More than 300 attend annual Day on the Hill

More than 300 physicians and healthcare advocates gathered for TMA’s annual Day on the Hill on Tuesday in support of better state healthcare policy. Day on the Hill gives physicians a chance to share their expertise with lawmakers who make important public policy decisions affecting the delivery of healthcare in Tennessee.

TMA members lobbied throughout the day at the Cordell Hull Building and attended an evening legislative reception at the nearby DoubleTree Hotel.

Top issues for 2018 include:

OPIOIDS

While this was not a part of TMA’s legislative package for 2018, it has remained a priority item as Tennessee’s number one public health issue. Physicians are actively engaged in advocating for important amendments to Gov. Haslam’s “TN Together” legislation to protect patients and avoid unnecessary or unreasonable restrictions on doctors and other healthcare providers.

  • EPISODES OF CARE

TMA has met repeatedly with state officials to communicate doctors’ ongoing frustrations with the TennCare episodes of care payment model, but the state has yet to improve data transparency, accuracy and consistency. TMA is asking the legislature to intervene and force TennCare to stop rolling out episodes until they fix the fundamental issues.

  • BALANCE BILLING

TMA is fighting to protect physicians’ rights to get paid when they see out-of-network patients in a hospital setting and ensure that the proliferation of health plan “narrow” networks do not lead to inadequate hospital-based physician networks. The association is negotiating with hospitals and insurance companies to find a reasonable solution for doctors and patients when it comes to “surprise” medical bills.

  • INDOOR UV TANNING

TMA led a coalition of healthcare organizations that was successful in advocating for strict prohibition for anyone under 16 to use indoor UV radiating tanning devices, and strengthening parental consent requirements for ages 16 to 17. The legislature passed a bill earlier this week that will reduce the risk of children getting preventable skin cancer from using the devices

  • MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION

In 2017, TMA passed a bill that prohibited MOC as a requirement for medical licensure in Tennessee. This year, the association is responding to doctors’ plea for relief from the costly and burdensome MOC requirements by prohibiting hospitals and health insurance companies from requiring MOC for physician credentialing or network participation.

  • ADVANCED ACADEMIC DEGREES FOR PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS

TMA was opposed to a bill introduced in 2017 that would have created a new academic degree to effectively give physician assistants independent practice. Bill sponsors filed a new version in January that does not give PAs independent practice but requires collaboration in a physician-led, team-based care model, and have recently amended the name from “Doctor of Medical Science” to “Essential Access Provider,” prompting TMA to change its position to neutral.