The Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society Med Journal June 2019 Final - Page 8

Licensure Issues • The osteopathic license bill (HB 1658/Act 607/ Justin Boyd-R, Jimmy Hickey-R) addresses a provision in the Medical Licensure Act requiring osteopathic physicians to be citizens of the U.S. to obtain their Arkansas license. (The provision does not exist in licensing requirements for al- lopathic licensing.) This allows for osteopathic physicians that are legal residents of the U.S. to practice anywhere in Arkansas. • A bill sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin-R (SB 456/ Act 701) changes/renames an educational li- cense as “academic” license and allows physi- cians who have an academic license to apply for a regular license after two years. • Maintenance of Certification (SB 339/Act 804/ Missy Irvin-R) prohibits insurance companies and hospitals from using MOC as sole criteria for credentialing. Certain exclusions for aca- demic centers would allow MOC to be used if adopted by the medical staff of an organization. • A bill regarding asthma inhalers (HB 1745*/ Lee Johnson, MD-R, Missy Irvin-R) allows for schools to have a supply of inhalers on hand, just as they would epinephrine injectors. • The biologic similar substitution bill (HB 1269/ Act 637/Austin McCollum-R), jointly initiated by the AMS and the Arkansas Pharmacy As- sociation (ARPA), allows for and sets rules for pharmacists’ substitution of interchangeable biologic products. The bill is designed to cre- ate a framework for substitution once the FDA begins approving biosimilar drugs as inter- changeable (none currently exist). CP: Any other bills AMS physicians should be aware of? DW/SS: Other bills that should be of interest to physicians (some didn’t pass) include two health- care council bills, a mandatory E-prescribing bill, and a genetic counseling bill. HB 1568 and SB 192 by Missy Irvin-R and Lee Johnson, MD-R (Health-Care Council bills): they failed, illustrate the contention that exists re- garding scope-of-practice legislation. They would have created an independent review body through the Arkansas Health Department to provide unbi- ased, accurate information regarding education, training, and potential for increasing access to care for scope-of-practice legislation. While we recog- nize the potential two-edged sword, we strongly AMS Efforts Praised by Physician Constituents During any given session of the Arkansas Legislature, Wroten and Smith – along with additional AMS staff members, AMS-friendly legislators, and advocacy groups – are working at the Capitol on legislative issues facing medicine now. Despite the disappointments of this year’s session and the relentless nature of the opposition, the Society’s efforts were considered a grand success to the advocacy groups they fought alongside. “It was a tough session. I appreciate greatly the support AMS offers, not only to Arkansas physicians and medical specialties, but also to patients across the state. They do a fantastic job supporting good legislation and defeating legislation that adversely affects patient safety.” – Joshua Chance, MD President, Arkansas Society of Anesthesiologists “Of the bills the AR AFP testified against, David and Scott were excel- lent at stating, in just a few words, why the bills we were so passionately against should not become law. There would not be many who could wrap up testimony the way David so eloquently stated the facts.” – Carla Coleman, Executive Vice President Arkansas Chapter, American Academy of Family Physicians believe it’s better than what we’re having to do now (for examples, refer to the scope fights listed in this article). SB 174/Act 447 (mandatory E-prescribing): Beginning 1/1/21, Arkansas will require that all scheduled drugs must be prescribed using elec- tronic prescribing software. This piggybacks on the Medicare requirement that also takes effect 1/1/21. This eliminates prescription pads and thereby will reduce forging. Many states have al- ready done this, and there are some waivers/exclu- sions in the bill. SB 190/Act 686 (licensure for genetic coun- selors): This has to do with licensure for genetic counselors and will create a provision for them to be regulated by the Arkansas State Medical Board. AMS was neutral on this, but we worked with spon- sor Sen. Leding to ensure that the wording on this did not allow genetic counselors to order genetic tests without a physician. CP: If AMS and AMS-friendly legislators weren’t present daily, to watch for and put 272 • THE JOURNAL OF THE ARKANSAS MEDICAL SOCIETY out fire after fire, many of these opposing groups would get their way without much of a fight. They seem prepared to keep com- ing back. Are you feeling worn down from relentless, repeat pursuits from groups who want more and more independence from physicians? What kept you going? DW: We are worn down, truth be told. We do it for our members and their patients – simple as that. It’s an overarching theme, and it’s true of so many bills. It’s fair to say to our members: ‘Stop for just a minute, doctor, and think about how many bad bills would now be law, if you didn’t have the Society looking out for your interests.’ SS: Most of these opposing groups come forth to advance one issue. We deal with all of these in addition to our own issues that we’re also putting a lot of work into for the benefit of our members. For more information about the Society’s work as a legislative advocate, contact Scott Smith or David Wroten. *Bill passed; no Act number established as of press time. VOLUME 115