Over Fifty Family Physicians, Residents & Students Advocate for Single Payer Coverage, Primary Care Investments, Vaccine Promotion and Patient-Centered Care

By James Mumford, MD, President of NYSAFP | February 28, 2022

“Today, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP) held its annual Advocacy Day with over fifty physicians, residents and students in family medicine meeting with over fifty Senate and Assembly representatives during the virtual event to discuss the budget and legislative priorities of family physicians to promote high quality care and access for patients.”

“During the day, NYSAFP members lauded the smart investments in primary care included in Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget including increased Medicaid fees to promote patient access to preventive and primary care, a more than doubling in funding for the Doctors Across New York program for primary care physician loan forgiveness and practice support for recruitment and retention efforts, as well as restoration of prior year across-the-board Medicaid cuts and a 1% increase in Medicaid rates over two years.  Promoting and ensuring patient access to primary care and prevention services has been proven to increase patient health and outcomes while reducing costs.  NYSAFP also calls for state legislators to restore $2.2 million for area health education centers (AHEC), a critical partner focused on addressing healthcare workforce shortages through pipeline and mentorship programs, in the budget.”

“NYSAFP also supports the Governor’s proposal to require payment parity for telehealth in both Medicaid and state-regulated commercial insurance plans.  The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the important role that telehealth can play in bringing healthcare to patients where they are and removing barriers to care.  We strongly believe that telehealth policies should require equal reimbursement for services delivered by telehealth and in-person for primary care providers to utilize both modalities to care for patients.”

“During discussions with lawmakers, NYSAFP members raised their concerns with two Executive Budget proposals including one to restructure the physician excess malpractice program which could negatively impact the financial stability of carriers and the programs in the future, which is critical to protect physician’s personal assets in the absence of comprehensive medical liability reform in New York. NYSAFP is also opposed to a proposal to weaken the current standards in place for physician and nurse practitioner collaboration in delivering primary care services. We are concerned that this proposal would sacrifice quality and result in increased costs through overprescribing and overutilization of diagnostic imaging and other services, without any demonstrable value of this change.”

“On the legislative front, NYSAFP calls on NYS leaders to implement comprehensive system reforms necessary to truly close gaps in health coverage by enacting the New York Health Act (S.5474, Rivera/ A.6058, Gottfried) to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to high quality and meaningful healthcare coverage. Many New Yorkers remain uninsured or underinsured without coverage that is affordable, accessible and comprehensive to cover their needs. The prevalence of high deductible plans and other insurance products that shift more costs onto patients, has led to many individuals putting off needed care out of fear that they will not be able to afford it.”

“These disparities have only intensified and become more apparent with the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we need New York State to take bold action to transform our healthcare system to ensure universal health coverage for all, regardless of income, occupation, location or health needs. As the first NY physician society to endorse a single payer model, we call on our lawmakers to pass the New York Health Act this session.”

“NYSAFP also strongly supports and requests the advancement of legislation to ensure that all vaccines given to adults are included in the Statewide or New York City vaccine registry, similar to child vaccines.  This legislation (S75A, Hoylman/ A279A, Gottfried) would move New York from an opt-in standard to a patient opt-out option for adult vaccine records to be entered into the State of NYC registry to ensure that New Yorkers only receive the vaccines they need and so we are better prepared for the next pandemic.”

“Finally, NYSAFP members shared a new Concept Paper with state legislators with recommendations for simplifying and streamlining insurance plan policies and procedures to bring efficiency and standardization to how insurance is delivered in New York.  This will provide much needed relief to physician and other provider practices so they can instead spend their time and resources on patient care.  Included is a recommendation for the State to hold public hearings to receive public and health provider comments on insurer requests for premium increases.”

NYSAFP represents over 7,000 physicians, residents and students in family medicine across the State. NYSAFP Family Physicians are board-certified and specialize in family medicine. Family physicians focus on the whole patient providing care throughout their lifetime.  They provide comprehensive healthcare services to treat diseases and injuries in all age groups from newborns to the geriatric population and across all medical fields. Family Physicians focus on prevention, wellness and overall care coordination for patients and family medicine is the only specialty to focus on the care of the entire family unit. Family Physicians are also a main source of primary health care in New York and across the country.