AMA Wire

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Special Feature

AMA advocating for physicians' interests in all 50 states

AMA advocating for physicians' interests in all 50 states

Should the Federal Trade Commission be interfering with the authority of state regulatory boards to oversee professional licensure, patient safety and the practice of medicine? Of course not, and the Litigation Center of the AMA and State Medical Societies said as much in a legal brief filed earlier this month in a federal appeals court.

The brief disputes an antitrust enforcement action the FTC brought against a North Carolina licensing board as it attempted to fulfill its statutory mandate to regulate public health and safety. The FTC has been overreaching more and more with state agencies regarding scope-of-practice issues such as this, making what are essentially clinical judgments on matters that are the purview of medical boards and state legislatures.

AMA leadership and state and federal advocacy staff have met with the FTC to express the AMA's strong objections to the FTC rendering these clinical opinions. The AMA also is working to maximize and leverage the power of organized medicine at the state level by collaborating with medical societies to respond to FTC state advocacy communications on a state-by-state basis.

These are just a few of the tactics in the AMA's strategy to engage the FTC on this matter and other state licensure issues. It's this type of work in which the AMA, through its Advocacy Resource Center (ARC), advocates for physicians across the country, state by state, on a wide range of important issues that affect their daily practice of medicine. Those issues include:

  • State health system reform.
  • Preserving Medicaid budgets.
  • Ensuring fair and transparent private-payer practices.
  • Scope of practice.
  • Medical liability reform.
  • Truth in advertising by all health care providers.
  • Improving public health.

ARC attorneys provide medical societies, lawmakers and policymakers targeted support by helping draft legislation, crafting model legislation, testifying before legislative and regulatory committees, and meeting with legislators and regulators on these priority issues.

With state legislative sessions wrapping up, the AMA has recorded 65 legislative and regulatory victories this year. For example, a new law in Georgia that protects physician autonomy is based on AMA model legislation. The law, introduced by the state legislature and actively supported by the Medical Association of Georgia, prohibits the state from making licensure contingent upon a physician's participation in a public or private health insurance plan.

The AMA also supplied model language for a new law in Mississippi that will enable patients to make informed decisions about the practitioners to whom they entrust their health care needs. Under the new law, health care practitioners will be required to fully disclose their education and training, including the specific type of license they hold.

Learn more about the AMA's activities on each of its state priority issues. Also, track real-time legislative developments with the ARC's CQ State Track, which provides a state-by-state compilation of real-time legislative developments, as well as an interactive map, on issues that concern organized medicine.