Parker County Today September 2017 - Page 39

Law and Order and Medicine Collide “There is nothing more important to me as a physician than your cancer treatment. I’ve been in practice for nearly two decades and have had the privilege of telling many patients that there is life beyond cancer. As president of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, I want to lead by example, practicing a firm belief that all patients should receive the finest medical care available, with the same concern and compassion as a cherished member of the family.” Ray Page, D.O., Ph.D. President and Medical Oncologist The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Indeed, as in every aspect of society, the House of Medicine continually collides with Law and Order. It is extremely difficult for physicians, who spend a zillion hours on patient care activities, to dedicate additional time dealing with the nuances of legislation and regulation that can directly impact patient care. However, it is of extreme importance that physicians work with our lawmakers to assure that we all get the best in healthcare delivery. We just finished the 2017 Texas Legislative session, and I spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill, phone calling, networking, and letter writing. Often our successes are in squashing bad bills and making sure they don’t get passed. Others laws are passed that impact physicians and patient care. Physician Maintenance of Certification (MOC) has been a big issue nation- ally for physicians for a number of years as the new certification process is expensive, time consuming, conflicted, and does nothing to impact patient care or the quality of the physician. To make things worse MOC has moved beyond the self-regulation processes of our board certification agencies and have gotten into interference of our ability to practice medicine. It has been a long battle controlling these MOC boards and sometimes, with reticence, we have to get legislative help. I have presented at the House of Delegates (HOD) of the American Medical Association, and my wife, Sheila Page D.O., has done the same as a delegate of the American Osteopathic Association to achieve their support in resolutions and policy that dissociate MOC from state licensure, hospital privileges, and the ability to get on insurance plans. Through the grassroots efforts of physicians at the Texas Medical Association and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, physician-senator Dawn Buckingham took the lead (and the heat) to get SB 1148 passed into Texas law to control the tyranny of MOC. This is a huge win for the physicians of Texas! Texas also passed new laws that have set standards to assure safe telemedicine services that are similar to in-person exams. I believe these laws will allow safe expanded access to care, particularly in rural and underserved areas. We must continue to assure, however, that Texas patients are cared for by Texas physicians, where licensing with the Texas Medical Board is one of the most stringent in the country. Accordingly, in Special Session, our legislators agreed not to sunset the Texas Medical Board, but more importantly elements of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact were successfully removed from that law, therefore our doctors will not share a common license with doctors, say, from West Virginia or Oregon who could potentially telemedicine their services. Schedule appointments by calling 817-596-0637 or online at Support services provided by: To learn more about cancer care issues or to consult with a physician about a cancer diagnosis, contact us at 817.596.0637. I have had a face-to-face meeting with one of the Medicare Medical Directors and I am currently writing a resolution which I will present to the AMA HOD to get into policy. I am confident we will get this “14-day rule” changed which will be of great benefit to cancer patients across the country. There is WAY more to discuss….for another time. Nationally, I am currently working hard to change the “14-day rule” which is adversely impacting our cancer patients. This impacts our cancer patients who get tumor biopsies in the hospital and the cancer doctors want to do complex modern molecular tests (which are expensive) to be able to best characterize the cancer and guide treatment options. Currently, the Medicare rules state that if these tests are done within 14 days of the hospital procedure then the cost gets billed under the hospital bundle. Therefore, hospital pathology depart- ments will not do the necessary tests until >14 days, thereby placing substantial delays in the appropriate treatment of symptomatic cancer patients. 37