The AOA recently partnered with the Tennessee Osteopathic Medical Association (TOMA) and the Michigan Osteopathic Association (MOA) on grassroots campaigns to protect physicians from civil liability during the COVID-19 pandemic and end surprise billing, respectively.
Civil liability protection in Tennessee
Tennessee’s state legislature considered a bill that would protect businesses and health care providers by providing broad COVID-19 civil liability protections. Thanks in part to the Tennessee osteopathic physicians who wrote their legislators, the legislation passed the state Senate; however, the bill failed to pass the House.
Though the bill failed, Tennessee’s governor recently signed an executive order which provides civil liability protections for physicians and other healthcare providers during the pandemic—in part because of advocacy by DOs.
Surprise billing in Michigan
In Michigan, the state legislature is considering a bill that ends the practice of surprise billing. The bill attempts to shield patients from these billing disputes but leaves physicians without an appeals process. As currently proposed, it would still not be fair to all parties.
The AOA and MOA are asking members to write their state lawmakers to ask them to oppose the bill and pass surprise billing legislation that in addition to protecting patients, includes the following recommendations:
- Incorporate actual billed charges, as determined through an independent claims database, when calculating out-of-network payments to physicians.
- Establish an appeals process when disputes arise between physicians and insurers.
- Strengthen health insurance network adequacy standards.
The AOA’s and MOA’s grassroots efforts are ongoing as the bill is still being considered in the state legislature.