PSV Virginia News

Spring 2019 Issue


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White Coats on Call Recap

By Megan Small, DO
PGY-1 Psychiatry Resident
VCU Health System

I never considered myself someone that is politically savvy. However, as I proceeded through my intern year of residency at VCU’s psychiatry program, I often found myself asking questions regarding healthcare and insurance policies, as well as regulation pertaining to medical education in residency as determined by ACGME. White Coats on Call served as the perfect avenue to gain insight into the political world and better understand some of the work that goes into making positive change for physicians and patients alike.

White Coats on Call is made possible through the efforts of the Medical Society of Virginia (MSV). This year’s event took place on January 30 during the General Assembly session in Richmond. Doctors, allied healthcare professionals, residents, and medical students first gathered at the John Marshall Ballrooms to discuss the most critical issues to advocate for before heading to the state office. The issues that MSV proposed as major talking points with politicians and their advocates included increasing Medicaid reimbursement, prior authorization/step therapy reform, issues with balance and surprise billing during emergency room visits and ancillary balance billing. These were all separate policies to be determined by legislators that are primarily outside the field of medicine.

It was an eye-opening experience to realize that so much of what physicians live and practice by is determined by a government official potentially with little-to-no knowledge on the subject. This made White Coats on Call an especially meaningful experience. As the professionals and “experts” in the room, we really had the ability to plead our side of the story with real-life experience and clinical knowledge during White Coats on Call. Without such information, one can imagine how a politician may make decisions based on a variety of other factors that do not prioritize the interest of physicians and their patients.

While general medical issues pertaining to all field of medicine were the general talking points presented and advocated by MSV, I also had the unique experience to advocate for brain injury survivors during the General Assembly. Upon first presenting to White Coats on Call, I was met graciously by Richmond Psychiatric Society’s President, Dr. Kara Beatty, as well as the PSV’s association manager, Andrew Mann. Along with Dr. Beatty’s interest in general healthcare policy advocacy, she is also involved in work related to traumatic brain injury survivors. As the General Assembly was truly open to just about any advocacy group, a variety of societies, groups and grassroots members were present to petition their concerns and policies to legislators. One of these groups, the Community Brain Injury Services, is a non-profit dedicated to empowering and providing resources for traumatic brain injury survivors. Dr. Beatty also happens to be one of the directors for the Community Brain Injury Services, so I had the opportunity to also take part in advocating for better resource allocation and funding through this non-profit’s efforts. Community Brain Injury Services helps to provide TBI survivors with community resources, including Clubhouses and case management services. Without such resources, these individuals are often overlooked and potentially inappropriately admitted to inpatient psychiatric units or state hospital facilities. As a non-profit, Community Brain Injury Services depends largely on outside funds, making the General Assembly a vital event to petition for state funding and policy.

White Coats on Call was a very meaningful experience that helped grant me the opportunity to explore my own budding interest in politics as well as advocate for policies pertaining to physicians and patients. While finding time to do anything but work as a starting intern in residency can be difficult, I am grateful to have taken the time to learn more and empower political figures to make more meaningful and informed legislative decisions.

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