New CEO of the Arizona Medical Association
Libby McDannell is the new CEO of the Arizona Medical Association. She joined us on Arizona Horizon to discuss a number of topics, including some big wins for health care that are included in the new state budget.
Funding has been included for breast cancer screening and for addressing health care deserts, particularly in maternal care.
McDannell also discussed her new role at the Arizona Medical Association. The agency was founded more than 130 years ago and is the largest physician-led organization in the state, McDannell said.
She talked about some challenges faced in the field of health care. “It has been a tumultuous time for sure, and just as many industries have been having a focus on workforce shortage. That is what we are facing in health care as well,” McDannell said.
McDannell said staff shortages in the health care field is nothing new, but the pandemic exacerbated the problem. The organization predicts by 2032, there will be a massive shortage of physicians, nurses and other health care fields.
According to McDannell, more than 500 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing programs because there aren’t enough faculty members and educators.
Another area of focus is maternal health care. Out of the 15 counties in Arizona, four rural counties have very little to no access to maternal services, McDannell said. Additional funding is being added to the state budget for both maternal care and breast cancer screenings.
McDannell says 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and screening for prevention is important. A new 3D mammogram that provides a clearer picture is being required to be 100% covered by insurance companies and to be done at no-cost to patients.
Part of the solution is for Arizona to offer more residency opportunities for training physicians. Doctors tend to stay and work where they complete their residencies.
McDannell said she is optimistic for the future because her organization has stakeholders who are committed to addressing the issues.