State Legislative Advocacy for Family Medicine
The PAFP advocates on state government matters of importance on behalf of its members and the patients they serve. For information and updates, please join our Governmental & Practice Advocacy Committee group on PAFP Connect, or advocate online on specific topics via SpeakOut (below).
PAFP monitoring state policy in response to coronavirus
The PAFP understands that family physicians are on the front lines of this growing public health emergency. We are monitoring state policy being enacted in response to COVID-19 and will continue to advocate for policies that are in the best interest of our members and their patients. PAFP President Tracey Conti, MD, along with our primary care physician counterparts, sent a letter calling on the Governor and Cabinet officials to mandate reimbursement for telehealth services by commercial insurers, following suit with updates adopted by the state Medicaid managed care and federal Medicare programs. Additionally, the PAFP has advocated for the allocation of life-saving PPE supplies to family medicine physicians to ensure that our members can continue treating their patients safely and effectively. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more information on how the PAFP is working to help our members safely navigate this uncertain and challenging time.
The PAFP Family Medicine Recovery Plan
Pennsylvania’s family physicians have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and have faced many unexpected challenges as a result. In order to address some of the difficulties that have arisen from this crisis, and those that have been impacting family physicians for years, the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) has developed a recovery plan for family medicine. Our plan focuses on immediate and long-term actions that can and should be taken to ensure the sustainability of the practice of family medicine as well as the health care of all Pennsylvanians. Click here to view the PAFP Family Medicine Recovery Plan.
ACTION ALERT alert!
Tell the legislature to enact immunity protections
As providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania’s family physicians routinely risk their own health, and the health and safety of their families, to ensure that patients are receiving the care they need during this unprecedented time. On top of this, providers are coping with the fear of civil and criminal liability as they navigate these very challenging medical situations. Tell the Pennsylvania General Assembly to follow in the footsteps of our neighboring states and act now to grant immunity from medical liability for care rendered during the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. This will allow family physicians and other health care professionals the ability to provide critically needed care without the looming threat of civil and criminal lawsuits.
Ensure family physicians have financial support in responding to COVID-19
The American Academy of Family Physicians is calling on United States House and Senate leadership to increase their support of family physicians, specifically for audio-only telehealth coverage and payments, dedicated financial support for practices to cover increased costs, and immediate steps to ensure needed PPE. Please consider taking a moment to support this effort and contact your federal representative and senators by clicking here.
Governmental & Practice Advocacy Committee
This committee guides our policy positions on health care legislation and regulations. For PAFP members interested in joining please visit our PAFP Leadership page.
The PAFP uses SpeakOut, an advocacy tool developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, to distribute Advocacy Alerts to members as needed. Click here for more information on how this advocacy tool works. Watch this page for future SpeakOut campaigns.
One of the ways primary care professionals can effect change is to personally engage those individuals who write and pass legislation on the state level. Physicians and medical students are well-respected members of the community and having their voices heard makes a difference. The PAFP has put together a brief primer to help you get involved.
PAFP 2019-20 State Legislative Agenda (Updated June 22, 2020)
Prior Authorization Reform
Prior authorizations have become significantly burdensome to family physicians, and more importantly, result in delays and jeopardized quality care to patients. The PAFP supports reforms that would maximize electronic communications for authorizations as well as adverse determinations, and define consistent response times for authorizations, rejections, appeals, and external utilization review. Rep. Steve Mentzer has introduced House Bill 1194, which has strong bipartisan support. The legislation has been referred to the House Insurance Committee. Similar legislation, Senate Bill 920, has been introduced by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill and awaits consideration in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
Nurse Practitioner Independence
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are integral, valuable members of the health care team, held in the highest regard by family physicians. However, patients are best served when a physician-led, highly coordinated health care team provides care. The PAFP opposes legislation that would expand their scope of practice and eliminate collaborative agreements. The Senate passed Sen. Camera Bartolotta’s Senate Bill 25 on June 12, 2019. Rep. Jesse Topper has introduced House Bill 100. Both bills await consideration in the House Professional Licensure Committee.
Medical Student Choice in Primary Care
Building on the important findings that resulted from a 2015 study on physician shortages in Pennsylvania, the PAFP drafted and Rep. Paul Schemel has introduced House Resolution 625, which would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the efforts of medical schools to promote primary care among their students and include primary care experiences as part of the curriculum in order to expand the primary care workforce and support the family physician pipeline. The resolution awaits consideration in the House Health Committee.
Health in All Policies
Health in All Policies (HiAP) is a collaborative approach that integrates health considerations into policymaking across state government to improve the health of all communities and people. The PAFP sent an open letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman urging the adoption of a HiAP strategy through executive order in order to help address social determinants of health and health disparities, and assist the Commonwealth in developing the most effective and achievable means for improving the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians.
Health Insurer Credentialing Reform
Delays in credentialing of new physicians or existing physicians changing practices create undo hardships most notably on the communities they serve. The PAFP supports legislation that would standardize the credentialing form and set processing standards. Rep. Owlett has introduced House Bill 533 seeking to codify significant reforms. The bill has passed the House and awaits consideration in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
Buprenorphine Medically Assisted Treatment Act
Access to care for patients suffering from substance abuse disorder is critical, and state regulation could significantly jeopardize access to office based opioid treatment (OBOT). The PAFP opposes legislation that would require prescribers of Buprenorphine to be licensed by the state and pay a state licensing fee. Sen. Michele Brooks introduced Senate Bill 675 which passed the Senate on June 17, 2019. The bill is in the House Human Services
Committee and the PAFP is working with the Committee and stakeholders in trying
to find a compromise.
Expanding Pharmacy Vaccinations to Minors
The PAFP opposes legislation that would amend the Pharmacy Practice Act and allow pharmacists to administer all CDC recommended vaccinations to patients 9 years of age and older. As part of a compromise several years ago, pharmacist obtained the ability to provide influenza vaccine to those 9 and older. Sen. Judy Ward has introduced Senate Bill 274 that rests in the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, while Rep. Seth Grove has introduced House Bill 91 that rests in the House Health Committee.
International Medical Graduate Requirements
International medical graduates play a vital role in our country’s health care delivery system and are held to the same educational standards as those who matriculate from medical schools in the United States and Canada. The PAFP supports House Bill 1947, introduced by Rep. Aaron Kaufer, which would bring licensing requirements for international medical graduates in line with those for U.S. and Canadian medical graduates in order to help increase the number of licensed physicians available to treat patients in the Commonwealth. The bill passed the House unanimously on June 9, 2020 and has been referred to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.
Direct Primary Care Authorizing Legislation
DPC is a model of care outside the bounds of health
insurance and an emerging option for patients and physicians. The PAFP supports legislation that specifies
direct primary care agreements are not insurance and therefore not subject to
insurance laws or regulations. Sen.
Browne is circulating SCO 877 seeking cosponsors for the impending bill.
In this age of health system
consolidations, PAFP supports legislation limiting restrictive covenants in
health care practitioner employment agreements. Rep. Tony Deluca has introduced House Bill 601 that rests in the House Health Committee.
Working with the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the PAFP supports updating and revising Pennsylvania law to include codification of Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) to be used by medical professionals across all health care settings for patients who voluntarily wish to execute a POLST order. Sen. Gene Yaw has introduced SB 142 that has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers
The PAFP supports legislation that
requires employers to provide employees time to express breast milk in a
sanitary environment for her nursing child. Rep. Mary Jo Daley has introduced House Bill 1177 that rests in the House Labor and Industry Committee.
Frivolous Complaints to the State Board of Medicine
When complaints against physicians to the Pa. Department of State are found to be frivolous or lack merit by the Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (BEI), physicians must continue to disclose them when asked if their license has ever been subject to an investigation or complaint. Because the details of BEI investigations are confidential, physicians are unable to explain the nature of the complaint. The PAFP supports legislation that would remove the requirement that physicians acknowledge a complaint if the case was closed without any formal action by BEI or the Board of Medicine. Rep. Curt Sonney has introduced HB 1743, which is awaiting consideration in the House Professional Licensure Committee.
> Download PDF - PAFP 2019-20 State Legislative Agenda
PAFP’s State Legislative Agenda is crafted through the Government and Practice Advocacy Committee with position decisions made by the Board of Directors.
Questions/Comments? Please contact Jennifer Reis, Chief Government Affairs Officer at email@example.com.