At MAFP, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes with members who spend their time and energy to advance the mission and vision of the Academy. One group working behind-the-scenes is the Advocacy Committee, which meets approximately four times per year to discuss the legislative and policy priorities of Family Physicians across the state.
October 15, the newly-selected members of the 2014-15 MAFP Advocacy Committee—chaired by Loretta Leja, MD (Cheboygan)—convened at MAFP Headquarters for their first meeting. Among many topics on the agenda for discussion were looking ahead to 2015; setting strategic advocacy priorities for the Academy [see below]; planning for the 2015 Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day; and development of a new grassroots network to help get more members involved and stay involved.
The MAFP Board of Directors met January 21 and approved the committee recommendations. The advocacy priorities for 2015 are explained below.
The MAFP Advocacy Committee is made up of 12 MAFP members who reflect the diversity of geographic areas, practice settings, and interests across Michigan. If you would like to learn more about the committee, or would like to volunteer for one of the committee seats for the 2015-2016 cycle, please visit mafp.com/about-us/mafp-committees.
Advocacy Priorities for 2015
(as set forth by the Advocacy Committee and approved by the MAFP Board)
Health Care Access for All
Providing health care coverage to all Michigan citizens through a primary care-based system.
- Health care coverage for all Michigan citizens with guaranteed access to a family physician who can provide comprehensive, compassionate and continuous care.
- Successful implementation of the Healthy Michigan plan, which, among other things, expands access to Medicaid for adults in Michigan with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Maintaining the Medicaid primary care providers payment uplift and making it permanent.
- Mental health parity and reforms to the delivery of mental health in Michigan, specifically, the incorporation of reimbursement mechanisms that recognize the important role of the Family Physician in the treatment of mental illness as well as the significant issues of comorbidity that require non-psychiatric care.
The Patient Care Team Model
The U.S. is moving to a new primary care model built around patients and delivered by teams.
- Advancing the model of the physician-led, patient care team, which ensures patients receive quality, affordable care from the appropriate health care professional at the proper time.
- Ensuring all health care providers in the team practice at the full extent of their education and training.
- Scope of practice laws that appropriately reflect the differences in education and training between physicians and allied health professionals, and prioritize the safety and satisfaction of the patients.
Investment in the Primary Care Workforce
Michigan faces a current and impending shortage of physicians – particularly primary care physicians – to meet the health care needs of our population.
- Reducing the income disparity between primary care physicians and subspecialists, which serves as deterrent for medical students seeking a career in primary care.
- Policies and incentives that help alleviate medical student loan debt, making Family Medicine more attractive to aspiring physicians.
- State and federal funding for the Michigan Primary Care Loan Repayment Program.
- Reforms that encourage a high participation rate in the loan repayment program and maximize resources in the geographic areas of most need.
- Sustaining state and federal funding for Graduate Medical Education.
- Reforms that place higher priority on funding for primary care training in community-based settings.
Delivery System Reform
Family Physicians are the main source of primary care for the Medicare and Medicaid populations.
- Expanding adoption of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and other innovative payment and delivery models that will help lower costs, improve quality and expand access to care over the long-term by all payers.
- Medicaid reimbursement levels that reflect the true cost of sustaining a medical practice with a high Medicaid patient population.
- Repealing the flawed sustainable growth rate formula to help alleviate the economic uncertainty physicians face, and replacing it with a long-term, stable funding formula that places higher value on the comprehensive services provided by primary care physicians.
Public Health and Safety
The Family Physician’s role in the community transcends the doctor’s office.
- Efforts that lead to reduced tobacco use in Michigan, which includes support for FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, sale, labeling, distribution and marketing of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
- Sensible gun control legislation, including safe storage policies, and opposition to any efforts to allow concealed weapons to be carried into self-designated ‘gun free’ zones, including hospitals and healthcare facilities.
- Patients’ rights to choose the form and mechanism of the medical care rendered to them when it comes to end-of-life care.