Advocacy Update

March 12, 2021: State Advocacy Update


Legislation now under consideration in the Indiana House of Representatives would have a direct, positive impact to help physicians experiencing burnout and support physician wellness in an evidence-based, confidential manner.

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Thanks to the advocacy work led by the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA), the bill unanimously passed the Indiana Senate 47-0. It was modeled after legislation passed into law in Virginia that was led by the Medical Society of Virginia in 2020.

“The need for physician wellness has never been greater,” said ISMA Executive Vice President Julie Reed, JD. “With this legislation, if it becomes law as it had in Virginia, Indiana physicians will finally have a ‘safe space’ in which they can voluntarily and proactively seek out confidential care without fear of adversely impacting their careers.”

The AMA this week joined ISMA (PDF) in support of the bill that statutorily defines physician wellness programs in Indiana. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Further the goal of supporting physicians who seek professional support to address career fatigue, burnout and behavioral health concerns with important confidentiality and immunity protections
  • Enable physicians, who may avoid seeking help in other programs because of the fear of potential negative repercussions, to get the help they need
  • Preserve the important role the medical licensing board plays in protecting public safety

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, physician burnout was already a major challenge for the U.S. health care system, impacting nearly every aspect of clinical care,” said AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, in a letter to leaders in the Indiana House of Representatives. “Physicians are among the most resilient, but the pressures and responsibilities affecting physicians do not always allow for opportunities for them to seek help or focus on what they need to remain resilient and healthy.”

Learn more about AMA efforts (PDF) to support confidential care to support physician health and wellness, including legislative and other actions taken by state and county medical societies.