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CMS leadership makes legislative inroads

The Chicago Medical Society (CMS) worked over the summer to strengthen the organization’s presence in the City Council, State Legislature, and Washington, DC. The ultimate goal is forming productive relationships that allow CMS to advance its many health initiatives, CMS President-elect Kenneth G. Busch, MD, explains.

By reaching out to local legislators, the leadership is continuing CMS’ long history of grassroots health advocacy on behalf of members and their patients. As one of the oldest and most distinguished county medical societies in the U.S., CMS collaborates with the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) on key legislative issues. CMS represents physicians, their practices, and patients. Here are highlights of recent activities:

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton welcomed Dr. Busch to his office to discuss the Affordable Care Act’s implementation and how best to advocate for patients and physicians under the new system. The two also discussed the state health insurance exchange as well as the expansion of Medicaid. “With so many new patients coming on board, we’re looking to see how physicians can best provide care,” Dr. Busch told the Senator.

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) met with Dr. Busch and CMS President Dr. Robert W. Panton to discuss a CMS resolution before the Chicago City Council. The measure calls for the implementation of outdoor adult fitness areas throughout Cook County as part of CMS’ campaign to lower obesity and improve public health. Alderman Smith would like to establish the first Chicago playground in her Lincoln Park ward. More than 50 of these free playgrounds have opened throughout the U.S., allowing patients to exercise, and continue physical therapy or rehabilitation programs.

Dr. Busch personally thanked Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Feigenholtz (12th Dist.) for voting against the psychologist prescribing bill that would have allowed individuals without adequate training to prescribe psychotropic medications. They also discussed physician workforce issues and scope of practice expansions, and working together with CMS and ISMS. Rep. Feigenholtz expressed interest in seeing her fellow legislators participate in the CMS Mini-internship programs and obtain CPR training through CMS.

Dr. Busch met with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (9th Dist.) to request her support for federal legislation to increase GME funding and the number of residency slots, which have remained unchanged since 1997. He also stressed the importance of eliminating Medicare’s flawed SGR formula.

Dr. Busch also thanked State Senator Kwame Raoul (13th Dist.) for opposing the psychologist prescribing bill. In addition to discussing youth violence prevention, Dr. Busch raised questions about the health insurance exchange.

Rep. Danny Davis, whose 7th Congressional District is home to 19 hospitals and four medical schools, met with Dr. Busch, who stressed the importance of increased funding for GME and raising the cap on the number of residency positions.

State Senators Mattie Hunter (3rd Dist.) and Heather Steans (7th Dist.) are scheduled to visit CMS headquarters to meet with leadership. CMS will continue to work with Rep. Mike Quigley’s (5th Dist.) Health Care Taskforce Committee on which Dr. Busch serves as chair.

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