Our main goal this next year is to pass legislation to prohibit minors from indoor tanning in the state of Arizona. Because of the ground work we have laid, the FDA’s proposed reclassification, and support from other national and regional medical societies I think it is a very achievable goal. We have a “three prong” plan.
Our first approach will be the regulatory route. The ARRA is the agency in Arizona that is responsible for constructing the regulatory rules regarding ultraviolet radiation. Dr. Halmi has worked closely with the director of this agency for many years on other ionizing and non-ionizing radiation issues. ARRA has not formally ruled on changing the status of tanning beds but we (along with our ArMA, AADA, ASDS, and Am. Ca. Soc. partners) will attempt to again pursue this path this year. Working with our state medical society and lobbyist we will again send a letter with scientific backup requesting an expedited rule change prohibiting minors from indoor tanning because of the associated serious health risks.
Our legislative efforts will begin this next month. Our lobbyist support will come from two sources. In the past we have worked closely with the lobbyists from our state Medical Society, the ArMA society director, Mr. Chic Older, and our lobbyist Joe Abate. With the help of our partners and lobbyist we are hoping to get together a legislative educational forum in the fall asking our colleagues in other specialties (ie Pediatrics, Oncology), support from the Am. Cancer Society, the Arizona Center as well as patient testimonials, to educate our legislators and ideally raise awareness by the media.
Through our lobbyist efforts last year we were able to have the Chairman of the House Medical Committee sponsor our tanning bill. With the help of an AADA grant we will be able to afford to again hire our own lobbyist to help us with our legislative agenda. We hope to find a strong house sponsor for our bill or perhaps find a senate sponsor if this route proves more advantageous. We will need lobbyist input for these types of political decisions. We also need to educate ranking members, as well as our house speaker, in order for the bill to be assigned to the proper committee. Poor committee assignment has been our hurdle in the past. Through extra lobbyist support and the proposed FDA and future ARRA reclassification we hope to leap over this last hurdle. We will turn to our membership to add to our patient advocacy list and try to get patients from the district of each Committee member to speak out.
We will also ask for our membership to contact their state senators and representatives especially those in the districts of the committee members. We will work closely with the American Cancer Society and Arizona Cancer Center and their lobbyists to inform and educate pertinent legislators.
We may also try to get another “Arizona Cancer Awareness Day” at the capitol and coordinate it with an educational forum and possible skin cancer screening. This is another opportunity to educate our legislators. ADDSS will work with the media so the public is informed and let them know how they can have a voice.
The third path is a grass roots effort through a state citizens’ petition on change.org to get significant support for legislative change. We are working on enlisting physicians of Arizona (through the ArMA) as well as individual citizens to sign this petition and aid in promoting this important state public health cause.
Our next advocacy goal is to pass a Patient Safety Bill. The bill’s focus is to require direct supervision of all laser procedures including hair removal. In Arizona laser hair removal does not require direct supervision by a physician. Our first step is to draft a resolution that will be supported by the Arizona Medical Society Executive Board. Our next step will be get support from our state plastic surgery society, as well as help from the AADA as to how other states have approached this issue. Once again our membership will be vital in collecting patient advocates and contacting their Congressman. We hope to get the support of AADA and ASDS to provide resources that will support our cause. Our lobbyists will work to get our bill sponsored by either the chairman or co-chairman of the House Health Committee. We will meet with the Chairs as well as several members of the House and Senate Health Committees. Scope of practice issues are challenging. However, the number of poor outcomes that have occurred in our state from unsupervised laser hair removal procedures is unacceptable. Additionally, the laser procedure that nationally has the most malpractice claims is laser hair removal. These factors will support our narrow scope of practice change.