2021 Legislative Priorities
1. Workforce initiatives.
The Academy will continue to explore ways to increase quality physician access to patients in Iowa through workforce programs like the Primary Care Rural Loan Repayment Program drafted by the IAFP in 2014. Fully funding, and in some cases increasing the funding, for these programs is critical to maintain a physician centered primary care workforce in Iowa. As such, IAFP supports:
- Increased funding for the Rural Primary Care Loan Repayment Program,
- Increased state funding for the Medical Residency Programs
- Continued funding for psychiatric training at Des Moines University.
- Establishment of an Iowa National Guard Loan Repayment Program.
- Increased funding for medical residency programs that focus on mental health, OB/GYN and primary care.
In 2015 the IAFP was instrumental in creating payment parity for Medicaid patients beingtreated in person or through telehealth technology. The IAFP will advocate for private pay parity. In 2018 legislation was passed requiring commercial payors to provide parity forcoverage, meaning the use of telehealth care is covered by healthcare insurance. IAFPwill look to expand telehealth further to increase access to physicians for rural or underserved Iowans.
3. Medical Liability Reform
In Iowa, noneconomic damage awards from juries has skyrocketed. More than $63M has been awarded in noneconomic damages in just five cases. Noneconomic damages are defined as intangible harms like “severe pain, physician and emotional distress, loss of enjoyment”, etc. IAFP supports closing loopholes in the state’s cap on noneconomic damages. Closing these loopholes will ensure that “outlier” verdicts don’t become the norm in Iowa.
Capping noneconomic damages will reduce skyrocketing insurance premiums and benefitrecruitment of physicians.
4. Scope of practice protection.
IAFP is opposed to legislation that would erode physician’s ability to practice within their full scope and put Iowa patients in harms way. To this end, IAFP is aware of the following perennial legislative initiatives:
- Pharmacy Statewide protocols. IAFP will monitor the legislation put forth to ensure patients care and the physician-patient relationship is not compromised. Pharmacists will continue to pursue legislation next year.
- Direct entry midwives. The IAFP opposes direct entry midwives due to their lack of educational and medical training, and the impact this gap in education has on caring for their patients.
- Naturopathic physicians. The IAFP opposes the licensure and recognition of naturopathic physicians because of the manner in which this group practices (i.e. do not follow evidence based practices).
5. Medicaid Managed Care
IAFP members continue to believe that value over volume is the answer to truly keeping patients well and bettering their health. With this in mind, IAFP supports Medicaid payment reform that pays physicians based on value rather than traditional fee-for-service payment methodology. IAFP will work to ensure there is proper oversight on the managed care companies overseeing the Medicaid program.
6. Access to Care and Public Health.
IAFP supports initiatives that promotes access to care in Iowa. As primary care physicians we understand the importance of access to care in both urban and rural settings. Additionally, IAFP supports public health initiatives like smoking cessation programs, obesity programs, etc.
7. COVID Priority Language
The deadly COVID-19 pandemic has caused national economic disruption and generated significant uncertainty for many Iowans. The IAFP, along with other primary care organizations, is working with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the CDC monitoring guidance and findings as they become available. To promote public health and economic recovery, government decisions must be based on evidence- not politics or individual interest.
COVID Vaccination. The development of safe, effective vaccines and treatments are essential to protect the public's health and restore the nation's economy. The IAFP calls for a transparent review and approval process that adheres to scientifically rigorous standards to ensure safety and effectiveness of the vaccine(s). It is critical all Iowans receive the flu vaccine this season to stay as healthy as possible and not transmit influenza creating an even worse public health situation on the ground.
Testing- Routine, rapid, accurate and easy to access COVID-19 testing- followed by timely and efficient contact tracing is needed to help prevent further spread.
Family docs are on the front line fighting this pandemic and look to state and national policy makers to listen to science, ease the suffering of the economy and protect the health and well-being of Iowans.
Weekly Legislative Updates
We are pleased to bring you updates of the Iowa Legislature and report on issues that are important to family physicians put together by IAFP lobbyists, David Adelman and Sara Allen.