The Idaho Academy of Physician Assistants has been working hard to increase its visibility in the Idaho Capitol and around the state. The lawmaking process is an interactive process. Legislators need input from constituents in order to make informed decisions. Each year Idaho lawmakers consider several dozen healthcare-related pieces of legislation. Legislators come from all backgrounds - their ranks include farmers, teachers, lawyers, small business owners, insurance agents and many other professions - and only a couple have any experience in healthcare-related jobs. They need your expertise when they are evaluating a piece of healthcare legislation and trying to decide if it is good public policy for Idaho.
Not only do legislators need PAs but PAs need legislators. Every year there are proposals submitted that have an impact on your practice. Idaho has a PA-friendly practice environment due in large part to input from the IAPA and its dedicated members. Advocacy efforts have two main components - offense and defense. It is critical that PAs work with legislators to pass laws that are beneficial to PAs and their patients (offense) but it is equally critical that IAPA and its members be aware of and work to defeat or modify proposals that would harm PA practice in Idaho (defense).
IAPA Advocacy Activities
IAPA may employ the services of a lobbyist, and we also work with the Idaho Medical Association to support PA-friendly legislation. Just a few examples include: working on legislation stating that PAs may own their own practice and contract with or employ a supervising physician, ensuring that PAs are included in legislation whenever provider types are specified in new laws, working on PA reimbursement issues and negotiating with state agencies to maintain or enhance PA reimbursement.
There are many healthcare issues that surface every year that impact PA practice. IAPA members receive legislative bulletins and action alerts when important bills are being considered. If you have specific legislative questions, contact IAPA@idmed.org.
Contacting your Legislator
The single most effective tool we have in making positive changes to PA practice in Idaho is your relationship with your legislators. Legislators are in office to represent their constitutents. They really care what you think about issues and they will listen and take your opinion into consideration when they vote. If you develop an on-going relationship with your legislators where you tell them what is important to you and listen to what is important to them, you not only learn about what's going on at the Capitol but you make your vote truly count. To contact your legislator, go to: http://legislature.idaho.gov/howtocontactlegislators.htm.