CPMA Proudly Plants Podiatric Medicine’s Flag at State Capitol during Legislative Leadership Conference

CPMA Proudly Plants Podiatric Medicine’s Flag at State Capitol during Legislative Leadership Conference

At California's State Capitol: CPMA President Thomas Elardo, DPM; Ami Sheth, DPM, President-Elect; Agnes Lee, MPP, Special Assistant to Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego); Jodi Hick, Legislative Counsel and Eduardo Hernandez, Student, College of Podiatric Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences

Sunshine, blue skies and spring bloom greeted over 100 California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) member podiatric physicians, residents, podiatric medical students and supporters gathered at the lovely Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento on March 4 to ensure that the voice of podiatric medicine is heard in California’s corridors of power. During CPMA’s 2015 Legislative Leadership Conference, podiatric physicians discussed the many challenges – and opportunities – facing the practice of medicine in California today.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, representing California’s 18th District (encompassing the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro) was the event’s keynote speaker.  Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Assemblyman Bonta discussed his background, sharing that his father was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Deep South – marching for equality and justice in Selma.  He also noted that his father had helped to setup free healthcare clinics for farm-workers throughout the state.  All of which served to make him keenly aware of the importance of access to quality healthcare for all Californians.  Assemblyman Bonta also discussed Assembly Bill 366; legislation he recently introduced to eliminate the 10 percent cut in Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, and which would also make Medi-Cal payments to providers on par with what Medicare pays for the same service.  In closing, he urged attendees to “tell their stories” when visiting their legislators that afternoon.  “Talk about what you do every day, in your practice – caring for your patients,” he suggested.

In his State of the Association message CPMA President Thomas Elardo, DPM spoke about CPMA’s many strengths and important recent successes. CPMA Past President and Physician and Surgeon Joint Task Force Co-Chair Michael Cornelison, DPM gave an update on the P & S Task Force. Conference attendees also heard a dynamic presentation from California Medical Association’s Senior Vice President Janus Norman, as well as a positive projection for the podiatric medical profession in California from Board of Podiatric Medicine Executive Officer Jason Campbell, Esq. CPMA Legislative Counsel Jodi Hicks provided information and guidance for meeting with legislators and their staff members. Event emcee CPMA President-Elect Ami Sheth, DPM kept the packed agenda running smoothly.

After a morning of legislative briefings, guest speakers, an appetizing breakfast and delicious buffet lunch the group headed to California’s majestic Capitol building to speak to their legislators about critical issues affecting the practice of podiatric medicine in California.

Among the issues discussed with legislators were reinstatement of adult podiatric medical services in FFS Medi-Cal, low reimbursement rates and access to care.

Following their legislative visits conference attendees returned to the Citizen Hotel for afternoon refreshments and to share their experiences.

The California Podiatric Medical Association thanks Bako Integrated Physician Solutions, Integra LifeSciences; Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Flower Orthopedics, and Amniox for their generous support in helping to make CPMA’s 2015 Legislative Leadership Conference possible.

Doctors are Patients’ Best Advocates.