The (TMA) Day on the Hill was met with a record number of doctors and other healthcare advocates gathering on Capitol Hill to support a move toward a better route for our nation’s policies. The biggest advocacy event of the year drew more than 300 people. This number was by far the largest in history books for healthcare reform, which is a sign that things need to change, according to TMA President Keith G. Anderson, M.D.
Tuesday’s gathering proved that even physicians are aware of how the policies in Nashville are impacting their patients and what these will mean for their practices in general. “Physicians get involved in TMA to help improve healthcare for all Tennesseans,”Anderson said. “This year, we are promoting policies to make reimbursement more predictable for providers and remove unnecessary hassles in order to protect access to care across the state. Physicians have unique insight into the healthcare system, and our goal is to share that insight with lawmakers to improve care for everyone.”
“The presence of so many physicians and healthcare advocates in the halls of the Capitol sends a powerful message to our elected representatives that Tennessee doctors are actively invested in the work they are doing,” TMA Legislative Chairman Ronald H. Kirkland, MD, MBA said.
Many of the bills were up for discussion that day, including Prohibition of Mandatory Maintenance of Certification, which would forbid health insurance participation or payment, hospital privileges, or state medical licensure to be based on Maintenance of Certification status alone. Rather, the TMA is pushing for board certification maintenance to be a on a voluntary basis when a physician wishes to continue his or her education. Choosing content should be left to a practitioner’s own discretion, TMA officials insist, based on the specifics of his or her own field. The TMA believes this is the best way to motivate and ensure physicians are actively renewing their licenses.
The Healthcare Provider Stability Act, which is designed to limit how often insurance providers will be able to modify fee schedules and payment procedures, was also on the table. A more substantial notice whenever a company chooses to do so will be instituted. The bill will provide a better way to notify patients and providers of changes, allowing for more predictability and time to adapt.
The Peer Review for Doctors of Osteopathy would reinstate the ability of such doctors to use peer review committees. This was removed in 2011. And, The Patient Cost Sharing for Oral Anticancer Treatment, also discussed, would prevent out of pocket payments for oral cancer treatments, which are sometimes the only option for cancer patients, from exceeding those of traditional IV treatments. Similar moves have already been made in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
Lastly, controversial The Patients for Fair Compensation legislation was touched on, which would do away with the current medical malpractice system and replace this with a new administrative patient compensation system designed solely for doctors. This issue would provide no guarantee of cost savings, which would in turn, make Tennessee a less desirable place to practice.