Healthcare is accepted to be a above affair in the November acclamation — not aloof in Congress but additionally in the states. With that in mind, MedPage Today is profiling several candidates for statewide appointment who are absorption on healthcare issues. Today we allege with Tom Takubo, DO, a Republican accompaniment agent in West Virginia who is gluttonous re-election.
Tom Takubo, DO, has one of his patients to acknowledge for his added part-time job as a West Virginia accompaniment senator.
“I had a acquaintance whose mother I took affliction of; [she had] lung cancer,” Takubo explained. The acquaintance was a affiliate of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and Takubo’s babe was actual absorbed in that “and was consistently allurement why [the neighbor] had a altered allotment plate.”
As a “thank-you” for demography affliction of her mother, Takubo’s acquaintance arrive his babe to be on the House of Delegates attic during the governor’s anniversary “State of the State” address. Takubo, who was built-in in the upper-floor gallery, “saw a lot of assembly who I knew, and I got to thinking, ‘Wow, these individuals are authoritative laws for me,’ and some I anticipation apparently shouldn’t be in that position.”
Takubo aggregate his thoughts with a few added people, “and the aing affair I apperceive … I got a alarm from the accompaniment [Republican] party, and they asked if I anytime anticipation about alive for office,” he continued. “They explained why, abnormally for a physician, it would be important” to do the job, aback West Virginia association are amid the atomic advantageous bodies in the country. “So I ran and I won.”
That was aback in 2014, aback Republicans took ascendancy of both houses in the West Virginia assembly for the aboriginal time in 83 years, and he has been in appointment anytime since. This year, he is alive for re-election adjoin Terrell Ellis (D).
Takubo, a West Virginia native, consistently capital to be a physician. “My ancestor was a atramentous miner for 43 years … He had abhorrent atramentous lung and was a abundant smoker,” Takubo said, answer that his ancestor eventually died from lung cancer. “A lot of that pushed me into acceptable a analytical affliction physician. After my medical training, I came aback to West Virginia and started what is now the better pulmonary anesthetic convenance in the state.”
A Juggling Act
During the 2 months of the year that the assembly is active, acclimation his fulltime job and his parttime job can be a catchy business, Takubo said. “I go in actual early, annular until about 9 a.m., and afresh I accept ally and a mid-level provider that awning patients while I go to the capitol; things blanket up there at 4 or 5 and afresh I go aback and accomplishment rounds.”
“One advantage I accept is cyberbanking medical records,” he added. “That helps because I can go in and round, see patients, allocution to nurses and families, accomplish addendum to myself, afresh while I’m at the legislature, in amid sessions and meetings, I can pop my computer accessible and accomplishment circuit and charting while sitting in the capitol. So technology has helped me to alter both balls.”
During his time in the accompaniment senate, Takubo rose through the ranks and is now chairing the senate’s bloom committee. And he is not the alone physician administrator in the state: the 34-member Assembly boasts three physicians and the House of Delegates has two amid its 100 members, he said.
One breadth breadth the accompaniment assembly has afflicted doctors accurately is with above-mentioned authorizations appropriate by allowance companies for assertive treatments and procedures. The affair came up during the legislature’s 10 months out of session, aback it periodically has 2- or 3-day affairs to attending at attending at capacity for accessible legislation for accessible session. “Prior allotment is a huge burden, and during affidavit the allowance companies accepted that apparently 98% of all above-mentioned authorizations are approved, but it’s a huge banking accident and burden,” said Takubo.
Efforts in the House to canyon a above-mentioned allotment bill aboriginal got stalled, “so I got a bill drafted in the Assembly and afresh we got it over to the House and it anesthetized the House — absolutely I anticipate — and afresh the governor banned it.” Takubo doesn’t apperceive why that happened — “technical flaws” were accustomed as one acumen — but he suspects that allowance lobbyists ability accept gotten involved.
Cracking Bottomward on Non-Competes
If he is reelected, Takubo affairs to accommodated with bodies in the governor’s appointment and apparently “put up a added acrimonious above-mentioned allotment bill than I did before. One affair I’d like is for aggregate to be electronic, and I’ve announced with all the above insurers in West Virginia and they’ve already done that.”
“The added affair is that we would like a acknowledgment aback adequately quickly,” he said. “Forty-eight hours should be abounding time, abnormally if they’ve listed [the steps] for that above-mentioned authorization, and if the paperwork is included, it should be automatic. Forty-eight hours is absolutely actuality generous.”
While the above-mentioned allotment bill hasn’t yet fabricated it through, Takubo was added acknowledged with addition physician-friendly bill ambidextrous with non-compete clauses in doctors’ contract. “In this accompaniment it’s actual adamantine to recruit physicians,” he noted. But one affair makes it alike harder: “Many physicians are now acceptable active by hospitals, and if they leave, the hospital will blooper in a non-compete clause” that says for 2 years, the physician can’t assignment at a adversary aural 60 air afar of the hospital.
“If a physician already bought a home, that makes it actual difficult; they aloof accept to move,” he said. Takubo’s bill, which was anesthetized aftermost year, “sets the best [time] at 1 year and no added than 30 driveable afar by Google.” With Takubo’s bill, “the doctor would accept to drive for up to a year, but if addition wants to break in the area, they can.”
Takubo additionally has approved to canyon a bill to recruit added physicians by able new medical academy graduates accompaniment assets tax credits if they accede to break in West Virginia for 3 years. “There is abstracts assuming that if a physician settles bottomward about for 3 years, there’s a aerial likelihood they’ll stay,” he said. The bill has anesthetized Takubo’s bloom board three times, but hasn’t yet fabricated it into law.
Smoking is addition breadth of affair for Takubo; he wants adults who are bent smoker with a accessory in the car to be ticketed. This was aggressive by a boyish accommodating who absent bisected of her lung action because her dad — additionally a accommodating of Takubo’s — was a abundant alternation smoker, smoker up to three packs a day. “She’d accept to lay on the floorboard [to get abroad from the smoke],” and if she complained, her dad, who usually kept the car windows accessible a crack, would cycle up the windows. Addition legislator, accompaniment agent Ron Stollings, MD (D), approved to canyon a bill accretion the smoker age to 21, “but we never got either bill passed,” he said.
In the breadth of changeable health, Takubo supports alleviation assertive restrictions on tubal ligations for Medicaid patients. “A law on the books federally says that if a Medicaid almsman wants to accept her tubes angry [during a cesarean section], she has to assurance a accord anatomy 30 canicule in beforehand of the surgery. But anybody abroad … they can accept that the day of anaplasty if they appetite to,” he said. That law discriminates adjoin Medicaid patients, “and needs to be overturned,” he said. Takubo petitioned both the Obama and Trump administrations for a accompaniment waiver, but was rejected.
He additionally would like hospitals and physicians in the accompaniment to be reimbursed for etonogestrel (Nexplanon), an injectable contraceptive that lasts for 3 years. “A lot of absorbed moms go out and get abundant again, and a babyish with neonatal abnegation affection costs the accompaniment $2 million; the base affair is, these patients appetite this bearing control.”
Giving patients a agenda to get Nexplanon and advantageous doctors and hospitals for the action “could be a amazing accumulation and not put bodies in situations breadth they accept to anticipate about abortion,” said Takubo.
Last week, MedPage Today profiled blight survivor Vaughn Stewart (D), a applicant for the Maryland House of Delegates. Aing anniversary we’ll allocution to Jon Santiago, MD, a Democrat alive for a bench in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
last adapted 10.23.2018
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