CMA's 50th Legislative Advocacy Day: A success for physician advocacy

April 18, 2024
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy 

CMA members meet to discuss physicians' legislative priorities with Assemblymember Avelino Valencia.
CMA members meet to discuss physicians' legislative priorities with Assemblymember Avelino Valencia.

The California Medical Association (CMA) recently celebrated a milestone with its 50th Legislative Advocacy Day, held on April 10, 2024, in Sacramento. The event brought together over 400 physicians, medical students and resident members from across the state to advocate for important health care issues affecting Californians.

Attendees received updates from CMA President Tanya W. Spirtos, M.D., and CMA’s chief lobbyist Stuart Thompson, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Political Operations, about key health care issues before the legislature this year. Attendees then lobbied their legislators in support of some of CMA's priority issues, including:

  • The protection of the historic investments in Medi-Cal in Governor Gavin Newsom's proposed budget. These investments are vital for maintaining access to quality health care for all Californians. Physicians urged lawmakers to safeguard this funding and ensure its continued support through the legislative process.
  • The critical need to reform the prior authorization process: CMA's sponsored bill, SB 516, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner, aims to address the challenges and delays caused by the current prior authorization system. Physicians shared personal stories and insights, highlighting the urgent need for reform to ensure timely access to care for patients.
  • CMA's sponsored bill to institute guardrails on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care settings was also a central focus of meetings. Senator Josh Becker’s SB 1120, known as the “Physicians Make Decisions Act,” would require physician oversight of utilization review decisions made or assisted by a health plan’s AI decision-making tools or algorithms. Recent news reports have highlighted instances and allegations of health plans using AI algorithms to wrongly deny medically necessary care.

"CMA’s advocacy day provides a unique opportunity for physicians to directly influence health care policy and ensure that the voice of medicine is heard in Sacramento,” Thompson said. “Flooding the halls with white coats and meeting with legislators and their staff is a powerful demonstration of the dedication and passion of California physicians.”

CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran also provided an update on the Protect Access to Healthcare Act, a ballot initiative filed by CMA and coalition partners that would permanently expand access to health care for millions of Californians who rely on Medi-Cal.

“By building on and making permanent the historic investments to Medi-Cal that the Governor and the Legislature made last year, we can ensure equitable access to care and allow physicians to take on Medi-Cal patient loads reflective of their communities,” Corcoran said.  

As the legislative year progresses, CMA remains committed to advocating for policies that prioritize patient care and support physicians in providing the best possible health care for Californians.

Legislative Advocacy Day attendees also enjoyed hearing from keynote speaker California Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire, who commended CMA and its members for their dedication to improving health care in California.

Click here to see photos from this year’s Legislative Advocacy Day (tag and share, too!).

And the Golden Gavel goes to….

The CMA Political Action Committee (CALPAC) also concluded its three-week Golden Gavel contest in conjunction with Legislative Advocacy Day, ending with a fundraising total of just over $17,000.

The annual contest challenges physicians from each county medical society to make a new donation or upgrade their current level of giving to CALPAC. At the end of the contest period, the medical society that had the highest level of giving won the Golden Gavel. For the second year in a row, this year’s winner was the San Bernardino County Medical Society.

See you next year!

We are grateful for the time everyone took out of their busy schedules to speak with legislators on the issues impacting the delivery of health care in California. We hope to see you next year for CMA's 51st Legislative Advocacy Day!


Was this article helpful?    
Download the New CMADocs app!

Download the new CMADocs app!

CMA's new mobile app lets you connect with your colleagues and engage with CMA content!  Download the "CMADocs" app today from the Apple or Google Play app stores for daily news updates, events calendar, resource library and more.

Latest News

Load More