Friday, February 20, 2009

Virginia General Assembly 2009

A relatively brief note to thank all the people in the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians, the Medical Society of Virginia and any and all organizations that worked so hard this General Assembly session to positively impact the health of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The biggest victory is the passage of the anti-smoking legislation. Word came late last night that the General Assembly's conference committee passed legislation that would essentially outlaw smoking in any restaurants (with very limited exceptions). This is a huge victory, especially in such a tobacco-focused region and one that last year (when the legislation failed to even make it out of the House of Delegates) seemed nearly impossible.

Other good things: no issues addressing the malpractice cap came up and the proposal to license Naturopathic Physicians (N.D.s) was killed in committee.

Legislation and government are not always friendly and are rarely easy to understand, at least for me. However, the further I go in this career the more I realize that in order to make a major difference in the health of the people of Virginia you cannot approach things one patient at at time. We need to care for our patients, both at the individual level but also by becoming active participants in government in order to affect policy in way that will provide the greatest benefits for Virginia's doctors and patients.

I want to write more about the N.D.s--I'll try to do so soon.

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