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President’s Message: Advocacy From the Exam Room to Frankfort

It’s hard to believe that another January and a new year is already here. This year, our KMA advocacy team started working early on in the interim to prepare for the 2024 legislative session, probably when the Christmas gifts and decorations were still in the planning stages. We are hopeful that this strategy will bear fruit in the upcoming year.

The 60-day “long” session began January 2, and while there are some weighty non-healthcare issues up for debate, KMA’s primary focus during the 2024 session will remain prior authorization reforms. To address this ever-growing problem, KMA will continue to urge lawmakers to establish a prior authorization exemption, or “gold carding,” program. In general, physicians who, based on historical data, have 90 percent or more of their prior authorization requests granted will not need to submit future prior authorization for that procedure.

We know you and your offices spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and resources obtaining prior authorizations on a daily basis. To assist us with this effort, KMA is continuing to collect physician stories of how prior authorization requirements have impacted you, your patients and your practices. Educating our lawmakers on what this process is and why it is such a barrier to appropriate health care  is crucial. Please submit your stories by emailing them to KMA may use these in testimonies, handouts, and in key conversations with legislators as we work to emphasize the importance of prior authorization reform. Every story helps.

KMA asks that you please include your name and the city you practice in with your submission. However, we ask that you respect the privacy of your patients by not sharing any additional identifiable information in your story.

I would also like to strongly encourage you to save the date for KMA’s 2024 Physicians’ Day at the Capitol, which will be held Feb. 21 in Frankfort. This in-person event will allow you to join with your colleagues from around the state to advocate for prior authorization reform and additional KMA priorities like physician workforce and scope of practice issues.

When I went through the KMA’s Kentucky Physicians Leadership Institute in 2018, one of the most impactful things I remember was from the weekend we focused on advocacy when we had a “fireside chat” with a then state senator. He told us that more than anything else, meeting directly with constituents, particularly those who are directly involved with the issues at stake, was the most effective form of advocacy out there. During my time as an elected official, I often met with stakeholders, and I would certainly agree. Your words, your stories, and your presence make a difference.

I know that as a physician, advocating for my patients and my profession is my job. And while many times advocacy happens in an exam room, it also happens in meeting rooms in Frankfort. Please plan to join the KMA in making our advocacy as effective as possible on Feb. 21. I look forward to seeing you there!

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