Delaware Section report

Dr. Kirsten M. SmithKirsten M. Smith, MD, section chair

The Delaware Section held its Second Annual Legislative Day in Dover on June 7. The day began with a session reviewing issues and current legislation concerning health care providers. We were fortunate to have Rep. Michael Barbieri (D-Newark), chair of the Health and Human Development Committee, join us.

Our afternoon was spent at Legislative Hall, where members met with Reps. Ruth Briggs King (R-Georgetown) and Joseph Miro (R-Pike Creek Valley); Sens. Dori Connor (R-New Castle) and Michael Katz (D-Centerville); Lt. Gov. Matt Denn (D); and Gov. Jack Markell (D). It was wonderful to have face-to-face time with our legislators. We were sure to leave our contact information with all of them.

The Delaware Section partnered with the Delaware Chapter of the March of Dimes to hold a CME event in Dover on the evening of June 7. Joseph C.L. Merola, MD, MPH, gave a presentation on eliminating non-medically indicated deliveries prior to 39 weeks’ gestation. It was well received. There were 53 professionals in attendance, including physicians, midwives, and nurses. By holding this event in Dover, we were able to attract providers from across the state.

Two bills that passed last year grant the State of Delaware power to regulate medical practice. One bill provides the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) with explicit authority to investigate and inspect unsanitary or unsafe conditions in facilities where invasive medical procedures are performed. It also gives DHSS the power to adopt regulations to strengthen oversight of facilities.

The other bill gives DHSS the authority to require accreditation for medical facilities that perform invasive medical procedures. It also allows DHSS to promulgate regulations for accreditation. The bill requires that DHSS work with stakeholders in the development of these regulations and outlines who those stakeholders should be.

Draft regulations have been developed in response to these bills. As the Delaware Section representative in the stakeholders group, I reviewed these drafts and provided comments. The most contentious issue was how to define “invasive medical procedures.” The regulations were supposed to be finalized by March 31, 2012. As I write this, the final version is not available.

The Delaware Section Advisory Council held a meeting on September 24. We analyzed the governor’s budgetary process and plans so we will be better informed in supporting the health programs in our state.

I am excited to announce that Audrey A. Merriam, MD, past Delaware Section Junior Fellow vice chair, is now serving as District III Junior Fellow vice chair. Samata K. McClure, DO, is our section’s new Junior Fellow chair, and Siobahn M. McCarty, MD, is section Junior Fellow vice chair.