IOWA OSTEOPATHIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
2017 Legislative Agenda
The Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association (IOMA) represents osteopathic physicians dedicated to serving their patients. IOMA supports legislation that will ensure that Iowans have access to high quality affordable health care.
Iowa continues to face difficulties in the availability of mental health services. IOMA is eager to work with the Legislature to come up with solutions to the mental health crisis.
IOMA supports a broad initiative to train more osteopathic psychiatrists and to encourage their broad dissemination across the state..
MEDICAL LIABILITY REFORM
While the Iowa professional liability insurance market has seen some recent improvements, physicians still have fewer carriers to choose from and some insurers are continuing to place new restrictions on the procedures they will cover. Physicians continue to limit the services they provide in an effort to control their premiums and exposure to malpractice suits. Fear of lawsuits causes physicians to practice defensive medicine which continues to increase the cost of healthcare for everyone. Physicians looking to practice in Iowa take into consideration the cost of professional liability insurance which is higher than any of the surrounding states.
HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE/ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY CARE
It is no secret that Iowa’s healthcare workforce is aging. Recent studies suggest that in addition to replacing retiring physicians Iowa will need 300 more primary care physicians by the year 2020. It is also true that as Iowa’s population shifts from rural to urban population centers; rural areas face the greatest challenges in attracting and retaining physicians.
Des Moines University
Des Moines University has been a reliable source of high quality physicians for Iowa for over 100 years. IOMA supports the use of State funds, either directly or through scholarships, for DMU as a mechanism to increase the number of DMU graduates practicing in Iowa.
Graduate Medical Education
One of the most effective ways to attract new physicians to Iowa is to train physicians in Iowa. Osteopathic and allopathic physicians are educated, trained and certified on separate but parallel tracks. Both physician professions have their own medical school accreditation entity, postgraduate training authority, and certification boards that are equally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
IOMA supports the investigation and debate of GME payment policies that reflect the contributions of parties other than the federal government. While IOMA believes that GME is an inherent “public good” and that the federal government should continue to subsidize the training of physicians, IOMA recognizes that other parties benefit as well. To this end, IOMA continues to encourage debate focused on the potential establishment of alternate GME financing mechanisms that rely upon all parties involved with a majority of funding continuing to be provided by the federal government.
IOMA supports state funding in the form of grants and low interest loans to hospitals and other entities willing to start new residency training programs where none exist. IOMA also supports efforts to expand Iowa’s health workforce through workforce incentives and forgivable loans.
Wellness has been at the core of osteopathic medicine since its founding. Osteopathic physicians are educated and trained in the prevention of diseases and treatments to help the body maintain its health. Many studies have shown that a small investment in wellness pays big dividends in the form of less spending on treatments and improved worker productivity. IOMA supports legislation that would require all third party payers to provide coverage for recognized, cost-effective preventative services.
IOMA also recognizes that individuals must take responsibility for their own health. IOMA strongly supports the Governor’s Healthiest State Initiative and the funding for programs to teach patients good health habits such as diet, exercise, and smoking cessation.