Doctor Day 2021 is just weeks away and there are two issues that seem to be emerging as hot topics, but other topics are on the menu for discussion with your legislator visits as well.
Two significant topics that can be part of Doctor Day advocacy include Telehealth and strengthening our state’s Medicaid program through more reasonable physician reimbursement.
As we continue to explore lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, one health care practice that stands out is the increased use of telehealth technology. Already on the increase before the pandemic, patients and physicians both embraced the opportunity to hold meaningful interactions virtually. While these kinds of encounters are not necessarily a substitute for important face-to-face appointments, some of the flexibilities established to allow for greater telehealth use during COVID-19 should be made permanent, and Doctor Day will provide the opportunity to share real examples of how properly-reimbursed telehealth opportunities can be another important tool for our health care system.
Doctor Day is also well-timed to coincide with the state legislature’s deliberations over the next biennial budget. A major issue is funding our state’s Medicaid program, allowing our poorest and sickest citizens to access high quality health care. Physician reimbursement for services provided to Medicaid patients often does not cover the basic costs of providing that care, which means private insurance costs are artificially higher due to government under-reimbursement – and especially so for primary care and emergency care physicians. Doctor Day gives physicians an opportunity to ask policymakers to prioritize proper funding for our Medicaid program, including exploring how to access additional federal Medicaid funding via the incentives recently provided in the American Rescue Plan Act.
No matter which topics are part of the Doctor Day discussions, the event allows for important relationship-building with your elected officials, which is critical to help educate lawmakers on health care policy that matters to physicians and patients. Your interaction with legislators and their staffs can be powerful and help guide better policy throughout the legislative session.
Visit widoctorday.org to register or learn more about the day. It’s a day of advocating for your profession that you don’t want to miss!
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