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AMA Outlines Initiatives to White House to Help Slow Increases in Health Spending

Contributes to effort to bend spending curve to help move health reform forward

For immediate release
June 1, 2009

Statement Attributable to:
Nancy H. Nielsen, MD
President, American Medical Association

“The American Medical Association (AMA) joined with five other organizations in the health sector today to outline initiatives to help achieve President Obama’s goal of decreasing the health-care cost growth rate by 1.5 percent, saving $2 trillion or more over the next 10 years.

“The AMA is committed to action to help achieve greater value from our nation's health-care spending. We want to help bend the spending curve and move forward on health reform. Our proposals focus on making sure people get the right care at the right time, addressing appropriateness of care, overutilization of some services and avoidable hospital readmissions.

"The AMA-convened Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI), with the efforts of more than 100 state and national medical specialty societies, continues to develop measures to improve health-care quality and value. Efforts to reduce unnecessary utilization include the following PCPI-selected topics for development of overuse measures this year: surgical and non-surgical management of back pain, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for chronic stable coronary artery disease, induction of labor/Caesarean section, antibiotics for sinusitis and various types of diagnostic imaging.

“Other specific efforts include a set of measures to improve care transitions from hospitals to other settings to avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions and a multi-pronged effort to reconcile multiple prescriptions for individual patients being treated by different physicians. This program of medication reconciliation is designed to avoid potential drug interactions and eliminate inappropriate or unnecessary prescriptions.

"Defensive medicine continues to be a major factor in rising costs. We need medical liability reforms that help physicians provide the best care without needing to order additional services to guard against possible lawsuits.

"All Americans can help in the effort to keep health-care costs down. The combination of large-scale national initiatives and efforts by individuals to engage in prevention and wellness efforts is key to reducing spiraling health costs, preventing chronic disease and keeping America healthy."

Read the full letter to the White House.

Contact:

Brenda L. Craine
Director AMA Media Relations
202-789-7447

AMA news on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/AmerMedicalAssn.