Board Votes to Expand Member
Engagement in Legislative Process

Date of Publication October 6, 2017

The Iowa Medical Society is the largest physician organization in our state, representing physicians, residents, and medical students in every medical specialty, practice arrangement, career phase, and corner of Iowa. To ensure that the positions of IMS accurately reflect those of its large and diverse membership, we are continually evaluating the process by which we review proposed legislative and regulatory measures. In recent years, IMS has enacted systemic changes to expand opportunities for virtual member engagement and sought to move beyond the traditional fall in-person meeting of the Committee on Legislation.

At its September Board meeting, the IMS Board of Directors voted to approve a significant restructuring of the IMS legislative priority setting process with two goals in mind — to engage even more IMS members across the state in evaluating proposed policy and to engage these members more often.


Effective January 1, 2018

What’s New?
  • County & Specialty Society Policy Council – The current Committee on Legislation, consisting of 29 representatives nominating by leadership of their respective county and specialty societies, as well as the two medical schools and IMGMA, will be reformatted to become a policy advisory council. This group will continue to meet each fall and maintain a formal link for these valued partners to provide feedback and recommendations for IMS legislative priorities.
  • New Committee on Legislation – IMS will form a new, slightly smaller committee, which will be comprised of physicians, residents, and medical students that reflect the demographic makeup of the IMS membership at-large. This group will receive input from the other IMS committees, councils, workgroups, and sections, and submit recommendations for the IMS Legislative Agenda to the Board of Directors. This committee will meet twice in the fall and bi-weekly via conference call during the legislative session to provide more real-time input on issues under consideration at the General Assembly.
  • Policy Advisory Workgroup – Every physician clinic in the state with 100% IMS membership will be invited to designate a physician representative to participate in this new virtual workgroup. This group will include representatives from across the spectrum of practice sizes and employment arrangements from solo independent physicians to employed physicians in large academic medical centers. IMS will engage this workgroup for rapid, diverse electronic feedback whenever an issue arises where the position of the membership is unknown or existing IMS policy is unclear. This input will help guide the work of the Committee on Legislation and the Board of Directors.
  • Expanded Legislative Calendar – The first fall meeting of the new Committee on Legislation will occur in August, allowing the IMS Board of Directors to approve initial legislative priorities at their September Board meeting. This will allow the other IMS advisory bodies to have concrete proposals to evaluate and provide feedback on as they meet in their traditional October meetings, and will allow additional time for IMS staff to prepare for the coming legislative session. The second fall meeting of the Committee on Legislation will occur in November to consider any additional recommended priorities arising from the IMS advisory groups or the fall Policy Forum, and to adjust course as necessary should political control of a chamber of the legislature or Governor’s Office change in the fall election.

In the coming months, IMS will prepare to transition to this new legislative engagement process, starting on January 1, 2018. The current Committee on Legislation will meet for the final time in its current form on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, to develop recommendations to the IMS Board of Directors for the 2018 IMS Legislative Agenda. For more information on these changes or to find out how you can get more involved, please contact Dennis Tibben with the IMS Center for Physician Advocacy.

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