The Pennsylvania Chapter of the ACP takes its responsibility of advocating for members’ needs seriously, and 2022 was no exception.  Your dues dollars are important, and they help make a real difference for you and your patients.

During 2022, PA-ACP took the lead in several areas, and had major successes.  Perhaps nothing was more important than leading efforts to mandate prior authorization reforms by health insurers, now Act 146 of 2022.  (See details and story here.)

Advocacy on Key State Public Health and Policy Issues

PA-ACP led efforts with the state legislature to move several other bills to become law, including extension of the COVID-19 waivers for licensing and telemedicine and making use of telehealth for MH outpatient oversight permanent.  Other key bills passed with PA-ACP’s engagement were a law reversing a state Supreme Court decision to allow staff members to secure informed consent, one expanding access to PACE and PACENet for 20,000 seniors, and another allowing physicians to refuse supervision of more than four Physician Assistants without retribution or liability.  PA-ACP also pushed for and secured full funding in the Medicaid program for Academic Medical Centers.

The chapter also blocked bills to allow independent CRNP practice, supporting a pilot project in federal HPSA’s; and prevented expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy interns.  PA-ACP also prevented several bills that would have inserted government into the physician-patient relationship.

The Supreme Court rescinding  med mal venue rules set in 2003 was a blow to medicine already being felt in higher insurance premiums.  PA-ACP worked with legislative leaders, provided information for independent studies, and supported legislation allow venue rules to be established by the General Assembly.

Physician Wellness and Support for Physician Practices

PA-ACP heard you on the reality of physician burnout, and has been working for changes to the practice environment to help address this.  The Chapter met with our Congressional delegation to secure cosponsors and passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, now law, which is aimed at reducing and preventing suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions in practitioners.  The bill was sponsored by PA Congresswoman Susan Wild, and cosponsored by six other Pennsylvania members of Congress.

In Harrisburg, the Chapter advocated for legislation to ease your administrative hassles, including elimination of non-compete agreements and a mandate for prompt credentialing.  We supported full participation in the Interstate Licensure Compact, and a bill eliminating the requirement that physicians acknowledge any complaints filed against their medical license if the Department of State’s enforcement and investigations staff find then frivolous or meritless.

Taking Your Message to Harrisburg and Washington

PA-ACP led delegations of members to both Harrisburg and Washington, DC in 2022 to meet directly with elected officials. In May, two dozen members met with our state’s Congressional delegation and staff for the first time in person (and some offices virtually) since 2019. They discussed key priorities, including expanded access to health coverage, higher payments to states for expansion of Medicaid beyond 2022, improved payments for evaluation and management care, updates to the Medicare physician fee schedule, mental and behavioral health issues, prescription drug reform, the need for primary and comprehensive care, medical education debt, public health and preparedness, and telehealth.

For the second straight year, Chapter members went to Harrisburg in June and met with 24 key  members and committee staff to promote prior authorization reform, telemedicine, access to care, scope of practice issues, med mal and venue, and Medicaid recertification.

Daily Presence in the State Capitol

Every day is an advocacy day in Harrisburg, and the PA-ACP retains ERG Partners and John Nikoloff to provide hands on monitoring, coordination and lobbying services with state government officials and staff.  Your chapter is unique in taking this step to ensure your needs are heard and met by state government.