A Conversation with LACMA’s Political Action Committee (LACPAC) Chair, Dr. George Fouras
Q: As chair, can you describe the LACPAC structure?
We have recently updated our by-laws to define the structure of our board of directors more accurately and to provide oversight of our operations by LACMA. We strive to maintain a broadly diverse board that reflects the membership of LACMA. Our board consists of 13 members voted on by the Administrative Members oversight board. The Administrative Members mirror the LACMA board of directors but are solely defined by the LACPAC by-laws to maintain a firewall between the organizations. In this way, LACMA maintains oversight of LACPAC and who becomes a member of the LACPAC Board.
Q: Is LACPAC partisan?
LACPAC is, by definition, non-partisan. We evaluate each candidate on their own merits regardless of party affiliation.
Q: Who is on the board, and what is/are the terms?
We have the standard set of officers, including a chair, vice-chair, development chair, secretary/ treasurer, MSS, RFS, and YPS members, and six at-large members. In addition, there is the Chair Emeriti, who are non-voting but are for past chairs to maintain institutional memory. Terms are for two years, and each person may serve up to 6 terms.
Q: If I want to serve on the board, what steps do I take?
Simply ask! We are currently forming our slate for presentation to the June 2023 Administrative Members meeting for approval. We seek motivated individuals who enjoy advocacy and politics. Previous experience is not required but is helpful, as are having relationships with current legislators or promising candidates.
Q: Why did you decide to be chair?
I returned to Los Angeles 6 years ago to take a position with the LA County Department of Mental Health. I have been involved in politics since I was a resident at the old LA County Medical Center (and am currently participating in several PACs, including CALPAC. I attended an in-person meeting of LACPAC in 2018 and was warmly welcomed. The past Chair, Dr. Thomas Horowitz, has an incredible amount of experience and personal connections to legislators in the area. LACPAC was tasked by the LACMA board to modernize our practices, and I was offered the opportunity to make this happen with Dr. Horowitz, and I eagerly jumped at the chance.
Q: What is the mission of LACPAC?
From our by-laws: "The purpose of LACPAC is to support and encourage the election of California state and local candidates and ballot measures affecting physicians and other residents of Los Angeles County. “ We seek to support those seeking legislative office, both state and local, who support the mission of LACMA: Promotion of public health, support for the practice of medicine, and advocacy for our patients.
Q: What are your goals as chair?
When I became Chair of LACPAC, I had five main goals: 1) Increase the diversity of the LACPAC Board, 2) Update the by-laws and clearly define who are the members of the LACPAC board, 3) Provide a mechanism for the LACMA board to have oversight of LACPAC, 4) Increase the yearly budget from our current level of $35K to about $100K, and 5) Once LACPAC is on a solid path forward, retire to Shady Pines and allow our younger members to take over. So far, we have accomplished goals 1 through 3. We are working on number 4, and number 5 is on the horizon.
Q: What role does LACPAC play in the political landscape?
LACPAC supports state and local candidates who share LACMA's philosophy and vision of the future of healthcare and medical practice.
Q: How can individuals support LACPAC's mission and goals?
Individuals can support LACPAC's mission and goals by donating to our PAC or participating in our advocacy efforts.
Q: What is the importance of a fair and just healthcare system?
A fair and just healthcare system is important because it ensures that all patients have access to the care they need, regardless of their socioeconomic status or other factors. It also helps to promote a healthy and productive society by ensuring that individuals have access to the care they need to maintain their health and well-being.
Assembly Bill 1751 is Bad Policy | Assembly Bill 1751 (Mike Gipson) sponsored by the California Chiropractic Association, is being presented as an effort to decrease opioid prescription rates. However, it unnecessarily alters current requirements around opioid prescriptions to increase referrals to non-pharmacological treatments for pain, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, and mental health treatment.
Existing law requires specific prescription requirements for minors, which this bill would extend to all patients, requiring physicians to share information on non-pharmacological options, offer referrals, and confirm with the patient's signature that this was done. This would create an unnecessary administrative burden and undermine the judgment and expertise of physicians. Additionally, there would be no exemption to this burden for chronic pain prescriptions, only hospice patients.
AB 1751 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Health Committee on April 11th. Members of this committee must hear from physicians in their districts NOW on the issues this bill poses for the delivery of healthcare in California.
Not only does this bill overrule physician judgments, it also establishes referral requirements without proposed coverage expansions. Medi-Cal is not required to cover all non-pharmacological treatments, meaning much of the patient population in California will not have the ability to utilize the mandated referral.
I urge you to take action by clicking here to send a letter to your legislator asking them to oppose AB 1751. Let's work together to ensure that patients receive the care they need and that physicians can continue to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients.
New DEA Requirement for Substance Abuse Disorder Training for Renewal of License | On December 29, 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 enacted a new one-time, eight-hour training requirement for all Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-registered practitioners on the treatment and management of patients with opioid or other substance use disorders. LACMA member Dr. Basil Vassantachart and LACMA executive committee and board members will host a webinar in May to inform members about the DEA requirement. Stay tuned for more details!
Free On-Demand Webinar: 2023 Billing, Coding, and Documentation Updates | In case you missed it, you and your staff can now watch CAP’s free webinar addressing the most significant 2023 updates to E/M billing, coding, and documentation. Presented by renowned billing and coding expert Terry Fletcher, this webinar provides essential guidance to ensure that your practice is appropriately reimbursed.
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"To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; that is to be a physician."
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Medical Association
“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”