The topics Dr. Bobby Bhatti approaches with elected officials

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Bobby Bhatti, MD, pays attention to healthcare legislation across the U.S. and has discussed topics with elected leaders.

Dr. Bhatti, president of Atlanta spine, joined the "Becker's Healthcare Spine and Orthopedic Podcast" on June 22 to discuss engagement with officials.

This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full episode here.

Question: How can physicians and surgeons be strong advocates with the time they have with elected representatives?

Dr. Bobby Bhatti: We have precedents for this in other states. Georgia is interesting in that sense; we certainly get to get the ear of some of these representatives and governors all the time. And our conversation really does focus around what other states are doing. For instance, in South Carolina the certificate of need ruling there got overruled, and it sounds like it's gonna get both houses to approve getting rid of this certificate of need in South Carolina. 

That's a huge deal. At this point in time as a practice, we are growing; we're merging with another group, we're going to have 11 locations and three surgery centers. But that doesn't do us any good if I can't get surgeons to come and operate. The biggest challenge we're getting is we're a single specialty letter of nonreviewability. I can't bring in a neurosurgeon to my surgery center. I can't bring in an anesthesiologist to do pain management in my surgery center. 

These are big setbacks. The only reason this is happening is because they don't want us to get together and be an outpatient force to take care of patients, which is just not good for patient care. So that's what I tell my governor and my state representative, when I see them. Look at Florida and South Carolina — we're gonna lose good positions and good care to these states. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. People go where the need is, but these are things that we need to change in our state to give better care. 

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