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January 2016
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  • Turning the Page from 2015 to 2016: Highlights and What to Expect on the Legislative Front

    2015 featured some big headlines for ISMS. We are proud of our success in stopping our state government from legislating clinical guidelines on Hepatitis C, bringing sound medical judgment to legislation addressing opioid and heroin abuse, and drawing a line in the sand to keep peer review confidential.

    In addition to these highlights, we were able to advance several other important priorities for Illinois physicians in 2015.  The following links provide summaries of a few of the laws that took effect Jan. 1, and look ahead to what ISMS expects to contend with in Springfield this year.

  •  ISMS-Backed Laws New for 2016

    Many of Illinois' new health care laws began with ideas from individual physicians, which were brought through their county medical societies to the ISMS House of Delegates and then amplified through ISMS’ legislative power.

    Reimbursement for Surgical Assistants

    In certain care-delivery settings, services rendered by surgical assistants were not being properly reimbursed. HB 2763 remedied this issue and ensures payment at the appropriate non-physician modifier rate.

    Expanded Access to Topical Eye Medication  

    It is not uncommon for some patients to experience difficulty when administering certain topical eye medications, which sometimes leads to medication spills during application. Insurance refill rules prevented many of these patients from accessing a refill when medication was accidentally wasted during application. HB 3137 remedies this problem by allowing early refills.

    Good Samaritan Act Expansion

    ISMS successfully supported improvements to the Good Samaritan Act. Under SB 1498, the definition of "free medical clinic" was expanded to included local health departments utilizing members of the federal Volunteer Reserve Corps, as long as the care doesn't involve an overnight stay.

    Advance Care Planning

    With the adoption of the "Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment" (POLST) form, patients are better able to articulate their advance care planning decisions. Because of advancements to the form’s flexibility, the phrase "do-not-resuscitate" has been removed from the form's title. Also, physicians can now allow collaborating nurse practitioners and physician assistants to sign the order – hence the use of "practitioner" in the title – which should increase use of the form.

    The Power of Attorney Care Act was amended to grant a named health care agent additional authority, and several ISMS-supported technical corrections were made to the law. 

    *On a related note, as a direct result of ISMS advocacy, Medicare payment for advance care planning kick in on Jan. 1.  Read more here.

    Immunization for Child Care Workers

    Under SB 986 no person may be employed by a child care facility caring for children age six and under without showing proof of vaccination for Tdap and MMR.

    A full recap of ISMS 2015 legislative advocacy can be viewed here.

     ISMS 2016 Agenda

    Despite failing to pass the FY 2016 budget and to address a myriad of challenges facing our state, the Illinois General Assembly will meet in a restricted session schedule due to the upcoming election cycle. ISMS is prepared for the coming legislative session and has identified several priorities that will protect and advance the interests of physicians and patients.

    Defending Scope of Practice

    Even with our success preventing scope-of-practice encroachments last year, we are preparing for another round of professionals seeking to practice medicine through legislation rather than training. Certified professional midwives and naturopaths are likely to seek licensure again this year. Similarly, we are preparing for efforts by licensed professionals to inappropriately expand their practice, putting patients at risk.

    Opposing Medical Mandates

    ISMS vehemently opposes the imposition of practice mandates through legislation. We expect several efforts to emerge that would dictate how physicians practice and infringe on the physician-patient relationship. We also expect legislative mandates obliging physicians to take specific continuing medical education coursework that may not be applicable to your specially

    Fighting for Fair Reimbursement

    Addressing payment delays for care provided to state employees and maintaining a fair workers' compensation fee schedule are high on our priority list for the coming year.

    Watch Physician Advocate for session updates and follow @ISMSLegislative on Twitter for the very latest news.

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