Healthcare policy issues are numerous, diverse, and shaped by all branches of government. The LSMS continually advocates on behalf of physicians on the following issues:
Ensuring an adequate healthcare workforce – It’s no secret that Louisiana does not have enough physicians to meet demand. To address this shortage, it is critical that Louisiana ensures stable, state support for both critical parts of a physician’s education and training to help cultivate future generations of Louisiana physicians. In turn, this ensures stable access to healthcare for the citizens of this state. The LSMS believes we need to support physician-led healthcare teams that can safely meet the diverse needs of the state’s population.
Protecting the trusted patient-physician relationship – The patient-physician relationship is unique and must be protected. Not only must patients trust in their doctors’ knowledge, experience, and skill, but they must also trust that their physician is acting in their best interest — neither motivated nor distracted by competing interests. In return, the physician is responsible for recommending and applying the most appropriate, science-based treatments for the patient’s individual circumstances and medical conditions.
Providing appropriate state funding for physician services – Physicians are critical to Louisiana’s healthcare system if it is to be cost-effective. Otherwise, the state’s efforts to increase preventive care, improve medically necessary treatment for the chronically ill, and reduce inappropriate emergency department utilization will falter. State leaders must realize that cutting physicians’ payments is not an effective tool for controlling healthcare costs and often exacerbates the cost of care.
Protecting patient safety by ensuring the right professional is providing the right care permitted by his or her education, training, and skills – The Louisiana Medical Practice Act was enacted to protect citizens of this state from people who called themselves “doctor” but did not have the skills, training, or education to warrant such a title. The act, administered by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, clearly defines the practice of medicine and the educational qualifications necessary to diagnose, independently prescribe, and direct patient care — and to be held accountable for that care. Now, and in the future, physicians and other professionals will practice in teams to provide comprehensive patient care. Nevertheless, these patient-focused teams must be physician-led to ensure quality, continuity, and efficiency in care. The LSMS strongly opposes any efforts to expand scope of practice beyond what is safely permitted by nonphysician practitioners’ education, training, and skills.
Reducing red tape, regulations, and the hassle factor – We need legislative solutions to cut through the red tape, regulations, and other unproductive elements that do nothing to improve quality and everything to interfere with doctors’ ability to practice medicine efficiently and effectively.
Protecting and promoting a fair civil justice system – Since its inception in 1975, the LSMS has taken a lead position in protecting the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act from legislative and judicial attacks. It is imperative that the Medical Malpractice Act remain intact so that physicians can obtain medical malpractice insurance at rates that are reasonable, which ultimately allows for greater access to care by the citizens of this state.
Ensuring fair and transparent insurance markets for patients, employers, and physicians – The LSMS continues to advocate for concerns regarding fair contracting in the regulated insurance market. It is imperative that the Society continue to fight against efforts to interfere with the physicians’ right to contract and protect the right of physicians to seek payment for the services they render. The LSMS also works hard to provide more standardization when dealing with health plans, such as standardizing the prior authorization forms for prescription drugs. We believe strongly that as the hassle factor is decreased and physicians can spend more time treating patients, overall outcomes improve.
On the Internet: Access the Louisiana State Legislature's Web site. Once the site opens, choose Committees (top menu bar in red) to view the dates, times and agendas for upcoming committee meetings. Also, on the Louisiana State Legislature's homepage scroll down to the section, Today at the Louisiana Capitol, and click on the TV icon () to view the LIVE House and Senate broadcasts. If there is no TV icon next to a meeting in progress, that meeting is not being broadcast. MAC USERS: You will need to download a plug-in to view.
State Legislative Actions - Emergency Rules
To view the latest state Emergency Rules, visit http://www.doa.louisiana.gov/osr/emr/emr.htm