Massachusetts Medical Society: Testimony in Opposition to An Act Relative to Health Policy Commission Reviews of Scope of Practice Proposals

Testimony in Opposition to An Act Relative to Health Policy Commission Reviews of Scope of Practice Proposals

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) wishes to be recorded in opposition to H. 1158, “An Act Relative to Health Policy Commission Reviews of Scope of Practice Proposals”.

This bill would allow the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing to refer bills or unfiled proposals related to any “proposal that would change the authority of a health care provider to provide certain health services”, to the Health Policy Commission (HPC) for review, evaluation, and recommendation. The proposed legislation allows the HPC to report whether the “legislature should vote to enact the scope of practice proposal as submitted to it by the committee, or as amended by the commission.” There is seemingly no power for the HPC to find any proposal not worthy of consideration. 

More importantly, the remainder of this bill removes the longstanding procedural processes that are afforded to every other bill in the General Court, including the right of the committee to deliberate.

The Medical Society encourages the Committee on Health Care Finance to oppose this bill and to retain the important procedural processes that are stripped away by this bill. Maintaining proper checks and balances, including the encouragement of informed floor debate in both branches are vital components of the democratic process that are particularly important when dealing with scope of practice issues that acutely affect how health care is delivered to patients in Massachusetts. Bills affecting the health and safety of patients should be subject to greater, not lesser scrutiny by the legislature.

The Medical Society welcomes a fair, objective, patient-centered review of scope of practice legislation. We believe that any scope of practice determination by the legislature would be aided by objective data. Physicians strongly value evidence-based practice, and welcome the legislature’s promoting the same in these determinations. 

A data-driven analysis by the HPC is only helpful to the legislature if the data is neutrally evaluated and properly contextualized. The Medical Society believes that the current factors mandated in this bill for the Health Policy Commission to review scope of practice bills and proposals are severely flawed. The factors that the HPC is required to consider will lead to biased reports and recommendations that could lead to legislative actions that affect the quality of care provided in the Commonwealth. For example, cost effectiveness as the first factor listed, whereas “value”, or quality divided by cost would be a more thoughtful directive. Other factors related to patient protection remain absent, such as the quality and depth of education and training, as well as considerations of patient protections such as board oversight (i.e., rigor of licensing and investigatory infrastructure) or long-term quality metrics.

For these reasons, we urge you to oppose this bill as written.

Share on Facebook

Find Your Legislator

Click here to enter your address and get a list of your federal representatives, state legislators, and your local polling place.

Find Your Legislator »

State and Federal Agencies

State House - Mass. State AgenciesRapid access to relevant resources from State and Federal health care agencies for Massachusetts physicians.

Massachusetts State Agencies
Federal Agencies

Advocacy Videos

See our advocacy in action through videos and testimonials of physician-advocates! Advocacy video preview

Facebook logoTwitter logoLinkedInYouTube logoInstagram

Copyright © 2020. Massachusetts Medical Society, 860 Winter Street, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Waltham, MA 02451-1411

(781) 893-4610 | (781) 893-3800 | Member Information Hotline: (800) 322-2303 x7311