LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY

Throughout the year, UAFP staff actively participates in healthcare policy discussions with legislators, family physicians, and community partners. During the Utah State Legislative Session, the UAFP Legislative Committee meets regularly to discuss bills that may have an impact on our family physicians. Bills are reviewed and the committee decides to support, oppose, or stay neutral and our executive director is on Capitol Hill, every day, lobbying on behalf of UAFP.

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Stay Current on UAFP's Legislative Work

During the 45-day legislative session, the UAFP Legislative Committee meets weekly to discuss bills being considered by lawmakers that could potentially impact family physicians and their patients. The committee decides whether to support, oppose, or remain neutral on pieces of legislation related to family medicine. To learn more about the function of the legislative committee, UAFP's advocacy and lobbying efforts on capitol hill, or to become more involved in UAFP's policy work, please contact Maryann Martindale.

2020 Legislative Session Recap

Our Legislative and Advocacy Committee was hard at work again during this year’s legislative session. We reviewed hundreds of bills, analyzed their impact on family physicians, testified during committees, lobbied legislators, all with the aim of promoting positive legislative for the practice of family medicine.

We prioritize bills based on three categories – Practice Management, Healthy Outcomes for Patients, and Promotion of Family Medicine. Some of our priority bills for the 2020 session included:

  • HB313 Telehealth Parity Amendments – we really had to pull out all the stops to get this bill passed before the session ended. It got stalled at the end, as bills will do, and we used all our political muscle to get it through its final vote. This is a great bill that expands rules to allow all physicians to provide telehealth services, including for patients with Medicaid. It requires certain health benefit plans to provide coverage parity and commercially reasonable reimbursement for telehealth services and telemedicine services. We plan to continue working to refine this law, with the goal of expanding reimbursement parity with in-office visits.
  • HB207 Insulin Access Amendments – as you’ve no doubt experienced, drug prices have spiraled out of control. One of the most egregious examples of this is the high cost of insulin, a drug that costs between $2 and $6 to make often costs several hundred dollars per vial. We were successful in helping pass this bill that caps the monthly out-of-pocket cost at $30. It has some creative provisions to ensure support by the insurance industry and includes a study that will provide important information that could prove useful in future legislation related to drug pricing.
  • HB285 Utah Professional Health Program – recognizing the high level of stress and the unfortunate potential for substance abuse among health professionals, this bill enacts a program for health care professionals to provide an alternative to public disciplinary action for licensees who have substance use disorders. UAFP was a strong supporter of this bill and we see it as a positive way to provide help to those physicians who may be struggling with addiction without risking their livelihood when they seek treatment.
  • HCR7 Encouraging Congressional Action on Medicare Drug Prices – along with bills that enact legal change, we also support resolutions that encourage action by our federal delegation. This resolution strongly encourages Congress to take action in negotiating and reducing the cost of Medicare drug prices.
  • Insurance Coverage for Children (this was an appropriation request and did not have an associated bill file) – continuity of care is critical, especially when dealing with higher-risk populations. UAFP strongly supported this appropriation that will provide coverage for children under Medicaid, regardless of change in family circumstances during a calendar year.

 

As is typical of a whirlwind session with hundreds of bills, we’re not always successful in pushing every piece of legislation we have prioritized. We will continue to lobby for appropriations to provide loan repayment funding for those who elect to serve in rural or underserved areas. Also, we had proposed legislation this year that would give a preceptor tax credit. While it passed committee, it did not ultimately pass, and we’ll be working with legislators to educate them on the importance of these critical medical education opportunities while providing a small amount of relief to offset the impact to the preceptor’s practice.

If you have suggestions for legislation, we would love to hear from you, and if you would like to get more involved, please consider joining the Legislative & Advocacy Committee. We are your voice on the hill and are working hard to ensure positive legislative outcomes for family physicians and their patients.

For a complete list of all bills during the 2020 legislative session, visit le.utah.gov.

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If you would like to be involved, consider joining the UAFP Legislative Committee. It is a great way to learn more about the impact the legislature has on family medicine, and to get involved working for positive change. To join, email Maryann Martindale and let her know you are interested.

For a complete list of all bills during the 2020 legislative session, visit le.utah.gov.

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