News & Announcements
Legislation has been introduced in the Michigan House and Senate that would require certain criteria be met prior to a physician recommending an emotional support animal for a patient. With a shortage of behavioral health professionals in the state, MAFP members have shared they are receiving an increase in the number of patient requests for the recommendations of an emotional support animal. MAFP opposes these bills as written, because of the potential burdens they could place on family physicians.
Please contact your state lawmakers to urge them to support Senate Bill 612, a new bill recently introduced in the Michigan Senate that calls for adding transparency, fairness, and clinical validity requirements to the prior authorization and step therapy process. The goal is to ensure patients receive timely coverage decisions and the care, treatment, and medications they need, when they need them, as determined medically-necessary by their physician.
Health Can't Wait Action Day in downtown Lansing on October 30 provided a forum for patients, physicians, and other healthcare professionals to share real-life examples of how the current inefficient prior authorization process is adversely impacting health outcomes, and to advocate for reform. According to a 2018 American Medical Association survey, 91% of physician respondents reported care delays associated with prior authorization, 75% said it can lead to treatment abandonment, and 28% acknowledged that prior authorization has led to serious adverse event for a patient in their care.
More than 100 medical students from 21 different medical schools convened on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 19 to explore their future in family medicine at the sixth annual Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference. Coined a "must-attend event for any student considering family medicine," the conference shone the spotlight on what it's like to be a family physician, through question-and-answer panel discussions, hands-on workshops, and a residency program fair.
Finding solutions to mitigate the surprise medical billing issue is on the radar of legislators at both the state and federal level. This week, the Michigan House Health Policy Committee held a hearing on a package of bills that call for mandating out-of-network providers to notify patients of services at least 14 days prior to a procedure or during surgical consultation. Out-of-network providers would also be required to accept the average negotiated rate between the health plan and the provider, or up to 150% of Medicare rates. The legislation is opposed by most healthcare professional groups, who agree patients must be protected but contend the bills are built on an unsustainable payment model, increase the potential for out-of-network services, and apply to a too-broad scope of specialties.
As the 2019-2020 flu season gets underway, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release coverage estimates from last year. Among the highlights: nationally, more adults and children were immunized against the flu in 2018-2019 than in 2017-2018. That was not the case in Michigan, however, where just over half of adults and less than half of children received the influenza vaccine last year.
On October 9, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule that seeks to add new, permanent exceptions to the Stark Law for physicians participating in value-based care models. Enacted in 1989, the Stark Law prohibits physicians from making referrals for certain services reimbursable by Medicare if he/she or an immediate family member has a financial relationship with the entity performing the referred service.
The Health Can’t Wait coalition, spearheaded by Michigan State Medical Society and of which MAFP is a founding member, has been working hard during 2019 to educate state lawmakers about how the current prior authorization process puts patients’ health at risk. Your voice and the voices of patients are needed to amplify the Health Can't Wait message. The coalition is calling on physicians to take three actions to help change the prior authorization requirements to protect the health and well-being of your patients.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget on September 29—in time to prevent a government shutdown—vetoing an unprecedented number of 147 line items totaling $947 million in spending cuts. On the chopping block is MIDOCS—a new loan repayment program, entering its second year, that places medical residents in primary care specialties in underserved areas of the state. Governor Whitmer initially proposed reducing MIDOCS funding from its FY 2019 level of $3.5 million to $1.3 million in FY 2020, due to a lower than anticipated inaugural cohort, while the legislative conference committee recommended increasing funding to $3.75 million. It is yet to be seen how MIDOCS will fare through the supplemental budget negotiations underway between the Governor and legislative leaders.
During the two and one-half days of AAFP’s 2019 Congress of Delegates (COD) convention in Philadelphia, MAFP Delegates David Walsworth, MD, FAAFP (East Lansing) and Robert Jackson, MD, MMM, FAAFP (Allen Park) and Alternate Delegates Tina Tanner, MD, FAAFP (Montague) and Loretta Leja, MD (Cheboygan) took active roles in helping shape AAFP policy. Also in attendance from Michigan were Harshini Jayasuriya, MD, FAAFP (Holt), who served as the Minority Constituency Delegate, as well as members of the MAFP leadership and staff, and other MAFP members speaking on their own behalf. MAFP was successful in receiving support for seven proposed resolutions.