The upcoming legislative session is shaping up to be one of our most challenging sessions yet, said AMS Director of Governmental Affairs Scott Smith at the AMS Legislative Meeting held virtually on November 5. Physician leaders and members met to discuss the upcoming issues of what can be expected in January and how AMS can come together to make sure Arkansas physicians and their patients are represented.
A few days before the meeting, a survey was deployed to registered attendees to determine our members’ legislative priorities. Overwhelmingly, scope of practice issues were the top concerns that members have. Smith noted that these scope of practice issues will be front and center and will be even more challenging this session. Other areas of focus include “Truth in Advertising”, or making sure only physicians are allowed to use the title “doctor” in clinical settings, along with other insurance and public health issues.
Smith also reminded everyone that COVID will also play a big part in this session, not only in discussions surrounding insurance and telemedicine, but also in the way things will be set up in the Capitol. Protocols for the 2021 Legislative Session should be known by mid-December, but it is expected that many activities will be restricted.
It is now more important than ever that AMS members become involved in our advocacy efforts. There are three main things you can do right now to ensure that the Society will be successful when this General Assembly concludes in April. Watch our video below to hear why it’s important to get to know your legislators.
Advocacy 101: Get to Know Your Legislators
- Find out who your legislator is and contact them. Make yourself a resource to them when it comes to medical issues. Your opinion and expertise as a constituent is vital in how legislative issues are decided.
- Talk to your peers about becoming involved. Tell them what you know about the upcoming session and the issues physicians will be facing and have them reach out to their legislators. If they’re not members of AMS, encourage them to join. The more members behind us the louder our voice is.
- Get involved with AMS. We have created a STAT Team that will build a grassroots coalition of physicians who can help spread our message. There will also be opportunities in the next couple of months to review bills that are filed.
Influencing lawmakers is a team effort by our members and the AMS staff. While this session will be challenging, it will also have numerous opportunities to improve health care for all Arkansans. For more information on our advocacy efforts, visit ARKMED.org/advocacy.