Go to the MOC Action Center and contact the Banking and Insurance Committee to “REPAIR SB 1354” – this will undo the FMA damage to MOC control.
Florida Doctors are losing the MOC fight in Tallahassee and it is in no small part due to a betrayal of Florida doctors by the Florida Medical Association. Yesterday in the Senate Health Policy Committee the FMA wrote, proposed and supported language that completely deleted the entire MOC bill and replaced it with law to make MOC a government function in the state of Florida. That is right, rather than insisting that the MOC bill pass as is, the FMA decided to support deleting it. The FMA will argue that without their language, the bill would have died in the Senate as it never would have been given a committee hearing and a vote. This begs the question: is the FMA – the largest, most storied Medical advocacy organization in Florida history – incapable to moving a bill that parrots their own policy and responds to one of the deepest concerns of Florida doctors? Why can’t the FMA simply tell the Senators who they helped elect that the MOC control bill was a top priority and they would go to battle to protect doctors from the insurance companies and hospitals that demand the bill fail? The answer is that the FMA has been soft on critical issues for doctors for the last several years and has a recent history of betraying its own policy so it can remain relevant to the power brokers in Tallahassee. The FMA is willing to sacrifice the clearly stated needs and interests of Florida doctors for its own benefit.
What happened? The MOC control bill (SB 1354/HB723) is moving well in the House thanks to sponsor Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D. (R-Venice). They bill overcame opposition from the insurance and hospital lobbies at its first House committee stop with an 11-4 vote. However the Senators have been getting worked hard by insurance companies, hospitals and the ABMS against MOC. The Bill would prohibit hospitals and insurance companies from requiring doctors from participating in MOC to practice as part of medical staff and insurance panels. The bill would also prohibit MOC as a requirement to achieve state licensure. The FMA claims they were advised that opposition to the bill meant that there would be no hearing without some “compromise” language.
However, the FMA did not come up with compromise language. Rather, it proposed and supported and amendment that removed ALL of the MOC control language in the bill. The FMA amendment substituted the entire bill with language that empowered the Florida department of health (DOH) to determine what MOC means. The original FMA language grants the DOH with the ability to determine what requirements for MOC would be. This of course would allow all Board certifying entities and allies to get the DOH to put their seal of approval on their MOC program. On cue, another amendment was presented, supported by the Florida Hospital Association (*see dangerous amendment language below), that would then state that a DOH-approved MOC entity must have “Quality Improvement Program” addressing patient safety, population health and “value” (meaning cost). This would not have been possible without the original FMA amendment. The FMA, in their attempt to satisfy some politicians, gutted a good bill and provided the sword by which the Boards could then get the state of Florida to further disable doctors through MOC. By the way, their amendment and failure to fight for MOC control violates their own policy that states the FMA will support Legislation to ensure that “health care providers shall not be required, by any public or private entity to comply with maintenance of certification requirements after achieving initial board certification”.
Way to go FMA.
Florida doctors are going to need to call the FMA and get them to fix the massive damage they caused. Florida doctors should contact their officers and legislative staff and tell them “Support the original bill language”. There is an opportunity to get the original bill language reinstated in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee when they meet (if they take it up).
If the FMA can’t fix the damage they caused, they Florida Doctors need to reconsider whether they are worthy of the $450 dues. There has been one group standing up for Florida doctors without compromise: The Florida AAPS (A state chapter of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon). National dues of $350 grants automatic membership to the Florida chapter, however contributions are needed for our lobbying fund. The FMA also betrayed doctors by supporting MACRA (2015) (while profiting from building an ACO). The FMA supported the ban on so-called “Surprise Medical Billing” (2016) which meant that non-contracted doctors now must take what the insurance company pays for hospital care. The FMA supported legislation that expanded the ability of insurance companies to deny payment for reasonable care patients need (SB 784, 2015). Each of these FMA advocacy efforts directly violated FMA policy. The FMA is now completing its transformation into the AMA and doctors should look to the Florida AAPS for a better advocate for their interests.
” * 9 (i) It has a practice improvement program to encourage
10 continued improvement within medical practice. The program must
11 focus on recent scientific developments, improved patient
12 safety, improved patient or population health outcomes, improved
13 access to health care, improved patient experience, and
14 increased value to the health care system. The program must
15 require physician participation in practice improvement programs
16 within the context of the health care team and system of