Administrative burdens and uncertainty about the move to value-based care are two of the biggest pain points for today’s physicians, report DOs serving on the AOA’s public policy bureaus, who recently set the AOA’s federal policy priorities for 2019. The new priorities reflect a strong desire to address these top-of-mind concerns.
Set by DOs serving on the AOA Bureau on Federal Health Programs in consultation with the Bureau of Socioeconomic Affairs, the priorities also center on increasing residency opportunities, student loan debt reduction and protecting patients’ access to affordable, high-quality physician-led care.
“Our efforts are focused on supporting policies that help current and future DOs care for patients and address their professional needs, like working to reduce the administrative burden that many feel contributes to burnout and helping students pay back their loans,” explained David Pugach, AOA senior vice president of public policy.
Below is a summary of the AOA’s federal priorities for 2019. DOs play a vital role in communicating these concerns to policymakers. Next month, March 4-5, DOs and medical students will come together in Washington, DC, to meet with their representatives and advocate for the profession on DO Day on Capitol Hill. Register today—registration closes at midnight on Friday, Feb. 8.
AOA federal policy priorities
- Support regulatory changes to reduce administrative burdens that detract from patient care and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
- Support regulatory improvements that provide greater flexibility in service delivery.
- Ensure that the transition from a volume-based to value-based health care system will result in adequate reimbursement, particularly for physicians in small and independent practices.
Strengthening the physician workforce
- Enact a multi-year reauthorization of the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program to support training for primary care physicians in rural and underserved communities.
- Support legislation that increases the physician workforce with additional graduate medical education funding and expanded student loan repayment programs.
- Educate Congress on the importance of funding a physician-led health workforce.
- Support funding for public health and physician workforce programs that promote a strong physician workforce, support preventive services and research to develop new and better ways to prevent and treat disease.
- Support funding for the National Institutes of Health and other agencies that will facilitate greater support for DO researchers and help build research capacity and infrastructure at osteopathic institutions.
- Support funding for public health research to study firearm-related morbidity and mortality prevention.
- Support sufficient federal funding to cover current Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
- Ensure potential changes in federal policy and funding for these programs do not erode benefits, eligibility or coverage compared to current law.
Access and affordability
- Preserve essential benefits coverage and ensure that currently insured individuals don’t unwillingly lose health insurance coverage as a result of any action or inaction by policymakers.
- Promote network adequacy to ensure patients have access to covered services, including specialty and subspecialty services, and support policies that prevent surprise billing for portions of services that are out of network.