Connecticut State Medical Society
2017 Legislative Agenda

In 2017, the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) will continue to advocate for its physician and physician in training members, and the patients they serve. The continued need will exist for involvement in a wide range of issues potentially impacting our members, physician practices, patients, the healthcare system, public health, and the future of medicine. We will promote efforts to strengthen the healthcare system, protect the interests of physicians and the patients they serve and ensure access, value, and the availability and delivery of the highest quality of care to Connecticut patients.

Physician Workforce Issues

Connecticut continues to struggle to attract and retain physicians.   Many factors can be identified that lead to this difficulty.  However, we must continue to reduce such barriers and call on the General Assembly to work with CSMS to identify and address them.

Proactive Public Health Initiatives

CSMS and its members have been leaders on many initiatives to protect and promote the public health of Connecticut residents. CSMS believes that it represents two groups of people: physician members and patients. Therefore, an important aspect of our agenda will continue to focus on the quality of the health of every person in our state. These will include:

  • Working with colleagues to define the term “surgery” in state statute. Such a definition will provide clarity for health care professionals and, more importantly, for patients.
  • Continue to work with legislators, policy makers, the administration and all stake holders to address issues of addiction and pharmaceutical abuse.
  • Work to address and alleviate issues of access to necessary prescriptions. Transparency must exist and discussions must be held at the state level about the recent crisis of increases in drug costs. This poses a significant risk to overall health when patients forgo needed medications leading to non-adherence.

Professional Liability Insurance and Reform

The liability system in Connecticut can also be considered a physician workforce issue. As such, it can impact access to and the value of services. CSMS intends to again be a coalition leader in continued, focused and proactive efforts to push for the development and implementation of comprehensive medical liability reforms. CSMS will seek support for the general assembly to pass legislation directly a complete review of all issues related to the tort system and medical liability insurance. This must include discussion on the efficacy of the tort system and an investigation in to alternatives to the current system such as health courts. The goal of such reforms should be to develop recommended changes to an adversarial, cumbersome, inefficient and expensive system.

Contracting, Transparency and Fairness of Coverage

Significant changes to statutes regarding the healthcare system have been made over the past few years.  However, drastic changes, including further consolidation of the health insurance market and a dramatic shift in physician practice models continues to put significant pressure on physicians and their ability to determine where, when and how they can practice. CSMS will continue to place a high level of urgency on the need to not only identify existing issues of contracting, transparency and physician independence, but also on fairness of coverage as well as surprise coverage or lack thereof for patients. CSMS legislative efforts to strengthen the position of physicians within the marketplace will continue, allowing them to better serve their patients and community. Items for which to be advocated will include eliminating discrepancies in statutes governing payment for out of network services provided by physicians. The need also exists to require insurers and other payers to bear the financial risk of bad debt associated with high deductible plans. The practice of physicians serving as collection agencies for these entities must cease. CSMS will continue fight to enact state exemptions from federal laws to allow physicians to negotiate as a group to strengthen their contracting abilities. Benefits would include the ability to seek opportunities to implement electronic medical record systems, establish ACOs, and cover increased liability insurance costs and support recruitment of new physicians.

For questions, please contact Ken Ferrucci, CSMS SVP for Government Affairs (kferrucci@csms.org / 203-865-0587 x106)

 

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