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
MSDC Leaders Testify Before Board of Medicine and Council
Yesterday, MSDC leaders spoke out on myriad topics before the District government as part of the Society's mission to make DC the best place to practice medicine.
MSDC President J. Desiree Pineda, MD, FACP, presented to the monthly DC Board of Medicine meeting briefly on the new Healthy Physician Program. The program, to launch next week, provides professional and peer support services for physicians who are experiencing moral injury or need a colleague to speak with during these uncertain times. Dr. Pineda gave the Board an update and reinforced the need for the Board to collect and share good data as part of the license renewal process. MSDC seeks to work with DC Health to study workforce survey data to see how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting physician wellbeing.
Also yesterday, two MSDC leaders testified before the Committee on Health on five separate bills. MSDC Board member and psychiatrist Yavar Moghimi, MD testified on B23-543, the Suicide Prevention Continuing Education Amendment Act of 2019. Dr. Moghimi testified that MSDC is concerned with the high rate of suicide in America, and referenced the higher-than-average suicide rate among medical professionals versus the entire population. However, Dr. Moghimi shared that the medical licensure process is a process designed to indicate who is qualified to practice medicine in the District, not who is most knowledgeable, and mandatory content matter across all specialties (even those who do not interact with patients) is counterproductive. Instead, on behalf of MSDC, Dr. Moghimi offered to work with DC Health and the private sector to educate the physician community on signs of suicide risk.
Samuel Kareff, MD, the Chair of MSDC's advocacy committee, testified on four other bills before the Committee: the Certificate of Stillbirth Amendment Act, the Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act, the Opioid Labeling Amendment Act, and the SMA Screening Act. Dr. Kareff provided a medical perspective on all four bills. He expressed MSDC's support for the Certificate of Sillbirth Act and the Opioid Labeling bill. He shared some concerns on the Lyme disease bill, as it would mandate a scripted message providers and health facilities must give a patient after a Lyme disease test. He also expressed support for the SMA Screening Act but shared the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidance on screening for SMA.
MSDC is constantly testifying before government entities on health policy. If you would like to learn how you can be involved in MSDC's advocacy efforts, contact our office.
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.