Legislative Advocacy

ACCMA and CMA are fighting every day for your practice and your patients. From ensuring that you receive fair payment from government and private insurance to professional liability protections under MICRA, from scope of practice issues to Medi-Cal/Medicare reimbursement rates, ACCMA works to uplift the voices of Bay Area physicians.

 

Current Legislation

House of Representatives Bills

H.R. 2474 – Support
H.R. 2474 would reform this flawed system and provide annual inflationary updates, based on the Medicare Economic Index (MEI), for Medicare physician services, similar to updates received by other health care providers. While there are many other concerns with the Medicare physician payment system that still need to be addressed, H.R. 2474 is a great first step toward fixing payment inequities and injecting financial stability into physician practices, allowing them to invest in new ways of providing care and ultimately assuring that Medicare beneficiaries maintain their access to high-quality care.

Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health


H.R. 2389 – Support
This bipartisan bill would provide 14,000 new Medicare-supported Graduate Medical Education (GME) physician residency training positions over 7 years. GME positions have been capped since 1997 yet medical school enrollment has increased. This bill would allow thousands of medical students to finish their training and open the physician pipeline to address the serious shortages. Out of 31 industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks 27th in number of physicians per capita (Organization for Economic Cooperation 2021). Read the American Medical Association's letter of support.

Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health


H.R. 4189 – Support
The "Connect for Health Act 2023" would permanently expand access to telehealth services consistent with the COVID-19 pandemic waivers and ensure that Medicare patients continue to receive essential care.

Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health


HR 5013 – Support 

This bill would promote a greater number and variety of physician-led Alternative Payment Models (APMs) by: extending the 5% qualifying payment, adjusting the participation thresholds and benchmarks to include efficient physicians and underserved areas, providing assistance to new APMs, and allowing ACOs to accept more financial risk 

Status: Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means 

California Senate & State Assembly Bills

AB 470 – Support
This bill seeks to encourage more physicians to take foreign language courses as part of their CME requirements. This will help physicians better communicate with patients in diverse communities across the state. This is not a CME mandate and will not change any current requirements; it would simply ensure physicians, the public, and legislature know this is a CME option, while also providing the opportunity to revise language and cultural competency standards in law. 

Status: Signed by Governor Newsom and Signed by the Secretary of State


SB 487 – Support 
This bill would protect California's abortion providers to provide reproductive health care services to out-of-state patients without fear of civil/criminal retaliation from anti-abortion states. Current law automatically suspends a provider's Medi-Cal status should the provider have outstanding license actions reported through the Medical Board of California. This bill would provide the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) with discretion on suspending a Medi-Cal provider's status should the claim have to do with a provider performing an abortion or a related service. Similarly, this bill would ensure providers are able to contract with California health plans if they have provided abortion services to a patient that resides in a state with restricted abortion laws. Additionally, this bill adds clean-up language related to provider civil protections.

Status: Signed by Governor Newsom and Signed by the Secretary of State


SB 524 (Caballero) – Oppose
SB 524 would allow pharmacists to perform tests that are Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waived and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved. Pharmacists will be authorized to furnish and prescribe treatments for any positive test outlined in this bill, including antibiotics for various illnesses, conditions, and diseases. This bill poses a risk to patient safety by removing physicians from the care team and undermines the importance of person-centered care, treating symptoms instead of the patient.   

Status: Held in Appropriations Committee


SB 525 – Oppose 
This bill would require healthcare employers, defined as broadly as possible, to compensate all employees and contractors at least $25 per hour. This requirement applies to all paid work performed on the premises of any health facility, including a physician group with 25 physicians or more. The minimum wage would be adjusted annually by the greater of 3.5% or the rate of change in inflation. If an employee is employed on a salary basis, the minimum monthly salary must be equivalent to no less than two times the health care worker minimum wage prescribed in the bill, equating to approximately $103,000 annually. Finally, the bill would apply to independent contractors working in all health facilities. 

Status: Signed by Governor Newsom and Signed by the Secretary of State


SB 582 – Support 
This bill would authorize the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Data Exchange Framework (DxF) to create policies and procedures for including electronic health records (EHR) vendors in the legal structure of the framework and incorporate federal standards for the reasonableness of vendor fees. These fees can range into the tens of thousands of dollars per physician. Compliance with the DxF is require in state law, physicians then face a daunting choice: pay the fees, break state law or change EHR vendors. 

Status: Vetoed by Governor Newsom. To view Governor Newsom’s letter regarding his veto, please click here.


SB 598 (Skinner) – Support
SB 598 reforms the prior authorization process to ensure timely access to treatments, improve patient health outcomes and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of physician practices to increase patient access to care. The bill allows physicians practicing within a health plan’s utilization criteria 90% of the time to get a one-year exemption from prior authorizations. SB 598 is a balanced approach that ensures physicians practice within a plan’s criteria without undue burdens from the plan.  

Status: Held in Appropriations Committee


SB 815 (Roth) - Opposition 
SB 815 proposes alarming changes, including moving the Board to a public member majority and increasing the licensing fee, is being heard in the California legislature. SB 815 would change the Medical Board of California as part of its Sunset Review Process. 

Status: Signed by Governor Newsom and Signed by the Secretary of State


AB 616 (Rodriguez) – Oppose 
AB 616 would allow confidential and proprietary financial information from physician groups to be released to the public, reversing an agreement made last year when establishing California’s Office of Health Care Affordability. This bill could harm the ability of physician practices to recruit physicians, health care providers, and employees effectively. 

Status: Vetoed by Governor Newsom


AB 765 (Wood) – Support
AB 765 would limit non-physicians from using terms that would make patients believe they are physicians when they are allied health professionals or other providers. An example of this would be preventing nurse anesthetists from calling themselves “nurse anesthesiologists.” The bill protects physician titles from being improperly represented and protects patients from making misinformed decisions.

Status: Held in Assembly Suspense File


AB 571 – Sponsor 
AB 571 would prohibit an insurer from refusing to issue a professional liability policy or increase a provider's premiums solely because the provider offers or performs abortion, contraception, and gender-affirming care services. It would also ensure a provider will not face these barriers regardless of liability created by another state's laws, or legal action taken in another state against the provider. It would require an insurer to cover liability for damages from offering or performing abortion, contraception, and gender-affirming care services as well as care related to those services should these services be within the scope of the provider's license.  

Status: Signed by Governor Newsom and Chaptered by the Secretary of State


AB 1060 (Ortega) – Support
AB 1060 addresses the ongoing fentanyl crisis by requiring that Medi-Cal and private insurers cover the total cost of over-the-counter and prescription Naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses. 

Status: Vetoed by Governor Newsom. To view Governor Newsom’s letter regarding his veto, please click here.


AB 1570 (Low) – Oppose
AB 1570 would expand the scope of practice for optometrists to perform advanced surgical and laser procedures with minimal training. These procedures include corneal crosslinking and laser trabeculoplasty, among others. Under this bill, optometrists would then qualify to perform these advanced procedures after completing only 43 various eye surgical procedures. This bill would put patients at harm by allowing the underqualified optometrist to perform advanced eye surgeries. This same bill, AB 2236 (Low) was vetoed by the Governor last year. No changes were made to it before it was re-introduced this year.  

Status: Hearing canceled at the request of author


Medi-Cal Rates – Support
The California Legislature has done a tremendous job expanding health care coverage in the state and fundamentally revamping Medi-Cal through CalAIM. Now we need to work on creating more access for Medi-Cal recipients to physicians. Medi-Cal’s base reimbursement rates paid to health care providers have not been raised since the 2000-2001 budget. In fact, due to budget deficits, California cut rates in 2008 and 2011, including reductions that continue to this day.  To truly provide Health Care for All, we need to address the issues of rates, which often fail to cover even a fraction of the cost of providing care and make it difficult for providers to see Medi-Cal patients.  

CMA/ACCMA Top Issues

The California Medical Association (CMA) is distinguished by its legislative, legal and regulatory advocacy on behalf of the physicians and patients of California. Click here to explore CMA's top priorities and initiatives. Below you will find additional Top Issues: 

 

Understanding the Legislative Process

Important Documents About the CA State Legislature

2023 Legislative Calendar and Deadlines

Standing Committees 

Glossary of Key Terms 

Understanding the Legislative Process & Relationship Building

Take a deeper dive into the legislative process, how a bill really becomes a law, how you can affect the outcome, and understand how to develop relationships with individual legislators. To access ACCMA's free program, please click here.

 

How to Interact with Your Legislator

Conducting the Meetings: Dos & Don'ts

Learn how to conduct a meeting with legislators: how to prepare, what to bring with you, how to navigate last-minute changes, and following up. To listen to ACCMA's podcast, please click here.

Hosting a Fundraiser

Whether you are hosting a fundraiser for an elected legislator or a candidate, there are a few steps to consider in the process to ensure your event is as effective as possible. Consider these preliminary steps below as you start, don’t hesitate to contact CMA’s Political Operations team with further questions. For a checklist, please click here

 

Meet Your Legislators

Elected Officials

Throughout the year, ACCMA will send members alerts about bills that are considered in the State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and County Board of Supervisors. Making a quick call, sending a short email, or tweeting your elected officials helps show our strength and get our message across. Click here to find contact information and to learn more about your local, state, and federal representatives. 

What to Expect for Next Election

The next election cycle will be in 2024. There will be several legislators completing their term which will leave vacancies for the 2024 election. Please find a list of key races for 2024 by clicking here.

 

How to Get Involved

Key Legislative Contacts Program

  • Advocate on behalf of the physician community and your patients by offering your expertise and experience. Work with us and CMA’s grassroots advocacy team to build personal relationships with your legislators. We would like to identify a few physicians who are willing to build relationships with their legislator, be first point of contact when we need to reach out to their legislator, be invited to attend potential fundraising events, and potentially host a fundraiser. If you are interested in participating in the Key Legislative Contacts Program, please contact us

  • The ACCMA offers an annual one-day advocacy training course for physicians to learn more about the legislative process and how to effectively influence the process. It includes opportunities to practice your advocacy skills through mock legislative meetings. For more information about the next training, please contact us.  

Contact Your Legislator

U.S. Senate 

U.S. House of Representatives

California State Senate

California State Assembly 

Donate to ACCPAC

The most effective way to achieve favorable policy outcomes is to elect candidates who share our perspective on health care issues. By donating to CALPAC (at the state level) and ACCPAC (at the local level), you can help provide financial support to physician-friendly candidates whose views are aligned with ACCMA and CMA policy positions. These PACs are nonpartisan. Click here to contribute.  

Join the Legislative Committee

The Legislative Committee conducts political action on behalf of the ACCMA; meets with elected officials to advocate for legislation and policy changes; evaluates candidates for local, state and federal offices representing this community and makes recommendations to the ACCMA's and CMA's political action committees. To apply, click here. Committee nominations are accepted year-round. Contact the ACCMA with any questions at (510) 654-5383 or accma@accma.org.  

Attend Legislative Advocacy Day

Once a year (usually in April), dozens of ACCMA members join more than 400 physicians from around California for a trip to the State Capitol in Sacramento. The event includes keynote speakers – frequently the Governor – and we hold meetings with each of our East Bay legislators inside the Capitol. Check the ACCMA online event calendar for more information. 

Serve as an Appointed Commissioner

For those with the time and interest to get more deeply involved in policymaking, consider applying to serve as an appointed commissioner at the local or state level. There are scores of health-care related commissions that would benefit tremendously from your knowledge and experience. If there is a commission you are interested in joining, the ACCMA can help support your nomination. Contact us if you would like to serve. To view a list of potential County boards, committees, commissions, please click here