Archive for Advocacy

Discussions with Decision Makers: Representative Jeff Sorrells

Discussions with Decision Makers: Representative Jeff Sorrells

Representative Sorrells is a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from the 87th District, serving since 2018. He is a member of the Republican party and serves on the House Health Committee. Rep. Sorrells was previously the mayor of Hartford, Alabama and is a vice president of the First National Bank of Hartford, Alabama.

What first prompted you to consider running for office?

When I first got involved in public office in 2002, on a local basis, my primary concern was to make a difference in my community. Being from a small rural community, it appeared that everything stayed the same and nothing changed for the better. I felt that the best thing I could do was get involved and work toward improving my community. I firmly believe that the best plan of action you can take to invoke change is to get involved in a positive manner and work toward a goal for the future. Have a plan and then implement that plan for a better quality of life for those people you serve. Being a mayor for 10 of those years served as an opportunity for me to be able to make that change and improve the quality of life for those in our community.

How does your background help serve you in the Legislature?

Being in the banking industry for the past 35 years has helped me to see the value of being able to help people and work with people to achieve the results that are beneficial to them and you. Working together is necessary to be able to achieve these goals and to have the ability to be successful in your role in the Alabama legislature. The satisfaction that you can derive from helping others is a tremendous motivation for me in public service. Banking has taught me the value of helping others in their time of need as well as how to listen when those around you talk.

What are some of your legislative priorities next term?

Being from a rural environment I think it is time Alabama took a hard look into Medicaid expansion. There are too many hospitals and clinics in our rural areas that are closing and these hospitals serve a tremendous purpose in many of our communities. Too many times the older population does not have the means to travel 40 or 50 miles for health care services. Medicaid expansion could possibly be the mechanism that can keep these hospitals and health care clinics open and serving the community. We also must get tough on the Fentanyl abuse in Alabama and our country as well. Way too much of this drug is pouring across our southern border and we need to let those that would distribute and use this drug know that a high price will be paid when you are caught.

What are some health-related issues important to your district and your constituents?

There is little doubt that Covid has been an issue for all Alabamians over the last couple years. This virus has highlighted just how important our rural physicians and hospitals are to our state. We have to keep exploring all options available to help our rural areas maintain and deliver adequate health care.

What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?

The aspect that I think people are most unaware of is the reimbursement of services provided by the health care community. Procedures that are performed are billed at a specific price but the actual funds received are predetermined regardless of what the actual cost may have been. This usually leaves a balance due and ultimately has to be absorbed by the health care provider.

If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?

Improving access to health care especially in rural areas. Telemedicine will go a long way toward benefiting people in the areas that currently are underserved. We must make sure our rural hospitals are adequately funded and can survive in rural Alabama.

How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?

When questions arise, it is imperative that we, as legislators, have the opportunity to seek out information from those that are versed in that industry. My background being in banking is what I am most versed in, so to have the ability seek out professionals in the health care industry and discuss issues is imperative for me as a legislator.

What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?

THANK YOU!! Thank you for all your dedication and hard work taking care of Alabama during the pandemic. Thank you for working the long hours under difficult circumstances to ensure that all Alabamians were provided with the health care that was much needed during these unprecedented times that we experienced in the pandemic.

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Drawing a Line at Pharmacists Prescribing Medicine

Drawing a Line at Pharmacists Prescribing Medicine

For the 5th installment of an in-depth look into each of the Medical Association’s “Top 10 Highlights” from the 2022 regular session, we will look at the Association’s opposition to allowing pharmacists blanket authority to prescribe vaccines and immunizations

At the beginning of the 2022 Regular Session, a bill was drafted and supported by the Alabama Pharmacy Association that would have given pharmacists broad authority to prescribe vaccines and immunizations.  Currently, pharmacists may administer vaccines, but may not prescribe them. The bill would have permitted pharmacists to prescribe any vaccine or immunization that they are already allowed to administer. 

Proponents of the legislation stated their goal was to expand access to vaccines and immunizations and make permanent some of the additional privileges granted to pharmacists via the temporary COVID emergency orders. As the Association discussed possible alternatives to the bill, medicine offered multiple substitutes to the proposed legislation that would have met the stated goal, but these were all rejected by the pharmacy association. With no agreement in place, proponents failed in their attempt to move the bill forward. 

The Association believes strongly in the physician lead health team and does not support fracturing care delivery. Hence, the Association partnered with the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, and the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Physicians in opposition to the bill. The coalition maintained that allowing pharmacists to prescribe vaccines – especially important childhood vaccines – would disrupt the “medical home” and actually hurt children’s access to care. The Association also believed that allowing pharmacists the ability to prescribe was ultimately a “scope creep” style bill that would blur the lines between medicine and pharmacy. The bill “passed” out of the Senate Healthcare Committee on a voice vote from Sen. Jim McClendon despite the absence of a quorum. The bill ultimately failed as it never made it to the Senate floor. The Association fully expects similar legislation to be proposed in the 2023 Regular Session.

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Discussions with Decision Makers: Representative Arnold Mooney

Discussions with Decision Makers:  Representative Arnold Mooney

Rep. Mooney (R–Birmingham) is a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, serving the 43rd district covering Shelby County. Born and raised in Montgomery, Rep. Mooney is supported by ALAPAC and a member of the House Health Committee. Rep. Mooney has been married to his wife Kelly for 31 years; has three grown children, a grandson, and a granddaughter and is a career Commercial Realtor.

What first prompted you to consider running for office?

I grew up in Montgomery and paged at the Legislature at an early age, clerked for a Montgomery attorney who served in the House of Representatives, interned in the Senate and worked on staff in the Senate after working for an Alabama US Senator in Washington. I actually assisted with running an Alabama House and Senate race, as well as, serving as the Campaign Manager of a US Senate race here in Alabama. I also had the opportunity to be on staff with the Medical Associaton of the State of Alabama for nearly three (3) years. I also have physician son who gives great perspective on healthcare. 

How does your background help serve you in the Legislature?

Continuing to work on free speech issues, adoption improvements, Pro-Life issues, strong reserve funds for our General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets, as well as, the correct use of State funding , Special Needs education,  harden our schools for safety and security to protect our children from violent attacks and Election Law security legislation and health related issues.

What are some of your legislative priorities this term?

Continuing to work on free speech issues, adoption improvements, Pro-Life issues, strong reserve funds for our General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets, as well as, the correct use of State funding , Special Needs education,  harden our schools for safety and security to protect our children from violent attacks and Election Law security legislation and health related issues.

What are some health-related issues important to your district and your constituents?

Pro-life and adoption needs, protecting the Physician/patient relationship through informed consent, widening the delivery and efficiency of medical services to Alabamians.

What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?

Quite simply how it actually works and the variety of things that constantly are proposed that could hurt them personally.

If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?

Improve the responsiveness of state health related agencies such as the State Health Department and involve more private practice physicians in the decision making process.

How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?

Continue to support your MASA staff as they identify and communicate issues to the Legislature. Please become active participants in the legislative and political process. Our cooperative efforts will make a great difference for your patients and all Alabamians. 

What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?

I know many of you and want to know all of you! As our area continues to grow, please call on me to assist you with your concerns and issues. We can make the lives of our people better!

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Discussion with Decisionmakers: Gil Isbell

Discussion with Decisionmakers: Gil Isbell

Rep. Isbell (R–Gadsden) is a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, serving the 28th district covering Etowah County. Born and raised in Etowah County, Rep. Isbell is supported by ALAPAC and is running for re-election to represent District 28. He works at Isbell Dental and served as President of Gadsden Kiwanis Club.

What first prompted you to consider running for office?

I wanted to give back to my community, county and state.  In order to make a difference, you must get involved.

How does your background help serve you in the Legislature?

I have a diverse background in business from Airport Consulting, Real Estate, Retail, Recycling and more.  Furthermore, I lived outside the state for 25 years and learned there are all types of people that make up our great nation.

What are some of your legislative priorities this term?

-Help find a suitable industrial occupant for the Goodyear facility.

-Help develop the Megasite and find manufacture(s) to locate at the site.

-Help make the GSCC Advanced Manufacturing and Workforce Development Center a reality.  It will be a regional facility with dual enrollment, supported by all 3 school systems and will help support present and future training for many career tech jobs.

-Make the Southside Bridge the top infrastructure project and help secure funding. 

-Help obtain a 3rd lane for Rainbow Drive/Hway 411 from Hway 77 to Lumley Road in Rainbow City.

-Help strengthen education and get more qualified teachers in place.

-Work with State leaders to further address Mental Health issues.

-Work on Parental Rights issues.

-Work on protecting individuals regarding Guardianship and Conservatorship.

-Work on reducing flagrant lawsuits.

-Give the Citizens the opportunity to vote for a lottery.  Put the vote in the hands of the people.

-AND MUCH MORE!

What are some health-related issues important to your district and your constituents?

I am working with individuals and the Alabama State Lab to further new born testing.  Also, I want to work on mental health issues. 

What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?

I deal with insurance on a daily basis in my job at a dental office.  Most people do not understand insurance coverage or what procedures are covered.  Also, many people do not understand they need to see doctors on a routine basis.

If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?

Develop a more consistent way to communicate with the public.  I know the industry does a good job of educating the public, but I think it could be better.

How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?

As a legislator, we have to become experts in many fields (which is impossible).  I would like for the Medical Association to continue to present and educate the legislature on issues that the medical association identifies as important to the citizens of our state.

What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?

Thank them for what you do.  It is harder and harder to take care of patients because of the sheer numbers of patients that must be seen to make ends meet.  Again, thank them for what they do.

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Breaking Down the New Telehealth Law

Breaking Down the New Telehealth Law

Questions and answers to the new Telehealth Law that was sponsored by Sen. Dan Roberts and carried by Rep. Paul Lee in the House – ACT 2002 – 302.

What is its purpose?

The stated legislative intent of the law is to expand access to healthcare through the use of electronic devices and technology. It provides regulation for physician use of telehealth, and also repeals laws providing for a special license for out-of-state physicians to practice through telehealth in Alabama. The new Act requires a full and active Alabama medical license to provide telehealth services to Alabama patients. It does retain the exception for irregular or infrequent telehealth medical services (less than 10 days in 1 year or less than 10 patients in one year)

Does the law also govern telemedicine, and is there a difference in telehealth and telemedicine?

The law defines both telehealth and telemedicine. Telehealth is more of an umbrella term, encompassing the use of electronic and telecommunication technology to support medical care. Telemedicine is defined as the provision of medical services by a physician to a patient when they are not at the same site, using electronic technology. Because telehealth encompasses telemedicine, the two may be used interchangeably, but for purposes of the Act, telemedicine is specific to an electronic communication or encounter between physician and patient.

Does the new law provide a different duty of care?

The law provides that physicians providing telehealth medical services owe the same duty of care to patients as they would providing care in an in-person visit. A physician must establish a diagnosis, disclose that diagnosis and provide a visit summary after providing care by telehealth medical services if he or she would be required to provide those things after an in-person visit. The location of care provided by telehealth medical services is designated as the site where the patient is within the state.

Must a physician establish a relationship with a patient in-person before providing telehealth medical services?

A physician does not have to establish a physician-patient relationship in person prior to providing telehealth medical services, but a physician cannot solicit patients by or for telehealth medical services. Either the patient must initiate the relationship or the patient must be referred by a physician with whom he or she already has an established relationship. A physician is also required to obtain consent from a patient to use telehealth medical services, including the specific mode of communication to be used, prior to the provision of those services. That consent must be documented in the patient’s record. Also prior to delivering telehealth services, a physician must verify the patient’s identity, the patient’s location by city and state, and his or her own credentials to the patient.

Is there a limit on the number of times a patient can be seen by telehealth?

The law does not limit the number of telehealth visits for patients. However, if a physician or someone in his or her practice group has seen the same patient for the same condition using telehealth more than four times in one year without resolution of the problem, then the physician must see the patient in-person or refer the patient to another physician for an in-person visit within one year. The in-person visit requirement can be satisfied using telehealth services as long as there is at least one licensed physician or licensed nurse with the patient at the patient’s site to provide assistance if needed.

Are there any exceptions to the in-person visit requirement after four telehealth encounters?

The in-person visit requirement after four telehealth encounters does not apply if the physician providing the telehealth services is in active consultation with a physician providing in-person care. It further does not apply to the provision of mental health services as defined under Alabama law. The Board of Medical Examiners has the authority to provide further exemptions by Rule.

Is prescribing through telehealth allowed?

A prescriber may prescribe legend drugs, medical supplies or controlled substances through telehealth, if he or she is authorized by law to prescribe them otherwise, as long as there is an established legitimate medical purpose. For prescribing controlled substances by telehealth, a prescriber must also have seen the patient in-person once in the 12-months prior, have established the legitimate medical purpose in the 12-months prior, and have used “real time” technology for the telehealth encounter with the patient when issuing the prescription. The law contains an exemption to these requirements if the prescriber is prescribing a controlled substance to treat a medical emergency, to be defined by the Board of Medical Examiners.

How does this law affect non-physicians who provide telehealth medical services?

This law does not prohibit non-physician health professionals from providing telehealth services as long as those services fall within their particular scope of practice.

Does the law require anything about records or documentation?

Any physician providing telehealth medical services must keep accurate records in accordance with the Rules of the Board of Medical Examiners and Medical Licensure Commission. Physicians must also be able to access those records and provide the Board of Medical Examiners and Medical Licensure Commission access to them upon request. The law further requires physicians providing telehealth medical services to take reasonable cautions to protect the privacy of communications with patients in accordance with state and federal laws, including HIPAA.

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Discussion with House Candidate Dr. David Cole

Dr. David Cole – a member of the Medical Association and a candidate supported by the Alabama Medical PAC (ALAPAC) – is running for Alabama House District 10 in the Huntsville/Madison area. HD 10 is an open seat as the incumbent is retiring. He is running unopposed in the republican primary and will face a democrat candidate in the November General Election. Dr. Cole is a military trained medical professional, with senior executive management experience in Occupational and Aerospace medicine. Cole earned his M.D. from the University of Arkansas and completed his surgical internship in general surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Cole is a highly decorated military veteran, with a history of service in several overseas missions.  He held the position of Chief Medical Officer at Fox Army Health Center on Redstone Arsenal for four years before taking the position of Medical Director for Huntsville Hospital’s Occupational Health Group.

What first prompted you to consider running for office?

My adult life has been in service to the country through the military and as a physician. After doing that for 22 years, I thought that I had done my bit, but I think one of the things about being a physician and serving in the military is that we are unique and geared to service and that service mentality is engrained in our DNA.  When I saw that Rep. Mike Ball was retiring and looked at some of the bills in the legislature and found out there is no physician in the house I decided to run for the 10th district (after talking to my wife).

How will your background help serve you in the Legislature?

It comes from 2 perspectives – in the military there is a lot of collaborative work.  You can’t get something done by yourself and so you have to learn to run your ideas by others and get them to agree – and if they don’t agree – you talk out your differences.  Medicine is the same way. Medicine is an art as well as a science.  Not everybody does things the same way, but the desired end result is the same.  As long as you have a servant mentality you will be in a good place to help your constituents. 

If elected you will be the only physician in the House, what impact do you think that will have?

One of the things I want to do is to be a sounding board for legislators who have health care related ideas.  Health care is a broad topic. Being a physician is unique in health care because it incorporates a lot of different modalities and we have to have a holistic approach.  Also, as a physician I will be able to give my professional opinion on major health care issues to my colleagues.

 What are some of your legislative priorities if you are elected to office?

My top legislative priority is parents’ choice for school.  I believe that parents have a right to decide things for their children.  I also want to protect small business and state farmers.  Also, improving and adding roads and infrastructure in my district.  The Huntsville and Madison area is growing leaps and bounds.

What are some health-related issues important to your district?

We have a robust healthcare system in N. Alabama and the Huntsville area.  I will say that it’s probably the largest after Birmingham.  I’m very proud that there is a family practice and internal medicine residency in Huntsville.  I would like to see more training programs for residencies in Huntsville.  I think it can’t be stressed enough how proud I am of the health care professionals that endured through this pandemic in the face of so much adversity.  Health care professionals in Alabama are the unsung heroes.  I want to make sure that the primary care specialties are beefed up.  As far as state wide, I think we need to get a preventive medicine program at UAB.  I do know the Medical Association’s supported Telehealth legislation is also a good bill.  Technology is evolving but, physicians still need to lay eyes on patients.  In person visits are integral to health care.

What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?

Insurance. Is this certain thing covered, or not covered; is this a co-pay, or not a co-pay.  Sometimes patients do not know if something is covered when they are receiving a treatment.  Also, some patients’ expectations are based on a 1950s model.  Patients are sometimes confused by what the 21st century healthcare model looks like.

If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?

I see – and most physicians would agree – that some areas in the state lack access to health care.  I think investing in rural health care is important for the future of Alabama.  Area health care educational centers are becoming a big thing and other states are doing that. We should take a look at that with the help from congress and our federal government partners.

How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?

I think it is very unique that our specialty society’s have a wide depth of knowledge and work well together with the Medical Association. As a physician it helps to be armed with all the information.  Also, I would really like to meet all the members and get more input from them.

What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?

I need your support, financially and at the voting booth.  Health care is very tenuous in our state.  As a physician and a member of the house I want to be the voice for them and for medicine in the Alabama Legislature.  The November election will be tough and I will need all the support I can get.

To learn more about Dr. Cole’s campaign, please click here.

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2022 Legislative Session

2022 Legislative Session

Scope of Practice Expansion

  • Scope Expansion of Podiatry: This bill (SB 101) would expand the scope of the practice of podiatry to include treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle. This bill has passed Senate Healthcare Committee and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.
  • Scope Expansion of Optometry: This bill (SB120) would provide further for the scope of practice of optometry and for the exclusive authority of the board to regulate the practice. The bill has passed the Senate and is assigned to House Health Committee.
  • Scope Expansion of Nurse Anesthetist: This bill (HB 268) would specify that a CRNA practices in coordination with a licensed physician or a podiatrist. This bill has passed the Alabama House of Representatives and the Senate and is in conference between the 2 chambers.
  • Pharmacy Prescribing Bill: This bill (HB 402 / SB 307) would authorize a pharmacist to prescribe vaccines and immunizations; and to require pharmacists administering vaccines or immunizations to children under nine years of age, to also recommend annual well-child visits with a pediatrician. This bill was carried over in the House Health Committee, but passed Senate Healthcare Committee.

Lawsuits and Liability

  • Private Right of Action: This bill (HB 16) would provide a private right of action against an employer for any adverse reaction, injury, temporary or permanent disability, or death of an employee arising from an employer mandate that the employee receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Texas Style Abortion Bill: This bill (HB 23) would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion if a fetal heart beat has been detected or if no test for a fetal heartbeat has been performed, except in circumstances where a medical emergency exists. This bill would provide a private cause of action for enforcement of this act by any person who performs or induces an abortion or who knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing costs of an abortion. This bill would provide injunctive relief and provide damages in an amount of not less than $10,000 for each abortion performed or induced and attorneys’ fees
  • Private Right of Action: This bill (HB 29) would provide a private right of action against an employer for any adverse reaction, injury, temporary or permanent disability, or death of an employee arising from an employer mandate that the employee receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  This bill would also prohibit this state from recognizing certain federal mandates.
  • Alabama Health Freedom Act: This bill (HB 31) creates the “Alabama Health Freedom Act” that prohibits discrimination based on vaccine status by employers, places public accommodation and occupational licensing boards.
  • Employee Vaccine Mandate: This Bill (HB 32) is duplicative of at least part of SB 9, passed in the 2nd 2021 Special Session.  It prevents an employer from compelling an employee to receive a COVID vaccine if that employee objects “for any reason of personal conscience, based on religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”
  • Transgender Procedures: This bill (SB 5) would prohibit the performance of a medical procedure or the prescription or issuance of medication, upon or to a minor child, that is intended to alter the appearance of the minor child’s gender or delay puberty, with certain exceptions. This bill would provide for the disclosure of certain information concerning students to 16 parents by schools. This bill would also establish criminal penalties for violations. This bill has passed the Senate and awaits a vote in the House.

Public Health

  • Practice of Midwifery: This bill (HB 164 / SB 328) would remove vaginal birth after a cesarean as a procedure that is a prohibited practice outside the scope of licensed midwifery. This bill was reassigned to the House Boards, Agencies, and Commissions Committee and the Senate version is in Senate Healthcare Committee.
  • Student Masking Requirement: This bill (HB 18) would enable a parent or guardian of a student at a public K-12 school to opt out of any requirement that the student must wear a face covering at the school, at a school function, on school bus, or at school bus stop.
  • Parent Consent on Vaccines: This bill (HB 19) would require consent of a parent or legal guardian for any minor to receive a vaccination.   
  • My Child My Choice Vaccination Act: This bill (HB 30) creates the “My Child My Choice Vaccination Act” and amends Ala. Code Section 16-30-3, expanding the religious exemption from childhood vaccines required for school attendance to a broader exception that is applicable in all circumstances.
  • Abolishment of the Certificate of Need Program: This bill (HB 130) would repeal the certificate of need program and abolish the Certificate of Need Review Board, the State Health Planning and Development Agency, the Statewide Health Coordinating Council, and the Health Care Information and Data Advisory Council, which all exist to operate the certificate of need program and collect data to support the operation of the certificate of need program.
  • Prior Authorizations: This bill (SB 27) would require a health insurer to communicate to a physician or other health care professional with authority to prescribe drugs, within three business days of receiving a request for insurance coverage of a prescription drug benefit, that the request is approved, denied, or requires supplemental documentation. This bill would also require a health insurer to communicate to a physician or other health care professional with authority to prescribe drugs, regarding the approval or denial of the request, within three business days of receiving sufficient supplemental documentation.
  • Maternal and Infant Healthcare: This bill (SB 180) would establish the Maternal and Infant Health Board to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and improve the health and health outcomes of pregnant women, newborns, infants, and mothers of newborns and infants in the Black Belt region of Alabama. This bill would provide for membership and duties of the board. This bill would provide for community health clinics that include birthing centers in certain counties, provide for a home visitation program to provide prenatal and perinatal care to mothers and infants in underserved areas, provide for telehealth services, and provide for greater utilization of advance practice nurses in these settings. This bill would also require the board to award grants and tuition reimbursement to health care professionals providing maternal and infant health care services.
  • Medicaid Expansion: The bill (HB 183) would expand the state Medicaid program and provide assistance to all persons for whom matching funds are available to the state under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • Extension of Postpartum Coverage Under Medicaid: Companion bills ( SB 284 & HB 360) would extend the period during which a pregnant woman who is eligible to receive medical assistance under Medicaid may continue to receive Medicaid assistance from 60 days to one year after giving birth
  • State Health Officer: This bill (SB 255) will require certain emergency rules, orders, or directives issued by the State Health Officer be approved by the Governor and a copy filed with the Secretary of State before the emergency rule, order, or other directive has the full force and effect of law; and to make non-substantive, technical revisions to update the existing code language to current style.
  • Every Mothers Act: This bill (HB 401) would support certain services for women before and after childbirth; to require a physician, prior to the performance of an abortion, to confirm that a woman upon whom an abortion is to be performed has received a free resource access assistance offer; and to provide for the provision and contents of the offer.
  • Telehealth: Companion bills (SB 272 & HB 423) officially recognizes telehealth as an approved means for the practice of medicine in Alabama. The Senate bill has passed the Senate Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development and awaits a vote in the Senate.

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2022 Advocacy Agenda

2022 Advocacy Agenda

As the professional association for some 7,000 physicians of all specialties in Alabama, the Medical Association of the State of Alabama exists to serve, lead, and unite physicians in promoting the highest quality of healthcare for the people of Alabama through advocacy, information, and education.

The Medical Association of Alabama is proud to advocate on behalf of physicians and their patients and, despite the challenges to care delivery and daily life brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, is committed to moving medicine forward in 2022.


General Policies Supported

The Medical Association supports the physician-led health team model and maintaining the highest standards for medical care delivery across all specialties of medicine. The Association supports reforming the “certificate of need” process to increase physician ownership of equipment and facilities and expand access to quality, affordable care. The Association supports continued physician compounding and dispensing of drugs in physician offices. The Association supports prohibiting deceptive health care advertising and requiring health professionals identify their license to patients.

The Association supports physician autonomy in patient care and medical practice decisions as well as fair reimbursement for services. The Association also supports reducing the administrative tasks required of physicians by insurers which increase annual health spending and negatively impact patient health. Specifically, the Association supports reforming prior authorization processes and step therapy protocols and ending non-medical switching and co-pay accumulator programs.

Further, the Association supports increasing health insurance options for Alabamians, including expanding Medicaid. The Association supports increasing access to quality mental health care and continued state funding for the Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Infant Mortality Review Committee. Recognizing the long-term effects of social determinants of health on individuals, families and ultimately communities, the Association supports comprehensive solutions to addressing these challenges, with emphasis on pipeline programs, tax credits and loan forgiveness proposals benefitting rural and underserved areas.

Finally, by ensuring medical liability environment stability and pursuing further civil justice reforms, the Association believes Alabama can continue to attract highly-qualified physicians.

Specific Policies Supported

For 2022 , the Association specifically supports:

  • Extending Medicaid coverage for qualifying mothers to 12 months postpartum as recommended by the Maternal Mortality Review Committee
  • Providing access to state-managed personal protective equipment reserves for medical practices in times of critical need and shortage
  • Same standards and reimbursements for telehealth as for face-to-face visits, and expanding broadband initiatives to facilitate increased use of telemedicine
  • The ability of medical practices to set patient practice policies
  • Increasing physician representation on state healthcare boards

General Policies Opposed

The Medical Association opposes any scope of practice expansion for non-physicians that would fracture the physician-led health team model, lower quality of care and/or increase costs for patients. The Association also opposes any interference with the physician-patient relationship and attempts to reduce a physician’s autonomy in patient care or medical practice decisions.

The Association opposes legislation or other initiatives that could increase lawsuit opportunities against physicians, including the establishment of statutory standards of care or any statutory dictums for medical care delivery. The Association also opposes any state-level increase of requirements for Maintenance of Certification. Finally, the Medical Association opposes tax increases disproportionately affecting physicians.

Specific Policies Opposed

For 2022, the Association specifically opposes:

  • New lawsuit opportunities against physician employers and medical practices over employment policies
  • Efforts to reduce and/or politicize physician involvement in health regulatory affairs
  • Expanding Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) access for law enforcement
  • Statutory requirements for mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) checks
  • Changes to workers’ compensation laws negatively affecting treatment of injured workers and medical practices

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Discussions with Decisionmakers: Sen. Sam Givhan

Discussions with Decisionmakers: Sen. Sam Givhan

What first prompted you to consider running for office?

Now going through one term I see that the freshmen class is making a difference.  We have a special bond and it makes the work more enjoyable.  I try to focus on legislation that avoids us from having unintended consequences. 

How does your background help serve you on the Health Committee and also the Legislature?

I have a lot of physicians in my district.  I also think my background in legal knowledge has helped.

What are some of your legislative priorities this term?

Several counties need more additional circuit judges.

What are some health-related issues important to your district and your constituents?

My district and Huntsville are one of the medical centers for the state of Alabama.  The availability of medical staff is important.  It’s also important to have incentives for physicians to go to rural Alabama.

What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?

Reimbursements.

If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?

More physicians and a medical school in Huntsville.

How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?

Doing what you all do and reaching out to us in a logical non-emotional manner.

What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?

I am appreciative of the support I have received from so many of them via phone or contact by email. They are very personalized and informative.

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