MSDC Calls for Fee Reduction, Wellbeing Resources in District Budget
As part of the District FY22 budget process, MSDC President Dr. EW Emanuel submitted written testimony on Friday to the District's Committee on Health. The Committee held a hearing on the DC Health portion of the District's budget.
Of note in the Mayor's budget (which we analyzed earlier) was a one-time boost to the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program. MSDC is a proponent of the program to allow healthcare professionals to receive loan repayment assistance for practicing in a medically underserved area.
Dr. Emanuel also made some suggestions for ways for the District to spend its surplus to support the District's healthcare heroes this year and next. The entire testimony can be seen below.
June 11, 2021
Re: Written testimony of EW Emanuel, MD
President, Medical Society of the District of Columbia
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony to the committee as part of the FY22 budget process. My name is Dr. EW Emanuel, and I am the 2020-2021 President of the Medical Society of DC. As MSDC is a 204-year-old organization, I am not the first president to serve during a global pandemic, and I know I will not be the last. How the District approaches the budget this year and in years to come will ensure we learn the lessons of past pandemics to prevent disruption and death in the next one.
COVID-19 taught us an important lesson – a holistic approach to health care is essential. We cannot depend on one industry or one part of the health care sector to solve society’s health needs. MSDC is committed to continue working with the other health care organizations testifying today to improve the health of the District.
MSDC is pleased the budget contains funding for the Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program. This program provides physicians and allied health professionals needed financial support to practice where the need is greatest. Many people do not realize the financial burdens of creating a new practice – programs like HPLRP alleviate some of those concerns and make setting up a practice feasible.
As the Committee on Health thinks about ways to improve the FY22 budget, I would suggest the following areas:
• Create a fund to promote wellbeing programs or resources for healthcare providers, to prevent the epidemic of burnout hitting the medical profession
• Reduce the fees medical professionals must pay for a license, which the Bowser Administration is doing for non-medical licenses
• Assist DC Health in creating a process for expedited licensure for Maryland and Virginia physicians who meet DC licensure qualifications
• Reform medical liability laws to offer some protection to physicians acting in good faith
• Direct federal money to create a healthcare workforce training fund, to ensure all medical facilities can hire and recruit qualified professionals
As we have been doing since the District Council was created, MSDC and the physician community looks forward to working with you to make the District the best place to practice medicine.
EW Emanuel, MD