuance of a dealer license to a direct-selling electric motor vehicle manufacturer in 2023. Further, the act defines motor vehicle selling activities that require licensing and regulation by the state. Fair Compensation for Required Repair: Dealers are required by contract to perform warranty work for manufacturers. The act ensures that dealers are fairly paid for performing manufacturer-directed repairs related to warranty repairs, maintenance programs and recall work. 

• SB 270 would make the budget stabilization fund law, define deposit and withdraw standards for the fund, and impose deposit and withdrawal norms throughout the annual governor’s recommended budget process.

Senate Finance Committee

• SS1 for SB 21 would establish an independent and nonpartisan Office of the Inspector General and the position of the inspector general. The OIG would be unique in state government as a non-political agency with a sole mission to investigate and prevent fraud, waste, mismanagement, corruption, and other abuse of governmental resources. 

• SS1 for SB 132 would create a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights for that would require student loan servicers to engage in certain practices related to communications with student loan borrowers and cosigners of student education loans and handling of transactions by student loan borrowers and cosigners of student education loans; prohibit student loan servicers from engaging in certain practices including unfair or deceptive practices or abusive practices; require student loan servicers to retain records related to student loan transactions for seven years and to yearly report non-identifying information about student education loans serviced in this state, including default and delinquency rates, to the student loan ombudsperson; and establishes the Office of the Student Loan Ombudsperson which shall, among other duties, receive, investigate, and attempt to resolve complaints from student loan borrowers.

Senate Health & Social Services

• HB 190 with HA 1 passed the House with 39 votes and two absent April 16 to update the current law relating to the Spay Neuter Fund and the administration of that fund to make it easier to administer the fund and animal population control programs. 

• SB 231 would establish a program to help a young person in foster or state care get a driver’s license, auto insurance, and other costs. 

• SB 269 relates to civil penalties for violations of laws related to dogs that run at large, dogs that bite a person or domestic animal while running at large, and dogs that are declared dangerous or potentially dangerous. It also expands the requirements for keeping or maintaining a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog to include provisions related to liability insurance, licensing, vaccination, microchipping, and leashing. 

Senate Labor Committee

• SB 229 would extend the right of employees to inspect their own personnel files to former employees, and updates the specific information included in personnel files that an employee may inspect.

• HB 255 with HS 1 and HA 1 and HA 2 passed the House with 38 votes and three absent April 16 to update the Boiler Safety Program so it can issue certificates of compliance and the secretary can grant variances. A 6th member is added to the Boiler Safety Council from associated labor unions. It adds an enforcement section for violators who fail to comply with Program requirements.

Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee

• HB 310 with HA 1 passed the House with 38 votes and three absent April 16 to add Space Force in sections of the Delaware Code where the other five branches of the armed forces are specifically enumerated.  


• HCR 112 calls on the General Assembly to encourage the Delaware medical community to educate the citizens of Delaware about the forced organ harvesting that occurs in China, in the event they decide to travel to China for an expedited transplant. This resolution also calls on the United States Government to pass laws and regulations prohibiting American medical and pharmaceutical companies from collaborating with Chinese groups that are found to have involvement with forced organ harvesting, as well as banning entry into the United States individuals who have participated in the forced organ harvesting, and allowing prosecution of those persons involved.


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