MSMS Backs Bills Protecting Patients', Physicians' Right to Care

News & Media

MSMS Backs Bills Protecting Patients', Physicians' Right to Care

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Physicians Praise Lawmakers, Launch www.Right2Care.org to Prioritize Patient Care, Reform Out-of-State Maintenance of Certification Rules

Physicians with the Michigan State Medical Society praised lawmakers in the state House and Senate for a critical new effort to protect Michigan patients' right to high quality health care from the physician of their choice, and physicians' right and responsibility to deliver high quality care to their patients.

MSMS also today formally launched a new website, www.Right2Care.org, in support of the important legislation.

Patients' and physicians' right to care is at risk because of a duplicative bureaucratic process known as "Maintenance of Certification" (MOC). MOC requires physicians to spend hundreds of hours away from the exam and operating room, while imposing tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs on physicians, driving up the cost of health care for patients. The requirements also may force many patients to leave the physicians they've come to know and trust.

Senate Bills 608 and 609, sponsored by state Sen. Peter MacGregor, and House Bills 5090 and 5091, sponsored by state Rep. Ed Canfield, were introduced late last year.

Under the legislation, health plans would not be permitted to force patients to find a new physician simply because their current physician does not participate in costly, third-party-run Maintenance of Certification procedures.

"Maintenance of Certification red tape and insurance company policies far too often stand in between physicians and their patients," said MSMS President Rose M. Ramirez, MD, "That's not just a hassle -- that's dangerous."

As physicians' careers advance, they take part in continuing medical education programs that help them keep current with advancements in medicine and patient care. The costs of this testing and training are paid by each physician, and are necessary to allow them to practice in Michigan.

The American Board of Internal Medicine has for decades made huge profits, funneling Michigan health care dollars out-of-state, through regular, additional, duplicative and unnecessary Maintenance of Certification.

Now, some health plans and insurance companies in Michigan are threatening to cut off patients' access to their highly trained, highly qualified physicians unless those physicians jump through bureaucratic hoops.

"Michigan physicians' number one focus is our patients," said Megan M. Edison, MD, a Grand Rapids-area pediatrician. "Continuing education is critical, and it's happening without costly maintenance of certification bureaucracies that limit physicians' time with their patients and drive up the costs of health care."

Said Doctor Ramirez: "It isn't always easy to find a new physician, and when patients find one they trust, they should have every right to stick with that physician. Onerous and expensive MOC policies shouldn't stand in the way of patients and their physicians. These bills will ensure they don't."

More information about MOC can be found on MSMS's new website, www.Right2Care.org, launched today to educate patients, physicians, and lawmakers about the dangers of Maintenance of Certification and the importance of reform in Lansing. The website feature information for patients and physicians, testimonials, and opportunities for voters to contact their lawmakers.

The Michigan State Medical Society is a professional association of more than 15,000 Michigan physicians. Its mission is to promote a health care environment which supports physicians in caring for, and enhancing the health of Michigan citizens through science, quality, and ethics in the practice of medicine. Please visit www.msms.org for more information.