On September 24-25, 2016, the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) held their annual convention. Well over 100 physicians gathered from all across Indiana to speak and vote on resolutions put forth this year. Resolutions from all across the spectrum were brought up, including: physician assisted suicide, medical cannabis legalization, maintenance of certification (MOC), community medication disposal, and needle/syringe disposal, and my own resolution on direct primary care (DPC). The ISMA was fortunate to have Dr. Andrew W. Gurman, 171st President of the American Medical Association in attendance. I, along with Chad Curtis, a 3rd Year MUCOM student and MUCOM-BRI chapter secretary, represented the Benjamin Rush Institute (BRI).
“I encourage all BRI medical students to get involved in healthcare policy at the state level, as it does affect all doctors and patients. It is a great platform to spread free market ideas and create a medical environment where the patient-doctor relationship can thrive.” ~Trenton Schmale, BRI-Founder & President, MUCOM
Chad and I were two of four voting delegates for the Medical Student Section, and we also both sat on reference committees. Chad sat on the Constitution and Bylaws reference committee, which discussed resolutions pertaining to the ISMA constitution. I sat on the Socio-Economic and Regulatory reference committee, which discussed Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program (INSPECT) reporting, Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, MOC, and supporting physician-owned hospitals. We listened to authors present resolutions, and met to discuss amendments, as well as if the resolutions should be accepted or rejected by the ISMA.
The morning of September 24, I presented my resolution: Resolution 16-41 Direct Primary Care, to the Reference Committee 2 on Legislative Issues. My resolution’s resolves are designed a) to define DPC to be outside the scope of state insurance regulation, b) create a mechanism in Indiana to allow Medicaid patients access to DPC (similar to Qliance), and c) have the AMA seek federal changes to Internal Revenue Code 213(d) and 223(c), allowing health savings accounts to be used with DPC, and allowing payments to DPC physicians to be considered a “qualified medical expense.”
My resolution’s support data mostly came from BRI-Georgetown leader Danny McCorry’s Heritage Foundation DPC research paper. After I presented, a number of doctors spoke in support of the resolution’s ideas, but were confused with the wording of the resolves. As a relatively new topic for many, physician delegates wanted to learn more. Ultimately, the resolution went to the Board of Trustees for further study, and will be voted on again at next year’s convention. Hopefully, their study will reaffirm my resolution, and it will pass IMSA next year, then go on to the state legislature.
This is the third ISMA convention I have attended while in medical school, and the first for which I’ve written and submitted a resolution. It has really helped me understand the process of how healthcare policy works at the state level. At last year’s BRI Leadership Conference, Dr. Meg Edison, a private practice pediatrician, blogger and activist talked about how she became involved in her state medical association and state healthcare policy. Her talk really encouraged me to stay involved at the state/local level, and see if I can bring any positive change.
I encourage all BRI medical students to get involved with their state medical associations, as what happens there does affect all doctors and patients. It is a great platform to spread free market ideas and create a medical environment where the patient-doctor relationship can thrive.