2018 Advocacy Priorities
KMA is working with members to develop a comprehensive list of its 2018 Advocacy Priorities. Specific details and full drafts of legislation will be forthcoming, however, the following issues will be of central importance to the Association:
Tort Reform Remains the Most Prominent Issue for Kentucky Physicians
The current legal liability system continues to place unlimited risk on providers, exacerbates our well-known provider shortage, weakens quality control mechanisms, and drives up health care costs for the state and its citizens. KMA, in collaboration with the Kentucky Hospital Association and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, looks forward to supporting legal reform initiatives in 2018 that are designed to promote more efficient health care and legal systems in addition to greater patient safety.
Administrative Simplification is Crucial to Removing Barriers to Care
Physicians and practice staff spend an enormous amount of time, energy, and resources performing nonclinical activities that are required by payers. While some administrative requirements are expected, the overuse of these tasks can decrease practice efficiency, prevent access to timely patient care, and increase costs for patients and physician practices.
KMA will identify other administrative hurdles that inhibit care and seek legislation that will effectively remove them as barriers to patient care.
Public Health Issues Will Continue to Dominate Healthcare Discussions
Kentucky faces a number of public health challenges, including an opioid abuse epidemic and a high smoking rate. Policymakers rely on KMA as a trusted resource concerning these matters. As a result, KMA once again stands ready to be a leading voice in promoting the health of all Kentuckians through advocacy and education.
2017 Advocacy Priorities
KMA worked throughout the 2017 legislative session to ensure patients have access to the care they deserve. The legislature passed several health care related bills, including all three KMA priorities. These new laws will have significant impact on the health care landscape in Kentucky.
The legislature took up, and passed, several other bills that will impact the practice of medicine in Kentucky. Other significant bills, however, did not pass. For a rundown on legislation important to physicians, read the KMA analysis here.
To see how your legislator voted on major bills in the 2017 session, check out the KMA Voting Record.
KMA has long supported efforts to improve Kentucky’s medical liability climate. Tort reform was a top priority in the the 2017 legislative session. Legislators passed Senate Bill 4 establishing Medical Review Panels, which consist of a group of independent, expert health care providers who offer an opinion on the merit of medical malpractice cases before they can be filed in court.
Domestic Violence Reporting
Legislation to change domestic violence reporting requirements was approved in the waning days of the 2017 session. This change removes a potential barrier for individuals who want to reach out for services. The legislation amends the state’s domestic violence reporting law by eliminating direct reporting by health care providers to the state. Instead, providers can link victims of domestic and dating violence to protective services for those who choose to accept them.
Thanks to Senate Bill 89, smokers who want to quit will have access to tobacco cessation medicines and services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The legislation removed barriers to access these programs by requiring the state’s Medicaid MCOs and private ensurers to cover tobacco cessation treatments.