Top 4 issues physicians will take to state legislatures in 2016
Throughout the year to come, physicians will see some key issues play out across all 50 states as medical associations and policymakers put forth new legislation and protect existing policy on critical components to the practice of medicine. Four issues weigh heavily at the top of the list.
Medical association leaders recently met in Tucson, Ariz., at the 2016 AMA State Legislative Strategy Conference to discuss the most imperative state legislative and regulatory priorities. Leading the 2016 agenda are these four issues:
Ensuring physician-led team-based care
Many state medical associations plan to strengthen care delivery through legislation that supports physician-led team-based care. The states will be considering AMA model state legislation that encourages flexible, innovative health care teams under a framework of physician leadership to achieve the “triple aim”—providing the highest quality of care at the lowest cost possible while improving patient outcomes.
The AMA’s STEPS Forward™ collection offers several modules to help physician practices move toward team-based care. These physician-authored modules include instructions for implementing team documentation, strengthening team culture, conducting effective team meetings and setting your practice up for successful change.
Improving patient health
State and national medical specialty societies plan to expand efforts to advance legislation that will promote healthier communities.
Last year, the assault on the patient-physician relationship continued in many statehouses with legislation that attempted to prescribe the content of information exchanged between physicians and their patients. In the year ahead, 11 state medical associations will promote legislation aimed at protecting the patient-physician relationship. Another big focus will be tobacco use and availability, with legislative efforts in 17 states.
Reducing prescription drug abuse and overdose
The opioid overdose epidemic has cast a spotlight on pharmaceutical and prescribing issues, drawing the interest of state policymakers and placing considerable focus on prescription drug misuse, diversion, overdose and death.
22 state medical associations and two national medical specialty societies plan to consider legislation on the use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP), while 15 states will look to expand access to naloxone and other overdose and abuse prevention efforts.
“America’s physicians must do a better job of using all available tools to help stop this epidemic,” Patrice A. Harris, MD, chair-elect of the AMA Board of Trustees, recently wrote. “Among the powerful tools in our arsenal that we must regularly use are PDMPs, enhanced education and naloxone.”
Managed care and payer issues
Hard work was done in 2015 to pass reforms and educate lawmakers on issues such as network adequacy, prior authorization, fair contracting and transparency of insurer practices. Expanded efforts and models bills from the AMA’s private payer campaign are intended to further chip away at these issues in the year to come.
18 state medical association and seven national medical specialty societies are expected to focus on network adequacy legislation. Additionally, 19 state medical associations plan to pursue legislative changes to prior authorization, which poses roadblocks to patient care, delays much needed services and can stall the delivery of patients’ treatment.
Other issues physicians will be taking to their state lawmakers this year include medical liability reform, Medicaid reform, and the legislative and regulatory environments for telemedicine and telehealth.
The AMA Advocacy Resource Center will continue to provide relevant legislative support to state and national medical specialty societies to advance these priorities through model bills and state-specific activity. Watch for coverage on these important issues at AMA Wire®.