Since 2016, the physician community has been actively involved in efforts to engage the General Assembly in dialogue which would result in the passage of a thoughtful, statewide phase-out of the COPN Regulatory process. Following the 2017 General Assembly Session and much discussion with senior members of the House of Delegates and Senate, it was decided to try a different approach and introduce individual project exemption legislation.
The Coalition began reaching out to physician practices across the Commonwealth resulting in twenty-five individual COPN exemption bills being introduced during the 2018 General Assembly Session - fifteen House bills and ten Senate bills. Of the original fifteen House bills, one bill calling for statewide repeal of COPN was carried over to the 2019 Session; twelve House bills did not advance beyond the subcommittee level and two House bills survived the House and are now awaiting committee action in the Senate. Of the ten Senate bills, one made it through the committee process, but did not pass the full Senate; one was carried over to the 2019 Session and one was withdrawn by the Patron at the request of the physician practice. The remaining seven bills were combined into one omnibus bill which passed out of the Senate but did not survive the House committee.
Of note, three orthopaedic groups, Atlantic Orthopaedic – Wilford Gibson, MD, Hampton Roads Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine – Daniel Cavazos, MD and OrthoVirginia had project exemption bills which were included in the omnibus bill that passed the full Senate. This is the first time a bill has been passed by the Senate and sent to the House of Delegates for their consideration. These practices were fully engaged in the advocacy efforts that made it possible to move this piece of legislation so far along in the process this year.
Through the Coalition to Reform COPN website we now have over 2,000 individuals who have signed up to receive our legislative action alerts. In addition, we provided action alert links to physician practices around the state who included the links in their electronic communications which helped increase our ability to connect constituents with their legislators.
Because of the large number of bills introduced this year and the increased focus on the ongoing problems inherent to the COPN process, we are hearing more legislators say the process is broken and must be fixed. When we began this initiative, the political landscape in Virginia was significantly different than it is today. Last November Virginia held statewide elections, but more importantly, all 100 seats in the House of Delegates were up for election and the House went from a 64-36 Republican majority to a 51-49 Republican majority. It should be noted that several key legislators who have consistently supported our efforts since 2016 did not return to the House of Delegates for the 2018 Session either due to retirement or defeat during November’s elections. There is a learning curve for the new members and a lot of educating that has been undertaken but must be continued.
April 20-22, 2018
|The Greenbrier Resort|
|White Sulphur Springs,|
|May 5-6, 2018|
|Get more information|