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Legislative Update • January 2024

Legislative Update • January 2024

The Connecticut Podiatric Medical Association has hired The Kowalski Group to assist with our legislative efforts. The following update was written on January 24, 2024 by Linda Kowalski.

Podiatric Scope of Practice Enhancements Move Forward!

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you and request your assistance in the near future with a key initiative that your CPMA leadership and government relations team will be pursuing this 2024 session to enhance, modernize and expand your Podiatry Practice Act.

The 2024 session of the General Assembly convenes on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

We are proposing to repeal three limits on the current statutory scope of practice. Currently, you cannot set a Tibial Pilon fracture, amputate a foot beyond the metatarsal level or perform a total ankle replacement.  Under our proposal, all three restrictions would be repealed with the result being an expanded Podiatry scope of practice in those areas.

These changes will bring more access and options to patients who need one or more of these procedures.  The proposed changes are long overdue.  Enacting them will enhance your profession; even if your practice would not include them, it enhances the overall profession of Podiatric medicine.  Please remember that “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Here is the background on the issue.   We succeeded this past 2023 session in advocating for passage of legislation that mandated that the Department of Public Health (DPH) would review our proposed changes by establishing a formal Scope of Practice Review Committee.   That committee, facilitated by DPH staff, met three times late 2023, last year, and included podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons.  The Department of Public Health will now draft a report on the committee’s discussions and forward it with findings and recommendations to the legislature’s Public Health committee by February 1, 2024.  The Scope of Practice Review Committee has been in place in statute since 2011, and the process is a prerequisite for getting a bill introduced.

The Public Health committee will hear and consider the proposal once the bill is raised.

That committee could vote soon after the start of the session to “raise” our proposal for a public hearing.  The leadership of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, will decide what issues or legislation that they want to take up.  CPMA is now making sure that as many of the committee members as possible know about our scope of practice changes before the legislative session convenes.

According to the membership records at CPMA’s central office, there are 48 Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) who live in a district represented by a state Senator or state Representative who serves on the Public Health committee.  We are asking them to step up now and contact their legislator(s) and ask for support of our bill.

Right now, our focus is on the Public Health committee.   But, in the coming weeks, we will be back to ask all DPM’s to advocate to their legislators.

If you are not sure who your State Representative and State Senator are, or if you are not sure how to contact them, here is information to find your legislator(s).

  • Go to www.cga.ct.gov
  • Half-way down the page, fill in the information under “Find Your Legislators”
  • Please use your home address. Click Find.
  • Next, on the left click their name; this takes you to their website where their contact information (email, telephone) and committee assignments will be listed.

To reiterate, our proposal is to repeal three restrictions now in statute in Podiatry’s practice act so that DPMs who are qualified could:  1) set a tibial pilon fracture; 2) amputate a foot beyond the metatarsal level, and 3) perform a total ankle replacement.

As Gabe Gambardella, DPM, CPMA’s legislative chair states:

I practice alongside orthopedic surgeons in our practice.  They know I am every bit as qualified to perform these three functions as they are.  I am sure orthopedic doctors who practice with other podiatric physicians would feel the same.

There are a number of significant issues that we will be working on for Podiatry in the 2024 session.  I will cover those in the next newsletter.  For now, our focus is enhancing your practice act.

Getting our bill passed will require an extensive grassroots effort that involves all of the members of CPMA.  If we put this collective effort forward, we can prevail and, in doing so, increase podiatric care for citizens throughout the state of Connecticut.

For more information on how to help us engage with legislators and secure the future of our practice, please consider joining CPMA or reaching out to us directly.

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