with 11 legislators and several agency officials, largely
to advocate for increased state trauma funding. Specifically, the Alaska Chapter asked the legislature to
approve Medicaid funding to cover trauma activation
fees because the state was facing a $3.5 billion budget
deficit, and there were concerns that the current trauma
funding would not be appropriated.
The three California ACS chapters joined together
April 13 to participate in the California Medical Association (CMA) Annual Legislative Advocacy Day in
Sacramento. Leadership from the chapters included
John Maa, MD, FACS, Past-President, and Pascal
Fuchshuber, MD, FACS, President-Elect, Northern
California Chapter; Shirin Towfigh, MD, FACS,
Immediate Past-President, Southern California Chapter; and Jon Greif, DO, FACS, San Diego Chapter.
Other surgeons included James Hinsdale, MD, FACS
(former CMA president); Luther Cobb, MD, FACS
(former CMA president); Christina Maser, MD, FACS
(Secretary-Treasurer of the Northern California Chapter); and Peter Richman, MD, FACS (President of the
Los Angeles County Medical Association).
The chapters focused their advocacy on A.B. 1763,
a bill that would require health care coverage without
copayment for colorectal cancer screening. Surgeons
met with the bill sponsor’s legislative staff, as well
as members of the Assembly Health Committee, to
discuss the legislation and to deliver a statement of
support. This bill was passed out of the legislature
but vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in September.
The Connecticut Chapter of the ACS joined with the
Connecticut State Medical Society March 3 in Hartford
to host Physicians’ Day at the Capitol 2016. Approximately 100 physicians attended, with a strong presence
from the chapter. Surgeon advocates met with lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D), to
advocate for legislation pertaining to opioid prescriptions, for establishing a definition of surgery, and for
repeal of an ambulatory surgery tax.
The Florida Chapter of the ACS held its annual Advocacy Day February 4. Surgeons representing multiple
surgical specialties, including urology, otolaryngology,
vascular surgery, and obstetrics/gynecology, met with
lawmakers to discuss bills addressing telemedicine and
balanced billing for out-of-network and emergency
care. ACS staff, representatives of the Florida Department of Health, and other advocates briefed lawmakers
on health care issues in the state.
The Georgia Society of the ACS held its lobby day in
conjunction with the Medical Association of Georgia
(MAG) January 27. Of the more than 60 physicians in
attendance, approximately 15 were surgeons affiliated with the society. The Uniform Emergency
Volunteer Health Practitioners Act model legislation was the major focus of the society when working
the rope line and in conversations with legislators at
the society-sponsored lunch. The bill was signed into
law by Gov. Nathan Deal (R) in April. MAG president
John Harvey, MD, FACS, an active society member,
recognized the Georgia Society and the ACS for their
sponsorship of the lunch through the generosity of
the grant program.
The Indiana Chapter of the ACS hosted the Annual
Day at the Capitol in Indianapolis February 9. State
Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R), Chair of the House Public
Health Committee, spoke on the importance of
physician-legislator interaction. In addition, Michael
Brady, Director of INSPECT, the Indiana Board of Pharmacy Prescription Monitoring Program, spoke about
upcoming changes to the system. John J. Wernert, MD,
Secretary of the state’s Department of Family and Social
Services, gave an update on Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0,
the state’s Medicaid expansion program. Attendees then
had the opportunity to meet with their elected officials to discuss legislation addressing opioid overdose
interventions, step therapy protocols for prescription
medications, and hospital employee immunizations.