AMA Wire

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This Week's News

AMA president talks health policy, gives preview of year ahead

AMA president talks health policy, gives preview of year ahead

In an interview Sunday on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers," AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, discussed key health policy issues and looked at the year ahead as a prominent voice for America's physicians.

Dr. Hoven spoke about topics of immediate relevance to physicians and their patients, from implementation of the Affordable Care Act to the nation's obesity epidemic to repeal of Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula.

She emphasized the importance of physicians as leaders in the health care system who can drive improvements for everyone involved.

"There are things at play now which are helping the public," Dr. Hoven, an internal medicine and infectious disease specialist, said of the health reform law. "Clearly, as we move forward with this, our responsibility as physicians will be to our patients."

"My job as a doctor will be to communicate with my patients and their families going forward as to what they can expect from the exchanges or any other pieces of the Affordable Care Act," she said.

Dr. Hoven noted that newly insured patients will need to be taught how to get wellness and prevention care up front and will need to understand how to ensure they and their families stay healthy. Alongside physicians, she said, communities also will need to become involved in educating patients about leading healthy lives.

"We're going to have to work together both publically and privately to get this to happen," she said.

Collaborations also will be crucial to making care more efficient and accommodating the increased patient need for access to care.

"What we must do in our country is … work together in … physician-led teams," Dr. Hoven said. "We must utilize all health care providers at their highest level of competency and training and work together to meet the needs of the American public."

This kind of partnership also is a key to the AMA's Improving Health Outcomes initiative, which is breaking across the typical silos of health care to improve health around type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, she said.

Two other areas of focus for Dr. Hoven and the AMA are the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, which seeks to equip medical students to care for patients in the 21st century, and an initiative to shape new care delivery and payment models to promote practice sustainability and professional satisfaction.

"We're going to be looking at this very carefully to enable physicians and their patients to be in the site of care that they want to be in and do the kind of high-quality work that can be done," she said.

Dr. Hoven also spoke about the AMA's priorities for eliminating the Independent Payment Advisory Board, securing sufficient financing for graduate medical education and achieving medical liability reform.