Physicians Oppose "Best Practices" Legislation

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - Minnesota physicians do not support current proposals to let state agencies decide what medical practices all physicians should follow, according to Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) at a press conference held today.

"We are pleased to say that over 100 physicians have already stepped forward to say that this is wrong. It's wrong for the State to get into the practice of medicine. It's wrong for government to interfere with the patient-doctor relationship. And it's wrong to violate the confidentiality of patient medical records," said Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

A large presentation board covered with physician petitions was on display. Each doctor's practice type was written on each petition in a variety of colored markers.

"There is genuine concern in all segments of the physician community. As is obvious from this display of petitions, family practice doctors, internists, and specialists of all sorts do not like what is being planned for them and their patients," Brase added.

If enacted, the bills (House File 1681 and Senate File 1760) would authorize state agencies to identify, disseminate, promote, and measure physician adherence to a state-issued list of "best practices." Adherence to these medical practice directives could also be made part of state contracts with health care providers for the provision of services to state employees and recipients of public health care programs. Senate File 1760 is more specific: a portion of the provider's reimbursement for public programs could be withheld for lack of adherence.

"We don't know who these 'health care providers' are that are reported to be 'fully supportive' of the Bradley/Berglin proposal, but from all indications, it's not individual physicians out in the clinics making a difference in patient's lives every day," said Brase.

"Finding ways to reduce the cost of medical care and health insurance premiums is a good idea, but cost containment should never be an opportunity for government control of medical decisions. Doctors know it. Patients know it. But it seems the legislature has yet to figure it out," said Brase in her concluding remarks.

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)
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