Advocacy

Through our partnership with CMA, MMCMS has fought for issues crucial to the practice of medicine including:

Ensuring ACCESS to quality medical care

At the heart of MMCMS/CMA advocacy are our efforts to ensure patients have access to doctors, which takes many forms including:

  • Championing universal health care coverage;
  • Advocating for adequate, accurate and transparent provider networks;
  • Stopping insurers from canceling coverage for patients after they become seriously ill;
  • Defending our injunction against Medi-Cal provider cuts;
  • Streamlining and improving the physician licensing process at the Medical Board of California and filing a lawsuit to exempt the Medical Board from any state furloughs to avoid additional licensing backlogs;
  • Partnering with AARP to aggressively advocate against Medicare cuts that harm seniors’ access to doctors; and
  • Defending the constitutionality of the Medical Injury and Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) in court.

STRENGTHENING public health

Advancing public health remains a core objective of the organized medicine.  MMCMS/CMA have:

  • Lead the fight against smoking and tobacco use;
  • Championed the creation of a separate Department of Public Health;
  • Encouraged routine HIV screening in health care settings by streamlining the consent process;
  • Supported legislation to ensure that children are fully immunized against devastating but preventable diseases, such as pertussis;
  • Promoted childhood obesity prevention strategies, such as restaurant menu labeling, banning soda in school, supporting safe routes for children to walk and bike to school and maintaining rigorous P.E. standards in school;
  • Supported strict limits on diesel emissions to help prevent disease caused by poor air quality; and
  • Joined manufacturers and state and local public health officials to advocate for timely and equitable distribution of seasonal influenza vaccine, so doctors have an adequate supply on hand to meet the needs of their patients.

PROMOTING health education and advancing careers in health

MMCMS/CMA have been active on a number of fronts to address the challenges of physician supply and maldistribution, including:

  • Creating the Steve Thompson Loan Repayment Program that provides grants to pay off medical school loans for doctors working in underserved areas.  Each participating physician receives up to $105,000 in exchange for a three-year service commitment in a medically underserved area of the state;
  • Supporting new medical schools, UC Merced and UC Riverside, and pushing an expedited timeline to build them;
  • Supporting efforts to increase the diversity of the physician workforce through CMA’s Ethnic Medical Organization Section; and
  • Promoting increased incentives for pursuing primary care and supporting primary care physicians to keep their practices viable.

PROTECTING the physician patient relationship

Physicians view the doctor-patient relationship as sacrosanct, the very foundation of healthcare.  MMCMS/CMA passionately fight to protect this precious doctrine on multiple fronts.

  • MMCMS/CMA fiercely defend California’s bar on the corporate practice of medicine, which prevents corporate interests from unduly influencing physicians’ professional judgments in the name of profit and to the detriment of patients.
  • MMCMS/CMA have challenged Blue Shield’s Blue Ribbon recognition program that aims to identify doctors who meet certain care standards, but the data the health plan uses has inherent flaws and ratings are inaccurate and unreliable.
  • MMCMS/CMA also lead efforts in multiple arenas to leave the determination of what is medically necessary treatment where it belongs—in the hands of doctors.

Working to PROTECT patients

CMA has worked for over 150 years to advance medicine and improve patient care.  Central to this mission is an unflinching dedication to delivering the highest quality care and by demanding rigorous training and education standards for health care professionals.

  • Some health care providers are seeking to expand their scope of practice—to treat patients for medical conditions that were not part of their training.  Simply expanding the scope of practice of practitioners, without expanded training or education, can mean lowering the standard of care for patients.  MMCMS/CMA fight against scope of practice expansions in the state legislature every year.
  • MMCMS/CMA have worked in recent years to bolster the peer review system.  Peer reviews are intended to identify incompetent or unprofessional physicians early and terminate, suspend or limit their practice, if necessary.  The chief objective is to protect patient safety and ensure the highest quality medical care.

Preserving economic STABILITY

MMCMS/CMA staff work to ensure physician economic stability in several critical ways:

  • Preventing onerous provisions from getting into physician contracts;
  • Providing physicians the tools to assess whether to sign contracts in the first place; and
  • Helping physicians overcome barriers to receiving prompt and fair reimbursement.

MMCMS/CMA have long advocated for comprehensive health insurance market reform, to rein in profit-driven health plans that inappropriately delay or deny care, including:

  • Advocating for fair and timely payment of provider claims by alerting legislative and regulatory bodies about HMO payment abuses;
  • Ensuring that a reasonable portion of every health care premium dollar goes to direct patient care, and not to health plan profits or wasteful administrative expenses.  Congress included a minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirement in federal health care reform at CMA’s urging and;
  • Battling for years to prohibit health plans from unfairly rescinding health coverage after costly claims arise.  This provision was eventually included in the landmark federal health care reform law.

ADVANCING new technologies

Under the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, or the “Stimulus Act”), physicians are eligible for incentives for making the transition to electronic health records (EHRs).  MMCMS/CMA have been at the vanguard in helping California physicians to understand this opportunity and to retool their practices to access these federal funds.  Some of the services provided through membership include:

  • Education about Federal rules & Regulation
  • Discounts on vetted and approved EHR systems; and
  • Webinars and educational seminars for physicians.