A bill awaiting a hearing in the Delaware Senate would provide important confidentiality and other protections for physicians seeking care for burnout and wellness.
Senate Bill 300, which is strongly supported by the Medical Society of Delaware and the AMA, “makes clear distinctions that seeking care for wellness or related issues is not the same as being impaired,” wrote AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara, MD (PDF).
The AMA’s support for S.B. 300 is part of a national advocacy effort (PDF) to enact legislation and support other policies that remove stigma and punitive repercussions for physicians who seek care for burnout. This also includes AMA’s strong support for the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act and additional AMA resources.
The AMA supports S.B. 300 because it makes clear distinctions that seeking care for wellness or related issues is not the same as being impaired. This distinction will encourage physicians to seek care because S.B. 300 specifically protects physicians who seek care from punitive actions such as loss of professional privileges. The bill also wisely retains the state’s interest in protecting patient safety if impairment does exist.
S.B. 300 is currently awaiting a committee hearing.
On May 25, CMS approved actions in California, Florida, Kentucky and Oregon to expand Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage to 12 months postpartum. The AMA applauds these states for prioritizing maternal health and is hopeful that others follow suit. This extension provides over 120,000 more families with guaranteed coverage as they navigate this critical postpartum period. Nearly half of all births in the United States are to women who required public insurance and many of those people are African American and Alaskan Native/American Indian.
Insurance coverage disruptions are one of many factors that contribute to high rates of maternal mortality among the Medicaid-eligible population. This action addresses the coverage gaps women from minoritized and marginalized communities face and the subsequent disparity in the maternal mortality rate. The AMA supports the extension of Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum and has provided comments (PDF) on the importance of the matter.
The expansion of coverage in California, Kentucky and Oregon was made possible by a new state plan opportunity included in the American Rescue Plan. Florida will offer its coverage through a Medicaid and CHIP section 1115 demonstration.
The AMA thanks these states and CMS for this investment in maternal care and looks forward to the permanent extension of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage to 12 months postpartum.