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SMCMA Leadership meets with local Legislators

On Tuesday, April 9, 2024, a delegation of Physician Leaders from SMCMA met with state legislators representing San Mateo County in Sacramento to discuss priority bills that are currently in the legislative process. The event was attended by Senator Josh Becker (SD-13), Senator Scot Weiner (SD-11), and Assemblymember Marc Berman (AD-23). During the event, SMCMA leaders discussed the following issues:

Senate Bill 516 (Skinner): Prior Authorization. SB 516 would help ensure that patients receive the treatment they need without unnecessary delays and give healthcare providers more time to spend on their patients rather than on paperwork.

Senate Bill 1120 (Becker): Utilization Review. SB 1120, known as the “Physicians Make Decisions Act”, requires a licensed physician or healthcare provider to have final approval of any utilization review decision made or assisted by Artificial Intelligence decision making tools.

Protect Access to Care (Medi-Cal). It was shared that 1 in 3 Californians use Medi-Cal coverage – including 50% of CA children – and most physician provider rates have not increased in over 25 years. Legislators were asked to support proposals to make the MCO tax permanent and to continue expanding Medi-Cal to achieve universal access through equitable funding to ensure there are enough providers to meet patient demand.

In addition to these priority pieces of legislation, the SMCMA delegation also discussed Senate Bill 1012 (Weiner): Regulated Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Act. General patient safety and scope of practice concerns were shared along with possible amendments to create mitigating controls that could be included to alleviate those concerns.

The SMCMA Delegation included Dr. Cindy Cooper, 2024 SMCMA President; Dr. Connor Lundy, 2024 SMCMA President-Elect; Dr. Pradeepa Selvakumar, 2024 SMCMA Secretary/Treasurer; Dr. Vincent Mason, SMCMA Past President and current CMA Trustee; Dr. Uli Chettipally, SMCMA Past President; and Keith Darby, SMCMA Executive Director. In addition, CMA President Dr. Tanya Spirtos and CMA Immediate Past President Dr. Donaldo Hernandez also briefly attended the event.

SMCMA leadership is gracious for the willingness of Senator Becker, Senator Weiner and Assemblymember Berman to take the time to discuss these important items impacting patient access, patient safety, and the practice of medicine. This event and open dialogue continues the legacy of positive relationships maintained by your SMCMA with our local elected officials.