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Physicians attending Medicine Day experience patient advocacy, political involvement
Feb. 8, 2010 e-Reports
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Assignment of benefits, scope of practice and restrictions on insurance complaints were among the issues that brought physicians to the ISMA’s annual Medicine Day Jan. 20 at the Statehouse. Wearing white lab coats, they gathered during this special event to meet with legislators and discuss matters important to them, or to listen or testify in committee hearings.

The day began with a breakfast meeting in which Mike Mellinger, M.D., chairman of the Commission on Legislation, reminded participants, “We are here to represent our patients. Legislators are concerned about patient care, too.”

Testifying in committee

Roberto Darroca, M.D. testifying
Roberto Darroca, M.D., testifies in favor of HB 1131.

On behalf of the ISMA, Muncie Ob/Gyn Roberto Darroca, M.D., testified before the House Public Policy Committee in support of a bill that would ban smoking in public places.

In the small, packed room he said, “Indiana is making progress as far as protecting Hoosiers from secondhand smoke, but we can do better. There are numerous benefits to passing a smoke-free air law, and 38 municipalities in the state of Indiana have already taken steps to protect workers by implementing workplace policies.”

The measure would impose a statewide smoking ban in public places, enclosed areas of a place of employment and certain state vehicles. Gaming or horse racing facilities, riverboats and casinos would be exempt. Committee members passed the bill that morning by a 7-5 vote. Find details about HB 1133 in the enclosed Legislative News.

Physicians heard public comments in the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee meeting concerning medical records. SB 356 establishes procedures for the attorney general to seize, secure, store and destroy abandoned or at-risk health records and other records containing personally identifying information.

The bill also creates a health records and personal identifying information protection trust fund to pay for costs associated with securing and maintaining records.

“We are concerned about this bill because of the definition of abandoned medical records,” said Mike Rinebold, ISMA’s director of Government Relations.

First time reactions

Zionsville internist Bruce Goens, M.D., attended Medicine Day for the first time. The event helped him realize the importance of physician participation in political debate.

First time docs

David Hall, M.D., talks with IU medical student Chris Kaup.

“Physicians need to be very active in large groups,” he said. “Even at the state level, it’s high time we get serious about the issues in government that will affect us.”
David Hall, M.D., who also attended for the first time, agreed that the voice of a group offers strength in numbers.

“We all have practice issues that may keep us from getting involved, but it’s worthwhile,” noted the Indianapolis neurosurgeon. “The day gave me the opportunity to observe the legislative process and get an idea of the issues facing my primary care colleagues.”

After attending Medicine Day, medical student Chris Kaup said he would certainly urge other students to get involved.

“The day was definitely eye-opening,” he noted. “My colleagues should understand how policies will affect us. It was a good wake-up call.”

See more photos from Medicine Day here.

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