Feb. 23, 2024: State Advocacy Update

. 4 MIN READ

Since its foundation in 1974, New York’s Committee for Physician Health (CPH), the state physician health program (PHP), has provided confidential support for burnout, substance use disorder and mental illness to countless physicians, residents, medical students and physician assistants—including more than 7,300 physicians.

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Now, it faces possible elimination due to a legislative proposal that did not include funding for the CPH. The AMA joined the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), Federation of State Physician Health Programs, Federation of State Medical Boards and many other organizations calling for restoration of the budget and a commitment to support the CPH. 

“Eliminating this program would be a devastating blow because of the important work CPH is doing to assist physicians, medical students and physician assistants in confronting addiction, burnout and mental illness, and most importantly, helping them return safely to delivering patient care when they are healthy,” said a sign-on letter (PDF) from MSSNY and multiple physician specialty societies.  

The AMA strongly supports PHPs to help ensure physician health amid growing rates of burnout and psychological stress, as well as treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders. These programs help ensure physicians receive evidence-based care while protecting patient safety.  

“Restoring a physician’s health and career provides multiple benefits to New York, including supporting a healthy and safe workforce and ensuring that health care practitioners know they can and should seek help before a treatable condition results in potential tragedy,” said AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, MD. 

Read Dr. Madara’s full letter (PDF). 

The drug-related overdose and death epidemic in the United States continues to worsen, primarily due to synthetic opioids—especially illicitly manufactured fentanyl. 

Nebraska Legislative Bill (LB) 1325 would help save lives from unintentional overdose by allowing pharmacists and local public health departments to sell or distribute fentanyl test strips. 

“The evidence in support of increased access to fentanyl test strips shows multiple benefits,” writes AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, MD, in a letter (PDF) supporting LB 1325. “This includes reduced overdose risk, changes in drug use behavior, and increased connections to life-saving services.” 

In the letter, the AMA also encouraged the Nebraska Legislature to take additional steps to strengthen the legislation and save additional lives. This includes broadening the drug checking supplies included in the legislation beyond those that test for illicitly manufactured fentanyl. For example, there has been an increase in overdose-related deaths involved xylazine—an animal tranquilizer not approved for use in humans—in combination with fentanyl. 

As states continue their legislative sessions this year, what trends are emerging related to three key issues affecting patients and physicians: prior authorization, scope of practice and physician wellness? How do all of these topics impact the quality and timely delivery of patient care? How are legislators and regulators shifting their approaches to these issues?  

Moderated by Willie Underwood III, MD, MSc, MPH, chair of the AMA Board of Trustees, hear the latest in this Advocacy Insights webinar on March 5 at 10 a.m. Central time from a panel of AMA attorneys who work hand in hand on these issues and more with state and specialty medical societies: 

  • Daniel Blaney-Koen, JD, senior attorney, Advocacy Resource Center, AMA 
  • Emily Carroll, JD, senior attorney, Advocacy Resource Center, AMA 
  • Kimberly Horvath, JD, senior attorney, Advocacy Resource Center, AMA 
  • Michaela Sternstein, JD, vice president, Advocacy Resource Center, AMA 

Register now.

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