As physicians enter 2017, there are a number of concerns that will occupy their advocacy efforts for the year. In a survey of more than 65 state and specialty societies, the top issues for 2017 include the nation’s opioid epidemic, Medicaid expansion, private payer reforms, and numerous public health issues.
Below are three issues physicians will advocate for in 2017.
Many states are buckling up for debates surrounding Medicaid’s expansion, as well as for Medicaid reforms to improve patient access and quality of care.
Alabama, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Vermont plan to deal with accountable care organizations, while Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, and Kentucky will address delivery system reform incentive payments (DSRIP) programs.
As for funding, Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wyoming are just a handful of the many states dealing with issues concerning Medicaid.
#2: Opioid Epidemic
Across the country, physicians will continue to fight against opioid misuse, overdose, and death. A lot of this legislation will focus on the use of the mandated prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), better physician education, substance-use disorder treatment, and guidelines or limitations on the prescription of controlled substances.
As has been previously done, many states will focus on PDMPs. Additionally, states will keep considering proposals that advocate for increased access to naloxone. They will also go after stronger Good Samaritan policies for those who assist someone experiencing an overdose.
#3: Provider Networks
Out-of-network care and network adequacy will continue to be major issues in 2017, as networks narrow and patients find themselves footing more bills out of pocket. Physicians are talking to key stakeholders all over the country about offering quality, affordable care to patients while still staying eligible for fair contract negotiations.
There are more than two dozen state medical societies that will address out-of-network billing this year, specifically within the hospital setting. And there are nearly the same number of states considering proposals to address the adequacy of these provider networks.
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