Georgia Shines at AAFP’s Family Medicine Advocacy Summit (FMAS)

AAFP’s FMAS was held recently in Washington, D.C., and brought together more than 240 Academy members, who met with 220 members of Congress and their staffs to rally behind three top AAFP policy priorities: increasing access to telehealth, addressing the mental health crisis and finally ensuring Medicaid payment parity.

Georgia Academy leaders who represented the state chapter included:

  • Susana Ajoy Alfonso, MD, FAAFP – President
  • Loy D. “Chip” Cowart, MD, FAAFP – Legislative Committee Vice Chair
  • Leslie David, MD – Practice Management Committee Member
  • Casey Henritz, DO – Legislative Committee Member
  • John Gerguis, MD, FAAFP – Legislative Committee Member
  • Fay Fulton – GAFP Staff

Chapter President, Susana Alfonso, MD, accepted an award for the Georgia Academy for the GAFP’s member participation with the AAFP’s FAM MED PAC.

COVID-19’s long shadow looms over Medicaid patients as the public health emergency draws toward a close, while the ongoing pay disparity between Medicaid and other payers continues to threaten primary care practices (especially in rural and underserved communities) with financial instability. These factors, members told Congress during FMAS, mean that Medicaid payment rates must be raised, and federal Medicaid regulations strengthened.

To do these things, the Academy continues to press for passage of the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women and Children Act (S. 1833) and the Kids Access to Primary Care Act (H.R. 1025), and an increase of Medicaid payment rates to at least Medicare levels, and to urge that the Biden administration enforce and strengthen federal Medicaid access regulations. 

In advocating for improved behavioral health care integration in primary care, FMAS participants reminded lawmakers and their staffs that family physicians are often the first point of contact for patients navigating the health care system. One-third of the care for serious mental illness and a quarter of prescriptions for serious mental illness take place in a primary care setting.