How the FMA’s Federal Advocacy Helps Florida Physicians Practice Medicine
By Jarrod Fowler, MHA, FMA Director of Health Care Policy and Innovation | Updated March 10, 2022
The FMA’s mission, helping physicians practicing medicine, is exemplified by our continuous efforts to advocate for the best interests of physicians and patients at the state and federal level. We work hard to educate and lobby lawmakers, provide in-house assistance with insurance concerns and legal questions, and maintain a large suite of CME courses that are free or discounted for members, among other direct and indirect benefits.
This article provides a brief overview of the FMA’s federal advocacy efforts — how they operate and how we engage in those activities to make the practice of medicine more economically sustainable for current and future Florida-licensed physicians.
For instance, the FMA maintains a Delegation to the AMA — consisting of physician leaders and chaired by FMA Past President Corey Howard, MD — that fights to improve important policies at the national level. At the most recent AMA Special Meeting, the FMA spearheaded the adoption of Resolution 212, which reads as follows:
Our AMA will:
In essence, this FMA-supported language directs the AMA to prioritize and redouble its efforts to make the Medicare system more financially sound and sustainable. As the resolution indicates, it should be an AMA priority to reduce the burden that physicians face in the form of arbitrary government payment cuts and onerous government program requirements. The FMA plans to continue such advocacy indefinitely.
- (a) continue to prioritize and actively pursue vigorous and strategic advocacy to prevent sequester and other cuts in Medicare payments due to take effect on January 1, 2022;
- (b) seek positive inflation-adjusted annual physician payment updates that keep pace with rising practice costs;
- (c) ensure Medicare physician payments are sufficient to safeguard beneficiary access to care;
- (d) work towards the elimination of budget neutrality requirements within Medicare Part B;
- (e) eliminate, replace, or supplement budget neutrality in MIPS with positive incentive payments;
- (f) advocate strongly to the current administration and Congress that additional funds must be put into the Medicare physician payment system to address increasing costs of physician practices, and that continued budget neutrality is not an option; and
- (g) advocate for payment policies that allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to retroactively adjust overestimates of volume of services.
In addition, FMA leadership has engaged in dozens of virtual and in-person visits with U.S. representatives and senators over the past few years. These ongoing conversations have included a wide range of topics such as the No Surprises Act, the need for network adequacy requirements, the threat of impending Medicare payment cuts, and the general need to make Medicare more sustainable here in Florida and nationwide. The FMA has also ramped up its federal lobbying efforts by engaging directly with federal lobbyists and expanding our cooperation with other medical societies that share similar goals.
Finally, the FMA relies on grassroots efforts by our members. We work to inform physicians about developments that threaten access to care. Consequently, the FMA sent numerous advocacy alerts related to the sequestration cuts, budget-neutrality cuts, the No Surprises Act, and other topics of importance to the practice of medicine. Thanks to the work of our members and other physicians across the nation, nearly all the Medicare payment cuts that were set to take effect on Jan. 1 of this year were averted. However, any cut is unacceptable. The FMA is planning more meetings with key lawmakers to discuss the sustainability of the Medicare program.
In short, the FMA has expanded its reach into a wider range of federal policy issues that affect Florida’s physicians. As we continue this important work, please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.