Women's Health


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

25th Council information coming soon!



MSDC and Many Many Others: Reform Prior Auth

May 25, 2023, 12:38 PM by MSDC Staff
The highly anticipated hearing on the MSDC supported prior auth bill brought out numerous people and organizations agreeing that we need to #FixDCPriorAuth

On Wednesday, the DC Committee on Health held a hearing on B25-124, the Prior Authorization Reform Act.

The bill would enact common-sense reforms like reasonable waiting periods for prior authorization appeals, requirements for locally licensed physician utilization reviews, and limitations on what can receive a prior authorization.

Of the twenty plus witnesses, an overwhelming majority spoke in favor of the bill's concepts. MSDC President Dr. Susanne Bathgate and President-Elect Dr. Ashesh Patel both testified in person representing the Society. Dr. Bathgate's testimony focused on how prior authorizations were impacted her pregnant patients, with clinically recommended care being denied or delayed:

If the authoritative organization in this field, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has determined, based on appropriate research and gathering of data, that all patients should have access to these levels of genetic screening, prior authorization should not be required if this is a benefit covered by their insurance.

Dr. Patel's testimony focused on the impact of prior authorizations on his own practice:

Every week, I need to deal with PA approvals, adding to my administrative burden (as a solo practitioner in the District) and puts a strain on my relationships with my patients because pharmacies and insurance companies make my patients believe I am at fault for them not being able to get their medicines instead of the actual culprit: the insurance companies.

Also testifying was American Medical Association president Dr. Jack Resnick. Dr. Resnick focused on his own prior auth experience and gave a national perspective to the issue:

Every practicing physician will tell you that it is not unusual for a care disruption due to prior authorization to negatively impact a patient’s health—whether it is a permanent loss of function when an patient with arthritis temporarily loses access to their medication; a shoulder surgery that could have been avoided had they not had to wait weeks for an MRI; an emergency room visit for a pancreatitis flare after going two weeks without authorization for long-acting insulin, or cancer progression when chemotherapy takes months to get approved. Physicians know we must reform the prior authorization process for our patients.

The ability to testify in writing is open until June 7; if you want to make your opinion known on this issue, email hay@msdc.org to learn how. The next step for the bill would be a markup, which allows it to be considered by the entire Council. MSDC is unsure if and when it will be marked up but we are working hard to keep it top of mind for the Council.


Sample of Legislation MSDC Followed in Women's Health and Maternal Health

(See the whole list of bills here)

Postpartum Coverage Act of 2019 (B23-326)

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.

Strengthening Reproductive Health Protections Act (B23-434)

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.

Maternal Health Care Improvement and Expansion Act (B23-362)

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.