Health Equity

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Being a physician in the District in the 21st century means being on the front line of the most pressing public health issues in the world. In our small geographic boundaries, physicians help address issue found in every state all in one area. The issues are too lengthy to list on one webpage but physicians are on the front lines of addressing health issues for all District residents.

News, MSDC Statements, and MSDC Testimony on Health Equity Issues

 

MSDC Outlines Telemedicine and Licensures Changes Needed Post-Public Health Emergency

Jul 2, 2020, 10:59 AM by MSDC Staff
MSDC asks DC Health to extend important waivers made during the public health emergency.

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On Wednesday, MSDC President J. Desiree Pineda, MD, FACP, sent a letter via email to DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt, MD, outlining the areas MSDC recommends be made permanent once the local public health emergency order expires. 

The letter (seen here) begins by praising the Director for her leadership during the public health crisis and for making decisions based on sound science. It then emphasizes that even if the public health emergency statute expires, a public health emergency exists especially with rising rates of infection throughout the U.S.

MSDC emphasized three policies that should be made permanent, either by DOH or with the support of DOH: 

  • Continue to support/allow video telemedicine treatment regardless of point of care and support equitable pay for in-person and telemedicine appointments
  • Permit telemedicine appointments across state lines if the provider is located outside of the District
  • Support reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine and changing the 2013 law that currently prohibits its use.

Sample of Health Equity Legislation MSDC is Tracking

(See the whole list of bills here

Student Access to Treatment Amendment Act (B23-467)

What does it say? The bill allows for the administration of medicinal marijuana in schools as well as allows students to bring sunscreen to schools and apply it without a prescription.

MSDC position: MSDC supports the language permitting sunscreen application in schools

Current status: A win for DC physicians and public health! The legislation passed the Council in February and awaits the mayor's signature. Previous temporary and emergency legislation permitted students to use sunscreen at schools this school year already.

Electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment Registry Amendment Act (B23-261)

What does it say? The bill requires DC Health to establish an electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment registry (eMOST).

MSDC position: MSDC supports this legislation to more easily allow patients to make their treatment orders known.

Current status: A win for the physician community and our patients! The Council passed the bill in December and the Mayor signed it into law on January 16, 2020.

Healthy Beverage Choices Amendment Act (B23-495)

What does it say? The bill would implement a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on the distribution of "sugary" beverages. The money collected from the tax would establish a Healthy People, Healthy Places Open Spaces Grant Program.

MSDC position: MSDC sent a letter to Council Chair Mendelson asking for a hearing to discuss all of the issues around a beverage tax.

Current status: The bill was introduced October 8, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development and the Committee of the Whole.