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Two State Bills About to Become Law Will Benefit Independent Docs

This week, Washington and Florida state legislatures each passed bills that bode well for independent doctors.

Progress in the fight against MOC: In Washington State, the legislature passed -- with no opposition in either house -- Bill 2257, which outlaws requiring Maintenance of Certification for the licensure of MDs or DOs. The veto-proof bill is currently on the governor's desk. If he does not sign it in a few days, it automatically becomes law.

For years the American Board of Medical Specialties has required doctors to retake their board certification exams, at the doctors' considerable time and expense, in order for doctors to maintain their licensure and hospital admitting privileges.

Washington joins seven states -- Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas -- that have in the past two years passed laws that remove that condition. Here is a summary of bills and laws in states taking MOC under consideration.

DPC gains new ground: In a 38-0 vote, the Florida Senate unanimously passed House Bill 37, which paves the way for more Direct Primary Care in the state. The bill makes it easier for patients and companies to work directly with primary care providers by stating that DPC agreements are not insurance and are therefore not subject to the state insurance code. This move should not only benefit independent doctors, but also lower health-care costs for businesses and patients.

"The rising cost of health care is the number one concern of small businesses," said AID health-advocate Jerry Pierce, past chairman of the National Federation of Independent Business for Florida, which advocated for the bill.

"Direct Primary Care Legislation is important as it offers an option to significantly reduce health-care costs while freeing doctors from paperwork to allow them more time to concentrate on seeing patients," Pierce said. "It is a win win for all and it costs the state nothing."

The bill is now on its way to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.

The DPC concept is rapidly expanding across the country as a way to circumvent the high cost of health insurance. To date 23 states have passed DPC laws. Florida and Georgia are poised to be the next two, and legislation was just introduced in Pennsylvania. The following 23 states have DPC legislation signed into law:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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