Key Priorities

ISMS' Agenda to support Illinois physicians and patients.

Ensure that health insurance companies support rather than obstruct patient access to care.

Physicians are committed to working closely with their patients to promote health and well-being, and to achieve the best outcomes possible. Many health insurance companies, however, continue to exert unacceptable power and influence over access to care and medical decision-making, all in their efforts to streamline costs and demand that physicians provide “value-based care” (as defined by their actuaries, and not physicians).

Strengthened enforcement of laws aimed to ensure health plans support patients’ needs, such as the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act and the Prior Authorization Reform Act, is critical to ensuring that Illinois patients have timely access to primary care physicians and physician specialists and can access the services and treatments recommended by those physicians without delay.

Support and promote programs that make practicing medicine in Illinois a desirable option and oppose legislative and regulatory mandates that create unreasonable hurdles for physicians.

Illinois ranks near the bottom third of states in terms of retention of medical students graduating from its medical schools. Illinois is home to nine medical schools and approximately 230 residency programs; yet, up to 70% of medical school graduates and more than 50% of residency program graduates move out of state, taking Illinois’ investment in their medical careers with them. ISMS will advocate for proposals that will improve the licensure process, provide incentives for physicians to practice in underserved areas, and positively address the causes of physician burnout.

Additionally, ISMS will oppose additional CME mandates and other burdensome requirements on physicians and medical practices. Numerous bills are introduced every year related to how physicians should learn about and treat certain medical conditions, how they communicate with patients, and what they should report to the state. Physicians are already subject to numerous mandates and administrative obligations -- Illinois does not need to add to the burden of practicing physicians by legislating the practice of medicine or mandating what specific content their CME requirement should include.

Preserve the role of physicians as leaders of the healthcare team.

Non-physician practitioners, such as advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, are valuable members of the healthcare team, but they do not have the education, training and expertise that is required to become a practicing physician. According to a 2021 national survey, 95% of registered voters said it was important to them for a physician to be involved in the diagnosis and treatment decisions for their healthcare. ISMS will continue to oppose legislation that inappropriately expands other healthcare professionals’ scope of practice.

Reform the Medicaid program to support increased physician participation and expand access to a broader range of physician specialists.

Approximately 25% of Illinoisans are enrolled in Medicaid, however, enrollees often have difficulty finding physicians who accept Medicaid patients and wait times for an appointment to see such physicians can be very long. Physician participation in the Medicaid program at the current reimbursement rates is unsustainable for many physicians in the state. Illinois must commit to ensuring sustained access to all physician services by increasing reimbursements to healthcare professionals.

Additionally, participating physicians (and patients) continue to experience administrative roadblocks and challenges in dealing with Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO), often resulting in care delays, payment denials, and unacceptable administrative hassles for both physicians and their patients. Illinois patients need a strong Medicaid program that physicians can commit to without jeopardizing their practices.

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