Massachusetts Medical Society: Testimony in Opposition to An Act Establishing A Mobile Integrated Health Care Trust Fund and Refining the Mobile Integrated Health Care Program

Testimony in Opposition to An Act Establishing A Mobile Integrated Health Care Trust Fund and Refining the Mobile Integrated Health Care Program

While the Massachusetts Medical Society supports the Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program currently under development by the Department of Public Health, we oppose House bill 2003, as it would take important funds away from the Board of Registration in Medicine in an important time of investment by that agency.  Recognizing the value in a mobile integrated health program – MMS had representation on the commission that helped guide the MIH regulations – MMS instead supports and encourages the securing of an alternative sustainable funding source for the MIH program.

We oppose, however, transferring funds away from the Board of Registration in Medicine to fund this program, as proposed in House bill 2003. BORIM is funded through physician licensure fees; the fees support the day-to-day functioning of BORIM, which is committed to assuring the highest quality of care and patient safety through rigorous processes to determine which physicians merit licensure in Massachusetts. This is a challenging and cumbersome charge, as Massachusetts has over 40,000 physicians, and annually receives an influx of thousands of medical residents each requiring the processing of their unique limited licenses.

The Board of Registration in Medicine is at a critical juncture, as it endeavors to find new ways to improve its licensure processes and to reduce turnaround times.  At a recent BORIM meeting about proposed improvements, for example, the Board reported that it currently takes 51 days for an initial review of an application to determine if any elements are missing.  These lengthy licensure and credentialing processes have the potential to jeopardize patients’ access to high quality physicians, as many employers have reported that these delays can impede recruitment of out-of-state physicians.  In this key moment, MMS strongly believes that BORIM funds should not be diverted to other agencies, even for worthy programs like mobile integrated health, but rather should continue be invested within the agency to support the many important improvements that the agency has undertaken at this time.

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