June 10, 2022: State Advocacy Update

A bill awaiting a hearing in the Delaware Senate would provide significant confidentiality and other protections to physicians seeking care for burnout and wellness.

Senate Bill 300, which is strongly supported by the Medical Society of Delaware and the AMA, “makes clear distinctions that seeking care for wellness or related issues is not the same than being tampered with,” wrote WADA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara, MD. (PDF).

The AMA’s support for SB 300 is part of a national advocacy effort (PDF) to enact legislation and support other policies that eliminate stigma and punitive repercussions for physicians seeking care for ‘burnout. This also includes the AMA’s strong support for Dr. Lorna Breen’s Health Care Provider Protection Act and additional AMA resources.

The AMA supports the SB 300 because it makes clear distinctions that seeking care for wellness or related issues is not the same as being impaired. This distinction will encourage physicians to seek care, as SB 300 specifically protects physicians seeking care from punitive actions such as loss of professional privileges. The bill also wisely preserves the state’s interest in protecting patient safety in the event of impairment.

SB 300 is currently awaiting a committee hearing.

On May 25, CMS approved actions in California, Florida, Kentucky and Oregon to extend Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance coverage to 12 months postpartum. The AMA applauds these states for prioritizing maternal health and hopes others will follow suit. This extension provides more than 120,000 additional families with guaranteed coverage as they navigate this critical postpartum period. Nearly half of all births in the United States are to women who needed public insurance, and many of those people are African American and Alaska Native American.

Disruptions to insurance coverage are one of many factors contributing to high rates of maternal mortality among the Medicaid-eligible population. This action addresses the coverage gaps that women in minority and marginalized communities face and the resulting disparity in maternal mortality rates. The AMA supports extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum and has provided comments (PDF) on the importance of the issue.

The coverage expansion in California, Kentucky and Oregon was made possible by a new state plan opportunity included in the US bailout. Florida will offer coverage through a Medicaid and CHIP section 1115 demonstration.

The AMA thanks these states and CMS for this investment in maternal care and looks forward to the permanent extension of Medicaid coverage and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to 12 months postpartum.

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