Members of the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) from across the state came together (online) on Saturday, December 5, 2020, for the MAFP Advocacy Summit to dialogue with Minnesota House Representative Dave Pinto (DFL-District 64B) and advise the Academy on issues of importance to family medicine and patients.
Dialogue with Representative Pinto
Representative Pinto shared his perspective on the upcoming 2021 legislative session as well as the need for family physician involvement in the legislative process. He urged MAFP members to get to know their legislators and build relationships. He said, “We need you. We need your knowledge. You can have a relationship with your legislator.”
MAFP member Alex Sharp, MD, asked how best to foster relationships with representatives that may align more with a different political party. Representative Pinto responded that legislators are “just built to want to be in relationship with you regardless of your beliefs.” Find out who represents you.
In these divided times, and with the only divided Legislature in the country (Minnesota has a DFL majority in the House and republican majority in the Senate), Representative Pinto was asked how we move forward to address the challenges facing our state. He talked about the importance of reaching out to all Minnesotans to work together. “It’s going to take ALL of us. Democracy is not a spectator sport,” he said. We need “increased listening” and “increasingly to recognize the humanity in one another.”
The discussion with Representative Pinto ended with members sharing concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for Minnesota and the importance of ensuring it’s equitable as well as the racial justice work that needs to happen in our state.
Member Discussions on Advocacy for 2021
Following the discussion with Representative Pinto, members went into breakout groups to discuss administrative burden, payment reform, reproductive health care and social factors that influence health. Breakout groups were tasked with advising what issues within these topics are most affecting patients and family physicians and how MAFP might work to address them.
The administrative burden group discussed the problem of interoperability and data burnout and whether or not the MAFP could help advocate for reforms with health systems and clinic leadership.
The reproductive health care group discussed the need to focus on maintaining and increasing access for reproductive health, addressing maternal morbidity and mortality and supporting education to continue the pipeline for full spectrum reproductive health care.
The payment reform group had a variety of opinions on approaches to addressing the problems with the current fee-for-service payment model and how to make sure that family physicians are appropriately reimbursed for primary care services. The group discussed the need to support payment models that foster wellness, increase access and make health equitable.
The group discussing social factors influencing health talked about increasing access to telehealth services, supporting community collaborations and innovations and the need to continue to eliminate race-based thinking in care.
These thoughtful conversations provided great insight for MAFP leadership as we plan for 2021.
Advocacy Summit Wrap-up
Thank you to those who were able to attend our MAFP Advocacy Summit. As a member-led, member-focused organization, your voice matters to us and drives the work we do.
We encourage all of our members to reach out with ideas and feedback: email Jami Burbidge, MAM, chief operating officer.
We hope to see you at our House of Delegates policy forum on June 12, 2021 (save the date—more info to come).
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- Jami Burbidge, MAM, chief operating officer, @jami_burbidge
- Emie Buege, communications