Archive for April of 2010
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, wrote to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune on 4/23/10 regarding Steve Chapman's recent column, "Nursing our way out of a doctor shortage." The article illustrates the shortage of physicians facing our country, but it fails to provide a complete picture of the problem by omitting DOs from the discussion. About 60% of DOs practice in primary care, and they account for 10% of the total primary care physician population in the U.S. President Wickless requested that, when discussing solutions to the physician shortage, the paper should not exclude DOs, as the osteopathic medical profession has been, and always will be, committed to preserving access to health care for all Americans.
After years of advocacy efforts, the American Academy of Neurology's (AAN) Board of Directors has voted to approve a proposed bylaw amendment giving equal recognition and eligibility for membership and fellowship status to neurologists who are certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. According to the AAN's general counsel, the Board's decision will be effective as of 7/1/10. While this is favorable, we will continue to advocate a change to the AAN United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties' certification program, which does not yet give equal recognition to AOA training and certification as a pathway to the UCNS subspecialty credential. We will work to leverage the AAN's most recent action to change this UCNS policy.
The AOA has joined about 70 fellow medical associations in signing on to a letter urging the Joint Commission (JC) to modify its revised glossary definition of "physician" to avoid unintended consequences and prevent confusion among hospitals, administrators and patients. On a January conference call of the Scope of Practice Partnership, an AMA collaborative body in which the AOA serves, it was noted that increased efforts by organized medicine are needed to address this issue with the JC. The undersigned medical associations, representing over 600,000 physicians and other members, stated our strong, shared belief that term "physician" should be limited to individuals who have received a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.
The AOA and our members call upon Congress to end the unproductive process of short-term remedies and enact a meaningful, long-term solution to Medicare physician payment. Medicare beneficiaries and our nation's military families deserve access to their doctors and physicians deserve an equitable and predictable payment formula. We are depending upon Congress to enact the one health care reform that never should have been left unresolved-physician payment reform. Show your support for the enactment of meaningful payment reforms by signing this online petition sponsored by the AOA. Urge your patients, colleagues, family, and friends to do the same. Together, we can send a clear and convincing message to Congress that health care coverage is not access to health care.
Oregon Governor Kulongoski has vetoed SB 1046 today, which would have established a "Task Force on Prescribing Psychologists" to develop a certificate program whereby clinical psychologists would be authorized to prescribe drugs. The AOA wrote to Governor Kulongoski in March to ask for a veto to this bill, citing our concerns about patient safety and expanding non-physicians' scope of practice without requiring additional education or training. In a letter to Secretary of State Kate Brown, the Governor stated that he is concerned that SB 1046 as written creates serious policy and regulatory conflicts. Only New Mexico and Louisiana currently authorize psychologists to prescribe medications.
Now that Congress has enacted health care reform, AOA members want to know how it will affect them, their patients and practices. To get answers to these important questions, I invite all DOs to participate in the AOA Town Hall Meeting on 4/8/10 at 5:30 p.m. CDT. Presented in collaboration with the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons in both live and virtual formats, the Town Hall Meeting will teach DOs how to navigate the new law, implementation timelines and what to expect over the next few years. Please join us live or via the Web for this critically timed event-click this link to register today.
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, wrote to members of the California State Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on 4/2/10 to express our strong support for SB 1050, which essentially seeks to reverse a law passed last year to combine the State's Osteopathic Medical Board of California (OMBC) with its Naturopathic Medicine Committee (NMC). SB 1050 would remove the two naturopathic doctors from the OMBC; add two additional public members to the OMBC; change the membership of the NMC; and make the NMC solely responsible for implementing the Naturopathic Doctors Act. President Wickless, echoing both state and national sentiment, encouraged Senators to restore the Osteopathic Act back to its original intent in regulating the osteopathic profession and promoting public safety.
AOA President Larry A. Wickless, DO, wrote to Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski on 3/31/10 to respectfully request a veto to SB 1046-A, which would establish a "Task Force on Prescribing Psychologists" to develop a certificate program whereby clinical psychologists would be authorized to prescribe drugs. The AOA strongly opposes SB 1046-A because it expands psychologists' scope of practice without adding sufficient safeguards to protect patients. As President Wickless iterated, the AOA recognizes the role of allied health professionals in the U.S. health care system; however, is our position that expansion of allied health professionals' scopes of practice requires appropriate increases in education, clinical training and competency examination to ensure that care provided to the public is both safe and effective.