Message Form The President
Our big news in Virginia is the final approval in July of new health regulations over office-based surgery. The Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons spearheaded these efforts, which were also supported by the Medical Society of Virginia and the Virginia Association of Family Physicians. We appreciate the hard work over the years of VASPS past presidents Lew Ladosci, John Alspaugh, and Victoria Vastine to promote these changes. Please refer to the sidebar that summarizes the changes.
The VASPS Board of Directors met September 25 during Plastic Surgery 2016 in Los Angeles. Items discussed included the impact of our new office-based surgery regulations, the VASPS Biennial meeting in 2017, important topics for the next legislative session, and a new Truth in Advertising initiative. We are not yet aware of any “tests” to the new office-based surgery regulations, but there have been a few questions about it and its enforcement. At the Bienniel meeting in October 2017 we are planning to have an attorney or risk management representative give a presentation and answer your questions about the regulations and their enforcement. If a question arises in the meantime, please direct it to me and I will do my best to get it answered.
Speaking of the Biennial Meeting, we are pleased to announce it will be October 27-28 at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, and Dr. Rod Rohrich will be our guest lecturer! We are working with University of Virginia on the program and welcome any suggestions. This will be an excellent time to get to know other plastic surgeons in Virginia, enjoy a nice venue with your family, and earn some interesting and painless CMEs. Please save the date! If you have any contacts with vendors who may wish to help sponsor the meeting, please drop me an email and let me know!
The next project we are considering in Virginia is a Truth in Advertising initiative. Several other states (Georgia, Louisiana) have forwarded similar regulations, which are designed to prevent physicians from advertising that they are “Board-Certified” when the “Board” they refer to is an illegitimate one (such as the “American Board of Cosmetic Surgery”). If you have examples of such advertising, please make us aware of them since it will help this endeavor.
As part of the ASPS State Partnership Program, future state legislative initiatives (such as letter-writing campaigns on issues that affect us at the state level) will be co-branded with the ASPS. Stay tuned for the next legislative session, during which COPN is sure to be a contentious issue, when we may put this tool to use as issues arise in Richmond that require our attention as a specialty society. James Pickeral, the VASPS’s legislative consultant in Richmond, has supplied an excellent summary in this newsletter of what to expect during the 2017 legislative session.
As this newsletter goes to print you should be receiving dues notices for membership in the VASPS for 2017. Small specialty societies such as ours survive on our dues, and we very much need and appreciate your financial support for 2017.
Henry Wilson, MD
January 13-15: ASAPS Las Vegas Facial Symposium
January 19-22: SESPRS Oculoplastic & Breast Conference, Atlanta
January 24 and 30: MSV White Coats on Call, Richmond
February 9-11: 51st Baker Gordon, Miami
March 2-4: ASPS Aesthetica Symposium, New Orleans
March 24-26: Dallas Rhinoplasty Symposium
April 27-May 2: ASAPS The Aesthetic Meeting, San Diego
October 27-28: VASPS Biennial Meeting, Charlottesville
Virginia Health Care Policy Update : November 23, 2016
As the 2017 legislative session rapidly approaches, health care continues to be a top focus for lawmakers. The Virginia General Assembly begins session on January 11, 2017 and is scheduled to end February 25. We can expect the following issues to be priorities:
As we’ve known for a few months now, Virginia is facing a $1.5 billion shortfall over the biennium. We recently learned that in addition to that, the Medicaid program needs an additional $281 million over the next two years. Governor McAuliffe attributes this to rising premiums and prescription drugs, as well as the higher cost and utilization of mental health services. The House Republicans are citing this as another example of why they do not support Medicaid expansion. Virginia lawmakers will be forced to make many tough decisions regarding the budget. The General Assembly has said they will do their best to maintain pay raises for state troopers. Unfortunately, the promised raises for teachers and other state workers will not happen. Higher education is also facing cuts and has been told to brace for a 7.5 percent decrease in funding. Governor McAuliffe will present his proposed budget in December to Senate Finance and House Appropriations.
Virginia’s Certificate of Pubic Need program was one of the most contested issues during the 2016 legislative session. A bill that would have deregulated certain aspects of COPN in three phases passed the House of Delegates. However, the legislation stalled in the Senate. Many Senators will only support deregulation if there is money for the hospitals attached to it. The House Republicans have made it clear they will not support any type of additional funding for the hospitals. The session ended with deregulation legislation, sponsored by Delegate John O’Bannon, being carried over to the 2017 session. A joint Senate and House workgroup has been assigned to address COPN policy in the interim. The group will have its first meeting on Monday, November 28. With the Senate and House still disagreeing on how to reform, it is unlikely that any kind of COPN legislation will pass this year.
As you know, the opioid crisis in Virginia has been a full-scale epidemic for some time. Just this week, the State Health Commissioner declared the opioid addiction crisis a Public Health Emergency. As a result, a standing order for the drug Naloxone has been issued. This will allow all Virginians to obtain this drug which can be used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations. Fatal opioid deaths are expected to increase by 77 percent by the end of the year. Fatal drug overdoses are now the number one cause of unnatural death in Virginia. Legislation was passed last year to encourage reporting of overdoses, expanding the use of naloxone, and increasing requirements for use of the prescription monitoring program by prescribers and dispensers. We are already hearing about potential bills in 2017 that will address this crisis more aggressively.
Affordable Care Act
With the recent election results, there is a lot of unknown when it comes to federal health care law and what will change when President-Elect Trump takes office. Many are expecting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or at least the repeal of major components of it. The Virginia General Assembly has appointed a legislative subcommittee to monitor health care policy changes and how they will affect Virginians.
James Pickeral, VASPS legislative consultant