Pathology Services Bill
SB 1630 (98th General Assembly)

News Update (December 2014) -- During the fall session of the General Assembly in December 2014, lawmakers overrode Governor Quinn's amendatory veto of SB 1630, a bill that places certain restrictions on billing for pathology services in a medical practice.  Following is an email sent to all members of the Illinois Dermatological Society after the veto override vote.

December 12, 2014

To:       IDS Members
From:  Amy J, Derick, MD; IDS President
RE:      SB 1630 - Pathology Services Billing

The IDS has been working hard on your behalf on SB 1630, a bill to create significant restrictions in pathology service billing. It passed both chambers of the General Assembly earlier this year by large margins, but received an “amendatory veto” from Governor Quinn. That gave us a second chance to convince legislators about the adverse impact it will have on many physicians. After the veto, lawmakers had the option of accepting the changes the Governor proposed, overriding the veto (in which case the original bill goes into law), or doing nothing which would have meant the bill would die.

Three weeks ago, the Senate voted to override the veto by a very narrow 4-vote margin. Last week (on the last day of the fall legislative session), the House of Representatives also voted to override. That means SB 1630 now goes into law with an effective date of January 1, 2015.

We were very successful in creating a coalition of organizations – including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), and others – which represent thousands of physicians throughout the state who will be affected by this new law. Your IDS leadership and the lobbying team participated in 20-plus meetings with key legislators, including traveling downstate to visit with the primary sponsor of the bill. Many members of IDS also contacted their own legislators, and we are very grateful to those who donated nearly $75,000 to our new Illinois Dermatology PAC which helped to establish our credibility and voice in the political process.

This was an extraordinary effort. The fact that out of more than 500 bills passed by the legislature, SB 1630 was one of only 11 that were vetoed by the governor says a lot about the effectiveness of the lobbying effort.

This bill requires that a physician who orders anatomic pathology services, but does not supervise or perform the services, must disclose to the patient who actually performed the pathology services and the actual amount paid for those services. It also prohibits any markup on these services, except that fees for collecting and processing the specimen can be charged provided that the fee is properly itemized with the appropriate CPT code. IDS will be developing a more detailed summary of what this law requires which will be posted on our website for your reference.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of many IDS members who both communicated with legislators about this bill and who also contributed to the Illinois Dermatology PAC. All of those actions made a big difference, and they also will have a positive effect long-term as we work to build our advocacy credibility in Springfield on the full range of issues affecting dermatologists and our patients.

Although it is disappointing that this bill was passed into law, we can be very proud of our efforts. We came from behind and tied the game in the last 15 seconds of the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, we kicked a field goal and the other side managed to get a touchdown in overtime.

We are assessing the situation as it currently stands, and we may have additional information to report once the dust settles from this legislative session. In the meantime, the big “take away” from this experience is that dermatologists need to be regular players in the political process. Establishing relationships with our own legislators and building credibility with the leadership in the General Assembly will be important steps going forward as we work to safeguard our patients’ health and the viability of our practices, as well as promoting public health initiatives.

Thank you to everybody who expressed an interest and contributed to this effort. Believe me, it made a difference and will be a benefit to our specialty in the future.

Illinois Dermatological Society
Richard Paul - Executive Director
10 W. Phillip Rd., Suite 120
Vernon Hills, IL 60061-1730
Phone: 847-680-1666
Email: [email protected]

Last Updated on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 11:26 AM