Arizona Physician

Arizona Physician

2017 Legislature Launches

Opening Day for the 2017 Legislative session is on Monday, January 9th and we are excited to share information and resources with Arizona physicians in this new publication! Look for us to provide updates and insights each month during the legislative session.

In this edition, we will be sharing our insights on the issues we expect to face this session, identifying key legislative members for health issues, and providing an overview of opportunities for you to engage in the process.

Scope of practice for health professions is determined at the state level. Since 1985 Arizona has had an established process, called the sunrise process, to provide a mechanism for both health and non-health professionals to request regulation and expansion of scope of practice. The sunrise process begins by a group filing an application which should demonstrate the need for regulation or increased scope of practice. For health professionals, the applications are heard by the Health Committees of Reference (“COR”) consisting of members from both the Senate and House Health Committees. The COR meets outside of the regular legislative session in order to give increased focus and attention to these complicated matters.

We have seen the first set of issues crop up during the sunrise process which evaluates regulation and scope of practice issues for health professionals. Scope of practice issues are one of the most persistent and challenging issues facing physicians today; we have seen a growing demand by a broad array of non-physician providers to expand the scope of their practices into new areas of patient care. These issues have great implications for health care and patients.

The changes in our healthcare system and delivery, changes in physician practices, increased healthcare demands and evolving physician-led care tend to make these issues extremely complicated. Thus, they must be reviewed and evaluated from a multitude of perspectives, including: patient safety, quality of care, coordination of care, training and education, access to care, cost effectiveness of care, political forces, and changing federal policies.

This year, nine sunrise applications have been filed. They are summarized below.

Requests for expansion of scope of practice:
1. Arizona Association of Nurse Anesthetists – a renewed effort to address the “direction” and “presence” requirements in their law and address the DEA number issue.
2. Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association (two applications) – requests for authority to sign medical exemptions for required immunizations and to permit the use of IV antibiotics.
3. Arizona Pharmacy Association – multiple requests: to allow pharmacists to administer oral fluoride varnish, to administer and interpret TB tests, to prescribe both OTC and prescription tobacco cessation products, to prescribe medications to patients testing positive for influenza or strep throat, administer and interpret strep throat and influenza tests, and to extend a routine, non-controlled, chronic medication for an additional 30-60 days.
4. The CORE Institute (regarding Podiatrists) – request to perform toe amputations.
Requests for regulation:
1. Arizona Art Therapy Association – request to create a new professional regulatory framework for art therapists.
2. Arizona Community Health Worker Association– request to create a voluntary professional certification framework for community health workers.
3. Dental Care for AZ (regarding Dental Therapists) – request to create a new midlevel dental provider category (dental therapist).
4. Lauren Moore (regarding Phlebotomists) – request to create a new professional regulatory framework for phlebotomists.
Beyond the sunrise applications, there are numerous other health-related issues that the Arizona Medical Association (ArMA) is currently engaged in and will likely be addressed in some capacity during the 2017 legislative session. These include: surprise billings, health-related board reforms, addressing the opioid epidemic, and the future of health care reform (“repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act and the future of Medicaid/AHCCCS expansion).

As the legislative session begins and bills are introduced, we will know the additional areas of healthcare legislation that legislators and interest groups are pursing. ArMA fights and advocates for YOU, Arizona physicians, and your patients. Our lobbying team tracks hundreds of bills throughout the legislative session and is a strong and powerful advocate for solutions based on the best interests of physicians and patients. Please make sure to check back for future updates regarding the 2017 legislative session.

As we work to educate legislators on healthcare issues, it is important to know who the key leaders are on these issues. This starts with the Health committees in the Arizona House and Senate. This year’s Committees include the following members. Are you a constituent of any of these legislators?

Members of the House Health Committee
Chairman – Heather Carter, R-LD15
Vice Chair – Regina Cobb, R-LD5
Jay Lawrence, R-LD23
Tony Rivero, R-LD21
Maria Syms, R-LD28
Michelle Udall, R-LD25
Kelli Butler, D-LD28
Oteniel Navarrete, D-LD30
Pamela Powers Hannley, D-LD9
Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee
Chairman – Nancy Barto, R-LD15
Vice Chair – Kate Brophy McGee, R-LD28
Debbie Lesko – R-LD21
Steve Montenegro, R-LD13
Kimberly Yee, R-LD20
David Bradley, D-LD10
Katie Hobbs, D-LD24
Not sure of your legislative district? Find it using the Arizona District Locator:
http://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/. You can reach out to your legislators in several ways:
• Review the updated azleg.gov website to locate contact information for your legislators.
• Sign up for the Arizona Legislative Information System (ALIS) and its “Request to Speak” function to provide public input on specific bills
• Engage with your legislators on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
• Interested in an issue and want to serve as a resource for our advocacy and education efforts? Contact me directly at pele@azmed.org.
The ArMA flagship “Doctor of the Day Program” offers a wonderful opportunity to enhance the visibility of the medical profession and to create collaboration between doctors and elected officials whose decisions impact the way medicine is practiced in Arizona. The Doctor of the Day Program runs from January through April, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Doctor of the Day provides invaluable medical assistance should any emergency arise at the Capitol complex. The doctors attend committee meetings, watch sessions of the House and Senate and meet with their district legislators to offer their views on issues which affect their patient’s ability to receive quality health care and their ability to provide it. To learn more about the program, contact Ingrid Garvey, ArMA’s AVP of Policy & Political Affairs at (602) 347-6905 or igarvey@azmed.org.

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