Opioids and Public Health on Physicians’ 2017 Legislative Agenda

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) annual State Legislative Strategy Conference held in early January in Amelia Island, Fla., determined several areas of focus to address with state legislators during 2017 which include the opioid epidemic and strengthening public health.

2017 Key Topics

  • Strengthening Medicaid: Debating about the future of Medicaid expansion and many states are seeking responsible Medicaid reforms which would improve patient access and quality of care.
  • Reducing the U.S. opioid epidemic: Opioid-related legislation is said to focus mainly on mandated prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), physician education, substance-use disorder treatment, and guidelines or restrictions on prescribing controlled substances.
  • Advancing physician-led team based care: Effort to establish a framework for physician-led team-based care.  Many States are moving away from fragmentation and more towards care coordination which will ensure that patients are provided the highest quality care at the lowest cost.
  • Provider network issues: Networks continue to narrow and patients’ financial responsibility for their health care continues to increase, the issues of network adequacy and out-of-network care.
  • Improving public health:  Several states, including Iowa, Indiana, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington, aim to join California and Hawaii in raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco products to 21. Missouri will attempt to ban texting while driving and fight against a repeal of the state’s helmet laws. Also, State and National medical associations will be targeting a long list of additional issues such as diabetes prevention, decreasing cardiovascular disease, infectious disease prevention, obesity, student-athlete concussion, cardiac laws, women’s reproductive rights, tanning restrictions for minors and several others.

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