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Medicaid Pay Parity Call to Action

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 17, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But...

 By Brian Bowles, MAOPS Executive Director


Last month, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) challenged its more than 60,000 members to reach out to Congress and ask them to extend the Medicaid pay parity for primary care physicians. The current payment parity law is set to expire at the end of this year. Without an extension, the increased payments that certain primary care physicians receive for Medicaid patients will end. This is something that MAOPS was highly involved in two years ago when MoHealthNet issued its rules, and they discriminated against non-ABMS certified osteopathic physicians. In order to get this changed, the AOA advocated at the national level to get the Affordable Care Act changed to include all board-certified physicians. This allowed MAOPS to advocate at the state level to have MoHealthNet change its rules so that non-ABMS certified physicians could take advantage of the increased payments without jumping through additional hoops.

Since that payment increase is set to expire, the AOA encouraged members to advocate for themselves to keep the payment increase in effect. Here’s the good newsMore than 1,000 osteopathic physicians took the time to send an email to their congressmen with a request keep the payment increase intact. However, the not so great news is that only 1,000 out of approximately 60,000 osteopathic physicians took the time to advocate for themselves on this issue.

Each time I come into contact with a member, I tell them that contrary to popular belief, they can have an impact by individually advocating for the profession. Establishing a personal relationship with your state legislators, using MAOPS online advocacy tools and participating in MAOPS D.O.c.-A-Day program are ways that you can have your voice be heard. Legislators do not understand all the issues they face. It is up to you, the constituent, to keep them informed about the issues you face and the issues they are deciding on. If you don’t, you force them to make uninformed, or partially informed, decisions. Or worse, decisions based on information given to them by those who don’t have your best interests at heart.

MAOPS works hard to try and ensure that your voice is heard at the state Capitol, at the AOA and even locally at the regulatory level. But, we cannot be nearly as effective without your help. Legislators want to hear from YOU, and nothing has a greater impact than when they do hear from YOU. The more they hear, the better. Think of the impact that 60,000 unified D.O. voices would have had rather than 1,000. Do the 1,000 voices make an impact? Sure! But not that of 60,000 or even 20,000. Click here to view a breakdown of state participation.

The General Assembly convenes in January, and MAOPS will be present daily looking out for you. But, we need your help. This is a team effort, and you are an integral part of that team. Respond to our Calls to Action, and use our online advocacy program, MoGOAL, when asked. Contact me, and commit to ONE day at the Capitol with our knowledgeable and dedicated MAOPS advocacy team, so you can speak directly to your legislators and key decision makers. And just as importantly, recruit your colleagues to join MAOPS and support the team!

Together, we can secure a strong future for the profession and your patients. Separately, we leave the future in the hands of those who may or may not understand the impact of the decisions they will be making. MAOPS can lead you to the right people, at the right times, but it’s ultimately up to you to metaphorically “drink the water” and participate in the process. Thank you for your dedication to the osteopathic profession. There is strength in numbers. Working as a united front, we can and will see results that benefit all osteopathic physicians.

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