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ArMA Advocacy Success and More Community Opportunity

Posted By Michael F. Hamant, Thursday, April 26, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Advocacy is a cornerstone of ArMA member benefits, and our leadership and staff work hard to keep members current on what is happening. I hope you have been able to follow the Legislative Updates included in our member newsletter, “Medicine This Week.” Although the Legislative Session is focusing more now on budget discussions, we are still tracking many bills as well as monitoring budget impacts related to health care. Let’s take a look at where we are now… 

 

In advance of the 2018 Arizona legislative session, the Arizona Medical Association (ArMA) Board of Directors approved 2018 Policy Priorities in December. They were: 

  • Protect, Cover, and Access to Health Services for our Most Vulnerable Populations 

  • Reversing the Opioid Epidemic 

  • Strengthen Public Health 

  • Administration Simplification for Physicians and Patients 

  • Support Efforts to Increase the Physician Pipeline 

  • Surprise Billing 

  • Scope of Practice 

 

Over the course of the legislative session, ArMA’s advocacy team and our Committee on Legislative & Government Affairs tracked, engaged, and advocated for physicians on over 150 bills. Your lobbying team, Pele Fischer, JD, ArMA VP of Policy & Political Affairs, and Steve Barclay, JD, our contract lobbyist, have worked tirelessly with ArMA physician leadership throughout the last four months, educating legislators, forming important alliances in the healthcare community, informing direct communications and grassroots with ArMA physician members, and engaging stakeholders in productive, diplomatic discussions. 

 

Another point of engagement for physicians at the Capitol is the Doctor of the Day program, a unique opportunity for physicians to volunteer at the Capitol during legislative session. ArMA wrapped up this program last week: we had 60 physicians and 10 medical students that participated in Doctor of the Day, with a great mix of specialties represented including IM/FM, anesthesiology, urology, radiology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and surgery. There were 207 encounters with legislators and five medical calls attended for legislators and/or staff.  

 

The three biggest issues we faced so far this session were opioids, sunrise process changes, and physician credentialing.  

 

HB 2322, health insurers; provider credentialing, will bring badly-needed time limits and penalties, as well as transparency and disclosure requirements, to the way health insurers process physician credentialing and loading of their contracts for network participation. ArMA’s lobbying team worked closely with our allies at the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA), Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA), and Health System Alliance of Arizona. Together we were able to find strength in numbers and garner strong support for successful passage of HB 2322. We had a great deal of support for this legislation from our members and in particular, from ArMA member organization, Arizona Associated Surgeons, and from our community partner Arizona Medical Group Management Association (AzMGMA)as they encountered deficiencies in the current system and brought awareness to the issuesThank you to everyone who took time to support the advocacy around this important bill. 

 

On SB 1034committee of reference; standing committee, we were able to reach a compromise in accordance with pre-established guiding principles to retain the patient safety protections inherent to the existing sunrise process and related scope of practice expansion applications.  

 

SB1001, the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, made significant changes to opioid prescribing and related pain management and addiction treatment in medicine. It went into effect on April 26, and Pele Fischer has authored an article outlining the items that need our immediate attention. I encourage you to review it today at The Arizona Pulse

 

Please continue to follow the progress in the weekly Legislative Updates portion of “Medicine This Week” and be sure to check out the comprehensive annual Legislative Report when it is released this summer. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Our engagement in ArMA’s policy-building process ensures our focus and success at the Capitol. There are several ways right now that we as members can participate in the process. 

 

  • Contribute to ArMPAC – the Arizona Medical PAC identifies and supports medicine-friendly candidates, which in turn is helpful to our advocacy work at the Capitol. Contribute today!  

  • Sign up today to be an ArMA delegate at the June 2 Annual Meeting! 

  • Register now to attend the President’s Awards Banquet on June 2 for a unique networking opportunity with colleagues and health care community members. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Michael Hamant, MD 

President, ArMA 

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