COPIC’s year-round advocacy efforts reinforce the practice of good medicine
by Ted J. Clarke, MD, Chairman & CEO, COPIC Insurance Company
Featured in the July/August 2015 Colorado Medicine.
Sometimes it is a good thing when the harder you work, the less people notice. An example of this is the legislative advocacy that COPIC undertakes in collaboration with partners such as the Colorado Medical Society and the Colorado Hospital Association. When health care professionals can focus on delivering the best patient care – instead of dealing with policies that impede this – then we know our efforts are paying off.
Between now and the start of the next legislative session, COPIC is busy with work that supports a stable health care environment. So what exactly does this entail? While tort reform is always on the top of people’s minds when they think about COPIC’s advocacy efforts, there are several other initiatives that we engage in:
- Following the implementation of bills – What will be the intended (and unintended) consequences of new legislation? That is the question that COPIC cares about as bills are put into action. We are steadfast in monitoring their actual impact on health care and what this means for providers and patients. For example, in 2014, COPIC participated in conversations around House Bill 1283, which created a mandate for all DEA-licensed providers to register and maintain an account with Colorado’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). As the bill was implemented, we sought to gain assurances from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) that it would provide practitioners with educational materials and reminders to register. COPIC suggested language for the PDMP notice letters to providers as well as for the pharmacy board regulations implementing the statute to improve provider’s understanding of the appropriate use of the PDMP.
- Building relationships with legislators and informing them on issues – This summer and fall, COPIC will be meeting with more than 50 incumbent legislators to inform them of the challenges in health care and strengthen our relationships. By interacting with this audience as well as candidates, we not only reinforce the perspectives of health care professionals, but we also demonstrate how COPIC can help legislators better understand the issues and make informed decisions.
- Teaming up with partner organizations – One of the reasons we are effective in our advocacy efforts is because we stay connected with partner organizations. Each organization has its own expertise, and collaboration that taps into this is essential. At events such as the Colorado Health Symposium, we are engaged with our partners to gather insight and develop ideas that support a positive future in health care.
- Serving as a resource for regulatory agencies –COPIC has a long-standing relationship working directly with DORA, and both organizations understand the importance of improving medical outcomes. That is why we work together to address challenges and review existing regulations. For example, COPIC met with DORA this summer for initial discussions about regulations for surgical assistants and technologists, which are scheduled to “sunset” in 2016.
- Keeping an eye on tomorrow’s issues – Through decades of experience, we recognize the value of being a stakeholder that helps influence the future of health care. In 2014 and 2015, COPIC worked with partners in the medical community and DORA on appropriate language in medical board policies in light of advances in telemedicine. As the medical board considers the policy changes, there will certainly be new questions and COPIC is ready to provide the necessary guidance. What will the key issues during the next five years be? Nobody knows, but we are certain that COPIC will be involved.
There is a strong sense of pride in being able to represent the medical community. It is a role that we continue to invest in and a responsibility that requires dedication. Advocacy is one of the ways that COPIC is more than just a medical liability insurance provider – we are a partner that the health care community can depend on.