2018 State Legislative Conference

Advocacy Awards Spotlight Chapter Statehouse Wins

October 31, 2018 12:16 pm Scott Wilson Fort Lauderdale, Fla. –

Three hundred feet from a bright strip of Atlantic beach here, the AAFP's 2018 State Legislative Conference opened a day and a half of concentrated discussions by shining a light on exemplary legislative advances. Four state AFP chapters -- California, Kansas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina -- were named winners of this year's Leadership in State Government Advocacy Awards.

[steps and columns of statehouse]

The California AFP (CAFP) pointed to a statehouse punch list of victories that included protecting patient access to primary care, steering more medical students and residents toward family medicine, and increasing access to care for the underserved.

The CAFP successfully advocated for funding to create an all-payer claims database in the 2018-19 budget. Other chapter priorities reflected in California's 2018-19 budget, the chapter reported, included "medical student loan repayment, a major increase in Medi-Cal payment rates and a step toward establishing the infrastructure needed to measure primary care spending."

The Kansas AFP cited a successful push for tobacco-cessation funding. Kansas law now allows Medicaid recipients up to four quit attempts a year, and reimburses health care professionals for related services.

In Pennsylvania, a member survey was part of the chapter's ongoing efforts to reform prior authorization. In accepting his state's award, Brent Ennis, the Pennsylvania AFP's vice president of practice advocacy and government affairs, acknowledged a further breakthrough that recently occurred: an agreement(www.media.pa.gov) with commercial insurers that implements thresholds for prior authorization for patients fighting opioid addiction.

The South Carolina AFP arrived with an impressive recap of 2018 work, including a significant scope-of-practice victory. Thanks to legislation that took effect July 1,(www.scstatehouse.gov) it is now up to physicians to determine which medical acts can be performed by advanced practice registered nurses. Accepting his state's honor, Ralph Riley, M.D., of Saluda, S.C., outlined the new law -- and earned envious applause.

The AAFP Commission on Governmental Advocacy (CGA), led by chair Karen Smith, M.D., of Raeford, N.C., selected chapters for the awards. Nominations are submitted by chapters and reviewed by the CGA's Subcommittee on State Government Advocacy for recommendations to the full board and its chair.