COPIC Comment: Helping to shape the future of health care
by Ted J. Clarke, MD, Chairman & CEO, COPIC Insurance Company
As we head into the 2015 legislative session, I am reminded of COPIC’s unique position at the crossroads of the medical, legal, and regulatory worlds. Our experience offers insight to legislators and helps to inform them on the health care challenges that exist from our perspective. Together, with partners such as the Colorado Medical Society (CMS) and Colorado Hospital Association, we invest in legislative advocacy to support an environment that reinforces quality improvement and patient safety, while addressing barriers to the delivery of care.
Each year, hundreds of bills are introduced during the Colorado legislative session. Monitoring and evaluating bills that have the potential to impact health care is no easy task. It requires expertise in several different areas, the ability to collaborate effectively, and in-depth reviews that take into consideration intended and unintended consequences.
Besides monitoring proposed legislation and regulations, COPIC’s efforts extend throughout the governing process:
- Our work continues after a bill passes. Once a bill is enacted, it is imperative to pay attention to its implementation. For example, HB 14-1283 was passed last year and mandates that all DEA-licensed providers register and maintain an account with the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). COPIC followed this closely and worked with the Department of Regulatory Agencies to be assured that actions against health care providers will not be taken if PDMP notifications are received and placed into a patient’s medical record, and subsequently shared with the patient or another provider.
- We anticipate new challenges that are emerging. As health care evolves and the patient population grows, there is a need to expand access to health care providers. In particular, telemedicine has become more prevalent, with ongoing discussions in the medical community to define the boundaries and requirements that medical professionals must undertake. COPIC and CMS have been involved in initial telemedicine discussions at the state level around standard of care, compliance with licensing requirements and medical board policies, and other concerns with the use of technology. Being a part of the early conversations allows us to represent the interests of our insureds as new policies start to take shape.
- Policymakers recognize the value of our involvement. COPIC’s proactive approach has resulted in strong relationships with policymakers and regulators who turn to us as a resource. This includes serving on legislative committees and task forces, and providing factual reports that support decision-making. By establishing ourselves as a reliable source, we can work to identify issues and opportunities, and partner with other organizations to take the appropriate actions.
A key factor that enables COPIC to take on these responsibilities is the expertise that resides in our legal department. Their involvement is essential to our legislative advocacy in the following areas:
- Reviewing drafts of bills for encroachment upon tort reform and unnecessary increases in medical and health care facility liability.
- Drafting language, attending stakeholder meetings, and testifying on key legislation affecting health care providers and health care facilities.
- Providing input to the Colorado Medical Board, other licensing boards and administrative agencies, regarding proposed rules and policies that affect health care providers and health care facilities.
The knowledge within our legal department and the efforts outlined above also translate into the direct assistance and education we provide insureds on legal issues such as HIPAA, medical records and charting, electronic medical records, minors and risk, professional review, and supervision of allied health professionals.
All of this connects back to COPIC being a critical partner for our insureds and others in health care. We recognize that our role provides us with the opportunity to help medical professionals navigate the complexities of health care and better understand how public policy influences their practice. And we are committed to ensuring that Colorado remains a great state in which to practice medicine.
Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Health System Reform