UMA Successfully Lobbies for Immunity Provisions for COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Utah Medical Association has been pushing both the Governor and the Legislature to provide special immunity provisions to providers, and specifically to physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, April 17th, the legislature in special session passed S.B. 3002 - Emergency Health Care Access and Immunity Amendments. The bill protects physicians for acts or omissions when treating patients during a major public health emergency (currently COVID-19) so long as the acts or omissions were not grossly negligent, intentional or malicious, even if the care is outside of a specific standard of care, so long as the care is within the physician's scope of practice. It also includes protections for the use of investigational drugs or devices with informed consent. A detailed description of the bill and its protections for physicians is available HERE.
Keep UMA Strong - Join or Renew Membership
This upcoming legislative session could be the poster child for maintaining your UMA membership. UMA needs the voice of every caring physician to be represented when we take to the Hill. Our success in advocating for you and your colleagues is directly influenced by how many doctors we actually represent. If you have not yet renewed your membership, or if you are not currently a member of UMA, please look over this site and talk to your colleagues about the need for renewing or joining the association. Together we are stronger, and can accomplish more for you, your profession, and your patients.
UMA Members Serve in State Legislature
UMA Past President Stewart Barlow, MD, started an encouraging trend in 2011 that is catching on with other physicians. In the 2018 election, five UMA member physicians ran for statewide elected offices. In addition to Dr. Barlow defending his seat in the Utah House of Representatives, Ray Ward, MD is also succeeded in running for re-election to the House. Suzanne Harrison, MD, and David Sundwall, MD, also vyed for seats in the House, but only Dr. Harrison prevailed. Another UMA past president, Brian Shiozawa, MD, was serving in the Utah Senate when he accepted a position to serve with the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services in December 2017. Brian Zehnder, MD, was appointed to fill Dr. Shiozawa's seat and ran to win the Senate seat outright, but was defeated in the final election.
Two other UMA members, Michael Kennedy, MD, and Edward Redd, MD, who had served in Utah's House of Representatives since 2012, decided against running for re-election. Dr. Kennedy ran a strong campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by the retiring Orrin Hatch, but was defeated by Mitt Romney.
UMA Says NO to Physician Tax to Fund Medicaid Expansion
Ding Dong the tax is dead! Which old tax? The doctor tax.
Ding Dong the doctor tax is dead! (apologies to the Munchkins)
UMA has previously come out in support of the "Healthy Utah" plan proposed by Governor Gary Herbert for Medicaid expansion, with the proviso that no "physician tax" be included in the plans to fund the expansion. The "UtahAccess+" proposal, however, included significant provider taxes/fees in its funding mechanisms. UMA is dead set against such taxes or increased licensure fees for physicians and worked feverishly to convince legislators that other funding mechanisms would be more reasonable and fair. A recent survey of UMA members shows overwhelming opposition to any physician tax, even to the extent that most would want UMA to oppose Medicaid expansion altogether if the state mandated physician taxes to help pay for it.
UMA emailed or called every Utah legislator to let them know of our opposition to funding via provider taxes or fees and will keep pushing for alternates. For more information, click here.