Latest Update from MASA
General Policies Supported by the Medical Association
The Medical Association supports the physician-led health team model and maintaining the highest standards for medical care delivery across all specialties of medicine. The Association supports physician autonomy in patient care and medical practice decisions as well as fair reimbursement for services. The Association supports reducing the administrative tasks required of physicians by insurers which increase annual health spending and negatively impact patient health. Specifically, the Association supports reforming prior authorization processes and step therapy protocols and ending non-medical switching and co-pay accumulator programs. As well, the Association supports increasing health insurance options for Alabamians, including expanding Medicaid. The Association supports increasing access to quality mental health care and continued state funding for the Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Infant Mortality Review Committee. Recognizing the long-term effects of social determinants of health on individuals, families and ultimately communities, the Association supports comprehensive solutions to addressing these challenges. Finally, by ensuring medical liability environment stability and pursuing further civil justice reforms, the Association believes Alabama can continue to attract highly-qualified physicians.
For the 2021 Legislative Session, the Medical Association specifically supports:
• Legislation to provide physicians and medical practices “safe harbor” from COVID-19 related lawsuits
• Legislation prohibiting deceptive health care advertising and requiring all health care professionals to clearly identify their type of license to patients
• Reforming the “certificate of need” process to increase physician ownership of equipment and facilities and expand access to quality, affordable care
• Recommendations of the Rural Health Taskforce, including increased funding for the Board of Medical Scholarship Awards and broadening the rural physician tax credit
• Requirements for vaccine registry review prior to administration and uploading patient vaccine information into the database
• Continued physician compounding, dispensing of drugs
• The same standards and reimbursements for telehealth as for face-to-face visits and expanding broadband initiatives to facilitate increased use of telemedicine
General Policies Opposed by the Medical Association
The Medical Association opposes any scope of practice expansion for non-physicians which could fracture the physician-led health team model and lower quality of care for or increase the cost of care for patients. As well, the Association opposes any interference with the physician-patient relationship and any attempts to reduce physician autonomy in patient care or medical practice decisions. The Association opposes legislation or other initiatives that could increase lawsuit opportunities against physicians, including the establishment of statutory standards of care or any statutory dictums for medical care delivery. The Association opposes tax increases disproportionately affecting physicians and any state-level increase of requirements for Maintenance of Certification.
For the 2021 Legislative Session, the Medical Association specifically opposes:
• Expanding Prescription Drug Monitoring Program access for law enforcement
• Statutory requirements for mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Program checks
• Changes to workers’ compensation laws negatively affecting treatment of injured workers and medical practices
SB165 by Senator Whatley
This bill would create the Alabama Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Patient Safety Act. This bill would provide for the standardized education and demonstration of competency by medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals under the jurisdiction of a licensing board.
This bill would establish the Alabama Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Board to provide for the regulation and licensure of limited X-ray machine operators, magnetic resonance technologists, nuclear medicine technologists, radiation therapists, radiographers, and radiologist assistants.
This bill would authorize the board to discipline licensees and individuals practicing without a license.
Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose.
The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment.