AMA Wire

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012

For Physicians

Bolster support for Medicare private contracting bill

Physicians can use a set of resources to build support for federal legislation that would give Medicare patients greater choice so they have access to the physicians they want and need to see.

Based on AMA policy, the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act, introduced to both chambers of Congress last year, would enable Medicare patients to use their benefits to see physicians under the terms of a private contract with negotiated fee arrangements without having to pay for the entire cost of their care out of pocket, as required under current law.

This legislation also would eliminate the two-year Medicare "opt out" requirement that applies to physicians who enter into these private contracts with their Medicare patients.

The AMA offers various documents that explain the need for this legislation, including a video that spells out the issue and why this bill is right for patients. Physicians also can access slide decks for use in presentations to patients or colleagues about this issue.

Resources outline steps to protect against ID theft

Medical identity theft has become the fastest growing form of identity theft in the world, American Medical News reported in a recent article.

Estimates have placed the annual number of identity theft victims at 2 million. In the United States, 5,300 physicians have listed their names in a federal database that tracks identity theft, American Medical News reports.

For physicians, identity theft can cause lasting damage to their finances, credit and reputation. It also can compromise sensitive patient information.

The AMA offers two resources that can help physicians protect themselves against identity theft. The first resource outlines eight steps they can take to safeguard their financial welfare and professional identity. The second resource explains measures physicians should take to keep their patients' information as secure as possible.

Visit the AMA's online practice management center to learn more about data security.