268527 Addressing unmet medical need through changes in medical licensure law

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ramsay Hoguet, JD, MPH , Case Western Reserve University, Brookline, MA
Free medical fairs staffed by volunteer professionals and targeting underserved areas have provided thousands of patients with millions of dollars worth of primary care. By creating a temporary volunteer medical licensure, Tennessee, Illinois and Oklahoma have eased interstate medical volunteerism so much that in those states up to 20% of volunteers at such fairs have been licensed elsewhere. Ohio has not created such a licensure, despite evidence that doing so can increase volunteerism by reducing administrative barriers. Appalachian areas of Ohio near West Virginia and Kentucky, with poverty rates between 30% - 50% and higher rates of unmet medical need than elsewhere in the state, would particularly benefit from access to free medical services and interstate volunteerism. Ohio's medical providers and licensing authorities are concerned about volunteers' malpractice liability and protecting the integrity of the medical licensure system. Some stakeholders may be concerned that encouraging volunteerism will be misconstrued as a substitute for more comprehensive policies to increase access to health care. Given this potential resistance, advocates should give careful consideration to strategically framing volunteer licensure proposals, approaching allies and legislators, and anticipating objections. The process began with soliciting the opinions of stakeholders such as charitable organizations and the state medical association, followed by drafting legislative language, assembling advocacy materials and meeting with legislators. Advocates should be prepared for uncertainty since sources of support or opposition may not be known until after the advocacy process begins. They should also be patient, as proposals may take years to become law.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the development of and advocacy process for a temporary volunteer medical licensure provision in Ohio. 2) Identify the lessons that can be drawn from the process and applied to the broader world of public health advocacy.

Keywords: Access, Legislative

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a second year MPH student focusing on health policy and administration. Previously, I earned a JD with health law concentration. My research and internship experience has focused on state and local level public health policy. This presentation summarizes my MPH Capstone project, on which I have been working for more than a year.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.