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Council Highlights

CMS launches resolutions for state debate By Elizabeth Sidney

Each year the Chicago Medical Society (CMS) works through the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) to advance legislation on behalf of physicians and their patients. That tradition continued on Feb. 18, as the CMS Governing Council debated a multitude of resolutions for submission to the ISMS House of Delegates, which meets on April 25-27.

Though not all measures won support, debate on those topics will surely continue. For instance, one resolution protests new maintenance of certification policies for physicians who were previously granted lifetime board-certification. Another opposes the practice by which community hospitals refuse to admit adolescents for emergency primary care without having critical care backup services available.

As the legislative body for both the county and state, the ISMS House provides a springboard for CMS resolutions to reach the national spotlight. Recent examples include a CMS measure that directs the American Medical Association (AMA) to push for changes to the ACO exclusivity policy that limits participating primary care physicians to only one ACO.

As described in last month’s Chicago Medicine, the AMA is leading talks with top officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Disruptions in the Chicago area surface repeatedly in these ongoing discussions.

Legislative proposals evolve in the grassroots Governing Council, the point of origin for policies and advocacy. The CMS Council refines members’ ideas, shaping them into final resolution form.

Here is a preview of CMS resolutions to ISMS:

Food Banks and Food Pantries Should Work Toward Development of State and National Nutritional Guidelines  (Susan B. Kern, MD)

Directs ISMS to collaborate with food banks and pantries in developing statewide nutritional guidelines for the food these organizations dispense. The guidelines would encourage creative approaches to making fresh fruits and vegetables available for distribution, and would hold the food banks and pantries responsible for distributing healthy foods.

Directs ISMS to collaborate with state agencies most affected by the health and social consequences of obesity, and with food banks and pantries and other organizations, to develop these statewide nutritional guidelines. The goal would be to implement strategies that allow the dispensing of fresh fruits and vegetables that meet with state and federal food safety regulations.

Requests the AMA to collaborate with others to develop national nutritional guidelines for food banks and pantries.
(CMS adopted this resolution in 2013.)

Lower ISMS Dues to Align with CMS 5% Discount for Five-Year Members  (Robert W. Panton, MD)

Requests ISMS to lower its dues by 5% for physicians who have been members for five years in order to match the CMS discount for five-year members.
(In 2013 CMS approved a 5% dues reduction for five-year members.)

Increasing Physician Efficiency  (B.H. Gerald Rogers, MD)

Directs ISMS and the AMA to adopt policy requiring the integration of dictation systems into current and all future electronic medical record systems.

Requests the AMA to encourage the business and technology communities to integrate dictation systems into current and all future electronic medical record systems.
(CMS adopted matching policy in 2014.)

Safer Chemical Policies  (Peter Orris, MD, MPH)

Requests ISMS and the AMA to review the recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences with respect to chemical policy reform.

Requests ISMS to support legislative efforts in Illinois to protect the public, particularly children, from harmful chemicals in consumer products and to reduce public exposure to toxic chemicals.
(In 2014, CMS pledged its support for ISMS/AMA efforts to advocate for the modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976; CMS further wrote to the AMA and the World Medical Association, expressing support for the sound management of chemicals.)

Pharmacy-Physician Communication and Health Insurance Plan Drug Formularies (David J. Palmer, MD, Philip B. Dray, MD)

Requests ISMS to adopt the following recommendation for pharmacy-physician communication procedural policy:

In the event that a pharmacy reports back to theprescriber that a specific drug is not or no longer on the formulary or needs pre-authorization, then the pharmacy will determine the suitable alternatives as suggested by the insurer formulary, provide notice of the alternatives to the prescriber, and gather the prescriber’s authorization for the substitution either by telephone, facsimile, or through an electronic prescribing system once the technology exists.

Requests ISMS to draft legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to reflect the pharmacy-physician communication procedural policy outlined above.

Requests AMA to adopt policy recommendations that address health insurance plan drug formulary communication between pharmacies and physicians.

Requests AMA to utilize the appropriate channels and resources to improve health insurance plan drug formulary communication between physicians and pharmacies, nationally for all insurance products.
(CMS adopted this resolution in 2014.)

State e-Cigarette Smoking Ban  (Howard Axe, MD)

Requests ISMS to formally support a statewide ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public indoor places, to be included in the current state smoking ban in effect, and to share this position with legislators to promote and encourage legislation.
(CMS voted in 2014 to support a countywide ban.)

Handicapped Parking Placard Program (Howard Axe, MD)

Requests ISMS to adopt policy conveying strong objection to the use of physicians to police and monitor the handicapped parking program, and the institution of monetary penalties and discipline for errors in completing these forms, unless there is a clear effort to falsify or mislead state officials.
(CMS adopted matching policy in 2014.)

Medical Information and Its Uses  (Thomas J. Chorba, MD)

Directs ISMS to request from state and federal governments a clear statement to the public explaining the reason for collecting vast amounts of personal data, exactly who will have access to this data, and whether the information will be available to corporations for commercial purposes rather than individual medical care.

Pro-Growth Dues Structure   (Thomas J. Chorba, MD)

Requests ISMS and the county medical societies to initiate a study that would determine a dues structure for all physicians, both independent and employed, at an affordable price point.

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