MSDC has long advocated for women's health protections, the rights of women physicians, and affordable care for women's issues. MSDC works closes with ACOG, AAFP, AAP, and other specialty organizations to craft local legislation that allows DC to be the best place to practice women's and maternal medicine.
In the face of a maternal mortality crisis in the District, engagement in these issues is more important than ever. Learn more about how MSDC is working to protect the health of women, mothers, and babies in all wards in the city.
MSDC Statements and Testimony on Women's Health Issues
DC Council Passes Audio Telemedicine and Loan Repayment Provisions
As part of a contentious debate over the District's FY21 Budget Support Act, the Council passed two provisions that will help physicians practice, especially in underserved medical areas.
The first provisions was an amendment to the Telemedicine Reimbursement Act of 2013. The original bill established telemedicine reimbursement policy but had prohibited audio, e-mail, and fax telemedicine reimbursement. The current public health emergency has shown that many residents actually need audio telemedicine because of unreliable internet connections, not having adequate video streaming technology, or other technology issues. The DC Medicaid program has seen a large number of audio telemedicine appointments during the public health emergency, especially for behavioral health appointments. The new language strikes audio telemedicine as prohibited, allowing it to continue after the public health emergency expires.
The second provision of note was the funding and structuring of the Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP). The program repays the education loans of medical professionals who served for a period of time in underserved medical areas in the District. The new language offers specifics for the program, including:
- The program will pay for the cost of obtaining a health professional degree including outstanding principle, interest, and related expenses of state, federal, local, and commercial education loans.
- Physicians who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, or other in-need medical specialties as identified by DC Health can have 100% of their total debt (up to $200,000) repaid by the loan program over four years if they provide full-time service in Wards 7 and 8.
- The program also adds a retention incentive fund for DC Health to award, in addition to the loan repayment program.
Sample of Legislation MSDC is Tracking in Women's Health and Maternal Health
(See the whole list of bills here)
What does the bill do? Extends postpartum inpatient and outpatient benefits to at least one year after childbirth
MSDC position: We support this legislation and the extension of insurance benefits to mothers and babies to help maternal health in the District
Current status: SUCCESS. The bill passed the Council and was signed into law by the Mayor on August 14, 2020.
What does the bill do? The bill prohibits the District government from interfering with patients' reproductive health decisions and prohibits employers from punishing physicians who perform abortions or sterilizations outside of their employment.
MSDC position: We support this legislation as it allows physicians freedom of practice.
Current status: SUCCESS. The bill passed the Committee on Government Operations in January. MSDC submitted testimony at the December hearing, and MSDC member Sara Imershein testified at the hearing. The Council passed the bill and the Mayor signed it into law on March 23, 2020.
What does the bill do? The bill extends coverage for maternal health issues and fertility preservation, creates a Maternal Health Center in the District, and mandates two hours of cultural competence CME for health care providers.
MSDC position: We oppose the bill without changes due to inclusion of mandatory CME and some of the definitions in the bill being medically questionable.
Current status: The bill had a hearing in the Committee on Health in December, with MSDC member Dr. Sara Imershein testifying for MSDC and ACOG.