The mission of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, is to serve as Maryland’s foremost advocate and resource for physicians, their patients and the public health. To that end, during the 2016 General Assembly Session, MedChi shall work on the following objectives:
AS AN ADVOCATE FOR PATIENTS:
DEFEND THE SCOPE OF MEDICAL PRACTICE SO PATIENTS ARE SEEN BY A PHYSICIAN: MedChi will fight to ensure that all patients have access to physicians and that physician extenders have appropriate training and physician oversight. Individuals newly insured through ACA implementation have placed unprecedented demands on the health care system as they seek medical care. It is critical that patients have access to physicians and that non-physicians do not use increased demand to inappropriately increase their scope of practice.
PROTECT MEDICAID AND THE UNINSURED: MedChi will work to incentivize physician participation and to protect the integrity of the Medicaid program, including advocating for full restoration of E&M payment to Medicare rates for all physicians who serve Medicaid enrollees.
ADDRESS NETWORK ADEQUACY: MedChi will support efforts to enhance the requirements and accountability of insurers with respect to adequate provider networks; the accuracy of provider directories; and fair formulary practices.
AS AN ADVOCATE FOR PHYSICIANS:
DEFEND PHYSICIAN RIGHTS: Med Chi will work to protect Maryland’s physicians by:
– Addressing laws which direct physician license fees to other programs;
– Monitoring the regulatory and disciplinary actions of the Board of Physicians;
– Addressing delays in obtaining CDS licenses from the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; and
– Protecting and enhancing the integrity of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and its use by physicians.
STRENGTHEN MEDICAL LIABILITY REFORM: MedChi will continue to strongly oppose trial lawyer attempts to increase the “cap” on damages in medical malpractice cases and abolish the defense of contributory negligence. MedChi will continue to support efforts to establish a pilot project for specialized health courts; limit repeated continuances in medical malpractice cases; and otherwise work to protect and strengthen the legal liability environment for physicians.
ENHANCE PHYSICIAN PAYMENT AND INSURANCE REFORM: MedChi will continue its efforts to improve Maryland’s payment climate and reform insurance policies with these initiatives:
– Work to assure that gain-sharing and other payment mechanisms for incentivizing broad system reform are developed through a stakeholder process that includes physician participation and results in a positive impact on physicians;
– Prevent insurance carriers from effectively reducing payment via credit cards; and
– Prevent workers compensation insurers from limiting a physician’s right to dispense medications to an injured worker.
AS AN ADVOCATE FOR PUBLIC HEALTH:
PROTECTING MARYLAND’S CHILDREN: MedChi will support initiatives to protect children including:
– Initiatives to increase HPV immunization rates for children as recommended by the CDC;
– Childhood obesity initiatives that propose to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages and other unhealthy food choices;
– Continued efforts to ban minors’ use of commercial tanning beds; and
– Measures to strengthen child safety seat and young driver laws.
ENDING HEALTH DISPARITIES AND ADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS: Continued support of legislative and regulatory initiatives to reduce health disparities as well as initiatives to address homelessness, affordable housing and their impact on public health.
MAKING MARYLAND A TOBACCO FREE STATE: MedChi will advocate for continued increases in the Tobacco Tax in order to discourage smoking and to help fund Medicaid and restore enhanced E&M payment for all physicians serving Medicaid enrollees. MedChi will also support legislation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products by businesses which provide health care or dispense medications.
CLIMATE CHANGE: MedChi will support the reauthorization of Maryland’s Green House Gas Reduction Act consistent with the consensus recommendations of the Governor’s Climate Change Commission regarding new goals and program structure. MedChi’s advocacy will remain in accordance with AMA policy on Climate Change.