State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-26, received the Legislator of the Year Award from the Fairfield County Medical Association.

Boucher was recognized during the association's semi-annual meeting Oct. 9 in Norwalk.

Dr. Robin Oshman, association president, presented Boucher with a plaque and expressed the doctors' gratitude for her sponsorship of Senate Bill 466: An Act Concerning Continuing Education of Physicians.

Boucher is recognized by the medical community as strong advocate for preserving the freedom of physicians in Connecticut to provide patients the quality care they deserve.

"I am honored to receive this award from the Fairfield County Medical Association," Boucher said. "I have been a longtime advocate for the quality of care our residents receive as well as preserving the doctor patient relationship. There are some substantial barriers to this profession in our state and I am committed to continue to partner with our doctors and the medical community. They face strong headwinds as they work hard to heal their patients and manage support staff while fitting in continuing education courses. This initiative is a step in the right direction."

Mark Thompson, executive director of the Fairfield County Medical Association, added: "It is rare for a legislation to be unanimously passed at every step of the legislative process in the first year a bill is introduced, but that is exactly what happened. The fact the bill passed so quickly is a testimony to both its need and also the high level of respect that Senator Boucher has among her colleagues at the state Capitol."

The bill was signed into law in June.

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Boucher said those kinds of measures will allow doctors practicing in Connecticut to gain flexibility in an environment that has already become over burdensome for them.

At the start of the 2013 legislative session, Boucher worked closely with the association to craft a bill that would help physicians save critical time and give them more control over their continuing education. This change allows doctors to spend more time treating patients instead of being in a classroom.

The Fairfield County Medical Association also recognized Boucher for her courage and diligence in preserving the integrity of the medical liability certificate of merit and protecting the freedom of physicians in Connecticut to attend the medical needs of their patients.

"It is unfortunate that Medscape Medical News reports that Connecticut has become the worst place to practice medicine in the Northeast. We have much more work to do to relieve some of the pressure placed on a physician because of concerns like medical malpractice and vaccine issues," Boucher said.

The state's medical profession and health-care institutions have testified before the General Assembly about the difficulties they face in attracting and retaining doctors under the current medical malpractice laws that make medical liability insurance premiums in Connecticut among the highest in the nation.