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Public Policy & Advocacy

 

Advocacy Day Online

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
10:00 AM to Noon
Via Zoom Conference

Dear MA Chapter Members,  

Please join us for Advocacy Day Online via Zoom conference tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th. We hope you will join us for a very interesting discussion on important legislation at the State House. Our discussion will be featuring Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, an internist and national expert on single-payer healthcare system. Featured legislation will be on the elimination of the religious exemption for vaccination, addressing high prescription drug costs, and encouraging treatment of substance use disorder by ensuring that a person on probation with substance use disorder would not be re-incarcerated for relapse if that is the only infraction. See below for the schedule and information to connect.

While the most anticipated part of the Advocacy Day is the opportunity to meet with legislators, this is obviously not possible given COVID-19. Meetings with most legislators have been canceled. We are planning to speak by phone with key legislators for the bills we are discussing during the afternoon of March 17. 

We encourage all members especially those that attend this Advocacy Day Online meeting to reach out to their own legislators via phone (preferred) or email to advocate for these bills on and after March 17 given these issues are time sensitive. Please see below for links to background information (leave behinds) that you can send to them as well as phone call and email templates for you to use.

If you plan to participate online, please RSVP to Chapter Administrator, Lynda Layer at llayer@mms.org or reach out with any questions.  

Agenda Plus Leave Behinds
Advocacy Day Leave Behind
Issues Leave Behind with Phone and Email Templates

 

ADVOCACY DAY Online

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

10:00 am – 12:00 noon

Via Zoom Conference

 

AGENDA

10:00 am

Welcome – Drs. Stephanie Titus and Aisha James

10:05 am

State of Healthcare in MA – Brendan Abel, Esq, Director, Advocacy & Government Relations, Massachusetts Medical Society

10:20 am

H.1343/S.937 An Act relative to treatment, not imprisonment – Lisa Simon, DMD

10:40 am

Addressing Prescription Drug Costs - Alyssa Vangeli, Health Care For All, Co-Director, Policy and Government Relations

11:00 am

H.3999 An Act relative to vaccinations and public health – Representative Andres Vargas (3rd Essex); Robert Goldstein, MD, PhD, Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital

11:20 am

Keynote Speaker – Stephanie Woolhandler, MD

11:40 am

How to talk to legislators – Zoe Tseng, MD, FACP

12:00 pm

Wrap up and Adjourn

 

 

To Connect to the meeting

​​​​​​Join Zoom Meeting

Phone one-tap:

US: +16699006833,,215856162# or +19294362866,,215856162#

Meeting URL:

https://massmed.zoom.us/j/215856162

Meeting ID:

215 856 162

Join by Telephone

For higher quality, dial a number based on your current location.

Dial:


US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 929 436 2866 or 877 369 0926 (Toll Free) or 877 853 5247 (Toll Free)

Meeting ID:

215 856 162

 

Question:

Contact Lynda Layer at llayer@mms.org

 


Action Alert

Dear MA ACP members,

Last Tuesday, December 3, 2019 was the hearing for An Act Relative to Vaccines and Public Health (H.3999), which removes the religious vaccination exemption for children entering schools in Massachusetts and it maintains medical exemptions. It was a very lengthy hearing so we were unable to testify in person, however, our Chapter has submitted written testimony in support of this bill.

The hearing involved hours of testimony from physicians, community organizations, and individuals both in support and opposition to the bill. There was an overwhelming presence of families that are against the state requiring that their children be vaccinated and they spoke of the emotional and financial toll of taking care of their children whom they felt were harmed by vaccines. They argued that MA vaccination rates are some of the highest in the country and urged to leave non-medical vaccine exemptions in place.

As internists, we believe we can demonstrate to our legislators why it is critical that all eligible people are vaccinated universally. Moreover, we can illustrate to them the personal toll infectious diseases have on our patients, communities, and health care system.

We ask that you contact the Joint Committee on Public Health to pass this bill today. The Committee is currently gathering testimony and information to make their decision in the coming weeks so your outreach must be timely. To make this as easy as possible, we have provided email and phone call templates below you can adapt. Phone calls can be more effective than emails but any outreach to these legislators is helpful. We strongly encourage you to include a patient story to emphasize the personal impact this bill will have on your patients as this can be very influential to legislators.

H.3999, An Act relative to vaccinations and public health

If you want more information about this or have any questions, please email Zoe Tseng at zoe.tseng@gmail.com.

Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of all of our patients in Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

Zoe Tseng, MD, FACP
Aisha James MD
Co-Chairs, Massachusetts ACP Chapter Health and Public Policy Committee

Elisa Choi, MD, FACP, FIDSA
Governor, Massachusetts ACP Chapter

Please contact all the members of the Joint Committee on Public Health, in particular the Chairs. https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/J16


 

Dear MA ACP members,

There are 2 upcoming bill hearings at the State House on issues the MA ACP Health and Public Policy Committee (HPPC) feel are very important to our members.

1) We support universal vaccination of our patients by advocating for An Act Relative to Vaccines and Public Health (H.3999), which removes the religious vaccination exemption for children entering schools in Massachusetts and it maintains medical exemptions.

2) We support our immigrant patients by advocating for An Act to Protect the Civil Rights and Safety of All Massachusetts Residents (S.1401/H.3573 Safe Communities Act), which would prevent local law enforcement from asking about a person's immigration status unless it is required by law.

Further information about these bills can be found in the pdfs BELOW. We ask that you contact your legislators about these bills today. To make this as easy as possible, we have provided email and phone call templates on the website for each bill that you can adapt. Phone calls can be more effective than emails but any outreach to your legislator is helpful. We encourage you to include a patient story to emphasize the personal impact this bill will have on your patients.

The hearings for these bills will take place on Monday and Tuesday, December 2-3, 2019 so it is crucial that you contact your legislator today. We also encourage members to testify as individuals at the hearing for these bills. If you want more information about this or have any questions, please email Zoe Tseng at zoe.tseng@gmail.com.

Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of all of our patients in Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

Zoe Tseng, MD, FACP
Aisha James MD
Co-Chairs, Massachusetts ACP Chapter Health and Public Policy Committee

Shela Sridhar, MD
Chair, Immigrant and Refugee Health Subcommittee of the Massachusetts ACP Chapter Health and Public Policy Committee

Elisa Choi, MD, FACP, FIDSA
Governor, Massachusetts ACP Chapter

An Act Relative to Vaccines and Public Health (H.3999)
     Fact Sheet – An Act Relative to Vaccines and Public Health (H.3999)
     Email and Phone Script Templates
An Act to Protect the Civil Rights and Safety of All Massachusetts Residents (S.1401/H.3573 Safe Communities Act) 
     
Email and phone Script Templates


 

MISSION:

Our mission is to advocate for policy that improves the quality and effectiveness of health care in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and that promotes the practice of medicine.

The committee has 25-30 members that meet at least quarterly to discuss policy issues and advocate for them through various efforts including speaking with legislators and providing education to Chapter members, policy makers, and the general public.

We currently have five subcommittees: Advocacy Day at the State House, Advocacy Education, Immigrant and Refugee Health, Opioid Use Disorder, and Prescription Drug Costs.

  • Advocacy Day - This subcommittee is responsible for organizing Advocacy Day at the State House, including selecting legislation and speakers. They also organize the meetings between participating members and their state legislators to discuss important legislation.
  • Advocacy Education - This subcommittee is dedicated to bringing training in various advocacy skills to chapter members. Our goal is for members to feel well-equipped to tackle issues affecting their patients and practice through various forms of advocacy.
  • Immigrant & Refugee Health - This subcommittee is focused on improving the healthcare of our immigrant and refugee patients through education and advocacy.
  • Opioid Use Disorder - This subcommittee is focused on addressing the opioid epidemic by increasing access to care through education and advocacy.
  • Prescription Drug Cost - This subcommittee is focused on addressing rising prescription drug costs and its impact on patient care through advocacy.

HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prescription Drug Pricing subcommittee has been working closely with Senator Montigny to advocate for prescription drug price transparency legislation at the State House. They provided testimony at the State House in July 2017 on the impact of rising prescription drug costs on patients and published an op-ed on KevinMD.com in November 2017 advocating for the State Senate to support stronger provisions in legislation on prescription drug costs.

The opioid use disorder committee organized a CME program on May 8, 2018 “You Can Do It: Buprenorphine Prescribing in Primary Care,” which presented multiple viewpoints on prescribing buprenorphine in primary care and different models of care that can make it successful and rewarding.

 


    Advocacy Resources

    Learn more about ACP’s advocacy work including stances on key health policy issues. 

    Get involved! Join the Advocates for Internal Medicine Network (AIMn) or attend the annual Leadership Day in Washington, D.C.

    Stay informed:

    Hear Dr. Dan Levy's interview with his local NPR station and read our chapter's Ten Priorities for Payment and Practice Reform with a Focus on Primary Care: A Policy Statement.

    Massachusetts Contacts


     




       

      Leadership Day on Capitol Hill

      After careful consideration, ACP has made the necessary and responsible decision to cancel its annual Leadership Day, scheduled to be held in Washington, DC on May 12-13, 2020. The Executive Committee of the Board of Regents made the determination that we could not effectively go forward with Leadership Day and the related meetings that were to be held that week.

      ACP’s decision is based on recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of rapidly escalating concerns about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and in recognition of the vital role of internal medicine physicians in diagnosing, managing and caring for their patients and communities on the front lines. In addition, due to the public health concerns, congressional offices are also taking steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.  At this time, several lawmakers are under self-quarantine; congressional staff could also be inaccessible due to telework, quarantine, or restrictions on visitors entering congressional buildings.

      At this point in time, ACP does not believe it will be feasible to reschedule Leadership Day as a face-to-face meeting in 2020, especially given the shortened congressional calendar that typically comes with an election year.  We are exploring ways to virtually offer advocacy and issue training online and perhaps a virtual advocacy day, and will send out information later should we determine that this is feasible. Read more. 


      Advocacy Resources

      Where the College Stands on key health policy issues, news and recent policy changes.

      Visit Legislative Action Center for more information about the new Advocates for Internal Medicine Network (AIMn) and the Richard Neubauer Advocate for Internal Medicine Award.

      State Health Policy Pages

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