Dr. Amber Colville

Dr. Amber Colville is always on the side of her patients.

Whether it’s advocating for affordable drug prices or delivering quality medical care in her private practice in Mississippi, Amber is passionate about making sure people live long and healthy lives.

She is sharp, practical, and she cares deeply about her patients. What Amber does not care for, however, is wasting her time on performative wokeness.

“I’ve been an attending for 20 years,” she says. “I graduated medical school in 2000. It wasn’t that long ago, but it was a different world than it is today.”

Over the years, Amber began to notice the medical field was increasingly prioritizing data collection over patient care. It seemed like everyone was more interested in what patients look like than how they feel.

In 2021, the Biden administration proved her instincts correct.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services quietly implemented a rule giving doctors a financial incentive to make an “anti-racism” plan.

In exchange for additional Medicare payments, offices would have to perform a clinic-wide review of value statements, tools, and practice guidelines to ensure they are “aligned with a commitment to anti-racism.”

Further, the plan must include target goals and milestones, and outline ways in which the office will address racism, including trainings and other methods to detect “implicit bias” and address historical inequities in patient care.

Dangling enhanced reimbursements in front of doctors in exchange for enforcing anti-racism trainings and patient population quotas felt like a bribe.

With the help of Do No Harm, Amber joined a civil rights lawsuit against the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, arguing the rule violates the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

“Racial discrimination has no place in medicine, and neither do quotas. I have no control over that. I have no idea what my patients look like until I’m in the room with them.”

Patients need to be treated as individuals, first and foremost. As Amber puts it, race might be a factor in diagnosing specific diseases, but prioritizing one patient population over another because the government will pay you more to do so is flat-out unethical.

“A check-the-box training and hours of additional paperwork are not going to fix the few bad actors in the medical field. That’s not going to change their mind. It’s just going to burn the good doctors out—and our staff too.”

The lawsuit is awaiting a decision from the trial court. Amber was dismissed from the suit, but thanks to her willingness to take the first step in Mississippi, seven other states have joined to continue driving the case forward.

We are grateful for her courage, and her dedication to patient-centered care. 

PS: Dr. Colville co-authored an article in the Washington Examiner this year outlining the dangers of policies that make medical students into activists, not doctors. It’s fantastic. You can read it here.

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