2018 Advocacy Preview: Strengthening Public Health

Date of Publication December 8, 2017

The IMS Board of Directors recently approved a revised three-year IMS Strategic Plan to help guide the work of our organization. Among the directives included in this new organizational roadmap is that IMS should expand its focus on issues that affect all Iowa physicians, regardless of practice arrangement, specialty, or practice location. This includes an increased focus on public health issues.

For the past several years, IMS has partnered with patient and provider organizations pursue a host of public health legislative initiatives. These partnerships have included collaboration with the Iowa Dermatological Society (IDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics, Iowa Chapter (AAP-IA), the Iowa Public Health Association (IPHA), and the American Cancer Society (ACS). In 2018, the IMS Committee on Legislation recommends continuing these partnerships and expanding IMS involvement with additional public health advocates. These include the following:

  • $1.50 Cigarette Tax Increase
    IMS will work with ACS, IPHA, AAP-IA, and a large coalition of patient and provider groups to push for the first increase in Iowa’s cigarette tax in more than a decade. Currently, 26 states, including neighbors Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, have a higher cigarette tax than Iowa.
  • Underage Indoor Tanning Ban
    For several years now, IMS has worked with ACS, IDS, and others to push for an underage indoor tanning ban in Iowa. In recent years, bills have cleared committees and even passed a full chamber of the legislature, but have failed to make it to final passage. In 2018, IMS will continue to partner with these organizations to educate legislators about the need for this children’s protection measure.
  • Increased Access to Pediatric Obesity Resources
    AAP-IA has worked closely with the United Way of Central Iowa to develop consistent, effective resources to help providers talk to patients about pediatric obesity and to help guide parents are they look to instill health behaviors in their children. These efforts have been bolstered by support and resources from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the governor’s recently-announced campaign to expand access to these resources. In 2018, IMS will partner with the advocates to support increased access to pediatric obesity resources across the state.
  • Raising Iowa’s Tobacco Age
    In recent years, public health advocates have begun a push for increase the legal age to purchase and utilize tobacco from 18 to 21. Currently, five states and more than 270 local municipalities have implemented this increase. IMS has worked with AAP-IA and others in recent years to get legislation introduced to have Iowa join this list and limit young people’s access to tobacco. In 2018, we will continue to educate legislators about the need for this shift and work to build support for the legislation.

For more information on these public health initiatives or any other proposed  2018 IMS Legislative Priorities, please contact Dennis Tibben with the IMS Center for Physician Advocacy.

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