2020 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.
2. 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.
3. 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).
- Psychologist prescribing. The IAFP will closely monitor Rules being developed jointly by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Psychology allowing certain psychologist the ability to proscribe psychotropic drugs
- Optometry procedures. The IAFP will work with the Ophthalmologists at the Capitol to push back on any efforts to allow an optometrist to perform surgical procedures as part of the professions practice.
In 2015 the IAFP was instrumental in creating payment parity for Medicaid patients being treated 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 for coverage, meaning the use of telehealth care is covered by healthcare insurance. IAFP will look to expand telehealth further to increase access to physicians for rural or underserved Iowans.
5. Behavioral Health.
IAFP is aware and recognizes the mental health crisis that exists in Iowa and welcomed the work done in 2018 and 2019. As providers, we see every day the need for more behavioral health providers and more points of access for inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care. IAFP supports any piece of legislation that helps increase the number of behavioral health providers, as well as increases access for behavioral health services across the state.
6. 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.
7. 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.