Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013
Act now: Ask your lawmakers to advance SGR repeal work
As Congress' summer recess winds down over the next week, physicians have an important opportunity to meet with their lawmakers in their home states and encourage them to reform the Medicare payment system in 2013.
Be sure to urge your representative and senators to support continued bipartisan legislative efforts, make key improvements to the new bill to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and build momentum toward reform.
Physicians can take advantage of the AMA's congressional recess action kit, which includes updated talking points and analysis of the current legislation, to communicate with their members of Congress. Steps physicians can take include:
- Review the latest talking points on issue developments in Congress.
- Contact lawmakers via the AMA Physician Grassroots Network, either by sending an email or calling through the grassroots hotline: (800) 833-6354.
- Schedule meetings with lawmakers while they still are in their home states for the recess. View an archived AMA webinar for tips about setting up such appointments with members of Congress.
- Complete an AMA feedback form following these meetings to relay valuable information to the AMA Government Affairs team.
Read more about the latest legislative progress toward repealing the SGR formula and charting a new path for future physician delivery and payment models in a recent blog post by AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD.
Treating pain for patients at risk of drug abuse: CME
A newly updated continuing medical education (CME) program from the AMA can help physicians strike an appropriate balance between managing patients' chronic pain and preventing abuse and overdose of prescription painkillers.
This updated series is a comprehensive educational program comprised of 12 modules that address numerous clinically important aspects of pain management, from assessment to structuring therapy and managing risks.
The fourth module in the series helps physicians understand how to assess and treat pain in patients who are at risk for substance abuse or who have addictive disorders. This module will equip physicians to do the following:
- Distinguish among tolerance, physical dependence, addiction and aberrant behavior.
- Understand the usefulness of specific screening instruments.
- Characterize the relevance of aberrant behaviors for evaluating the presence of addiction.
- Apply the principles for assessing and managing pain in patients with addictive disorders or a history of substance abuse.
Physicians can complete the entire 12-part program or select individual modules that address the specific needs of their practices and patients. This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.
The program update was made possible by support from the Prescribers' Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O), a collaborative project funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
The PCSS-O is led by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and includes the AMA, the American Dental Association, the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society for Pain Management Nursing and the International Nurses Society on Addictions.