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March 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 3
State Beat: AMA State Legislative Strategy Conference Jason Hansen, M.S., J.D.

On January 3-5, 2013, the ASA President, President-Elect and First Vice President (Drs. John M. Zerwas, Jane C.K. Fitch, and John P. Abenstein, respectively) attended the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) 2013 State Legislative Strategy Conference in Aventura, Florida. The nearly decade-old annual conference brings together key volunteer physicians and staff from state and specialty medical associations from across the nation to learn about legislative issues of importance to medicine. ASA regularly attends the conference.

Throughout the conference, national and state experts briefed attendees on issues and subjects, including:

  • Medicaid expansion: States’ decision-making on whether to move forward with Medicaid expansion.
  • Health insurance exchanges: Steps necessary for exchanges to be operational on January 1, 2014.
  • Reducing the costs of interactions between physician practices and health plans: Processes to reduce administrative costs of interactions between providers and payers.
  • Drug diversion and abuse: Solutions to the problem of prescription drug diversion and misuse.
  • Health care issues facing the states in 2013: Top health care issues facing states this year.
  • The 2013 federal landscape: AMA’s federal advocacy agenda and the outlook for physician issues in 2013.
  • State-based delivery and payment reform: Options and models for physicians in the new health care environment.

  • Noteworthy speakers at the conference included:
  • Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent, CBS News and correspondent-at-large
  • Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D., AMA President
  • Alan Weil, J.D., Executive Director, National Academy for State Health Policy
  • Vern K. Smith, Ph.D., Managing Principal, Health Management Associates
  • Cindy Mann, J.D., Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Scott Pattison, Executive Director, National Association of State Budget Officers.

  • Dr. Zerwas, ASA President, who is also serving his fourth term as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, said of the conference, “between implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the recent final rule from CMS allowing payment of non-physicians for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain, at no time has it been more important for our patients to ensure physician involvement in state-level legislation.” Legislatures across the country are convening now. To learn more about how you can help protect your patients and promote your profession through state-level advocacy, contact ASA’s Director of State Affairs, Jason Hansen, at

    Jason Hansen, M.S., J.D. is ASA’s Director of State Affairs.

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