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Senate Bill 151

Posted By Administration , Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SPEAK Up for the Profession, Your Patients and Your Community

By Brian Bowles, MAOPS Executive Director

 

The increased payment to primary care physicians for Medicaid services, as provided by the Affordable Care Act, expired on Dec. 31, 2014, when the U.S. Congress failed to extend the increase. As of Jan. 1, 2015, physicians providing Medicaid services will be doing so at much reduced rates than the previous two years. One rural Missouri practice expects to lose $400,000 in 2015 alone due to Congress’ failure to act. While several states took it upon themselves to either partially or fully fund the increase for 2015, Missouri did not. Gov. Nixon asked for $20 million to help fund the increase. Yet, the legislature cut that back to $4 million, and the Governor line-item vetoed that from the budget.

Missouri Senate Bill 151, sponsored by Rep. David Sater (R-29), would increase reimbursement rates for physicians providing Medicaid primary care services to that of those providing services under the Medicare program, pending appropriations, for 2016. While this bill would not affect payment rates in 2015 (the Missouri budget is already set), it would be a positive step moving forward.

Senate Bill 151 offers a short-term solution to the issue of Medicaid reimbursement. While we will certainly advocate for this bill, we will also be presenting our message that a long-term solution must be found. We cannot continue to turn patients away from health care, and physicians and hospitals cannot continue to provide care for free (or worse).

Doctors, it is time to step up to the plate and help your cause. MAOPS membership is a start. Your financial support is needed and appreciated. How else can you help? First, you must take the time to advocate on the issue with your 1) Congressman, and 2) state legislators. MAOPS provides a simple way for you to do this through our MoGOAL online advocacy program. This tool allows you to compose a message and send it to your legislator with a few mouse clicks. Nothing could be easier… Except doing nothing, which is not an option! Try it now by visiting MAOPS Advocacy Center, clicking on Advocacy Campaigns set up in the “Actions” section, and composing a message.

But, I challenge you to take it one step further. Visit with your elected officials in person. I know this can be challenging, but I also know, from experience, that it has the greatest impact. If you have heard my rant before, I apologize, but here is the simple truth: If you choose not to be heard, you won’t be. You must share your stories of how this increased payment not only impacts you, but your patients. Does the increase let you see more Medicaid patients? How many more? Let your legislator know!

MAOPS offers an excellent venue for you to be heard. The D.O.c.-A-Day program provides you with a forum to visit with your legislator face-to-face at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. While MAOPS supports program participants, it’s up to each participant to do the talking – and legislators will listen! Legislators listen to Brad and I every day at the Capitol, so when they hear a new voice, they listen more intently (plus, Brad and I can’t vote for them!). I strongly encourage each of you to get involved and make your voices heard! To schedule a date to participate in the D.O.c.-A-Day program during the next three months, please contact me at your earliest convenience. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are by far the best days to come. Check out the “Look Who’s Coming” calendar to see open dates and/or when your district day will be held.

MAOPS is here to support you while you care for your patients. But we also need your help occasionally in advocating for the profession. Membership associations, like MAOPS, rely on the support of volunteers to meet our mission. So check your calendars, and SPEAK up for the profession, your patients and yourself! MAOPS is the voice of more than 3,000 osteopathic physicians and students in the Show-Me State. As a united front, there is no limit to what we can accomplish together.

 




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Alan M. Weaver DO says...
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Be nice to have federal congressman salary and benefits paid to us for providing care to the ones that voted them in office,,,
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