AMA Wire

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Special Feature

Delegates shape new policies for the future of medicine at AMA Annual Meeting

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What began Friday with physician leaders talking about the future of health care at the "Innovations in Medicine" speakers series ended Wednesday with the AMA House of Delegates adopting policy that will help shape the future of medicine.

And in between Friday and Wednesday, the AMA delegates:

  • Celebrated the announcement to award 11 medical schools $11 million in grants to Accelerate Change in Medical Education.
  • Formally asked the AMA to repeal and replace the flawed sustainable growth rate Medicare formula and to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
  • Issued a warning against "inappropriate inquiries" from pharmacies to verify the medical rationale behind prescriptions and diagnoses, calling them an unwarranted interference with the practice of medicine.
  • Voted to recognize obesity as a disease state with multiple aspects requiring a range of interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention.

On Tuesday, Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, an internal medicine and infectious disease specialist in Lexington, Ky., was inaugurated as the 168th president of the AMA. Meantime, Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, a Colorado psychiatrist, closed out his term as president. Read and view Dr. Hoven’s inauguration speech. Also, read the first post in her AMA blog On the Road With Dr. Hoven.

In other news from the Annual Meeting, delegates:

  • Voted to mandate a two-year implementation period for ICD-10/11, during which time insurers would not be allowed to deny payment based on the specificity of an ICD-10/11 diagnosis.
  • Supported federal funding of organ transplants for Medicaid patients.
  • Called for tougher regulations on direct-to-consumer advertising for durable medical equipment (DME) so as not to confuse patients about how to get their products. Those rules should include a disclaimer saying that eligibility for and coverage of DME is subject to specific criteria and that only a physician can determine whether a patient meets the standards.
  • Adopted new policy that establishes principles for reforming the delivery of care for patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, including customizing benefits for patients and ensuring that care coordination demonstration programs do not interfere with the patient-physician relationship.
  • Directed the AMA to take several steps to look at the maintenance of certification (MOC) process and ensure it is not burdensome to physicians. The AMA will commission an independent study to evaluate the impact that MOC and maintenance of licensure requirements have on physicians’ practices, the doctor work force and patients.
  • Supported having the AMA partner with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop incentives for hospitals and health systems that would promote more efficient sharing of electronic health records with independent physicians.
  • Asked the AMA to work with other health profession organizations to advocate for a reduction of the fixed interest rate of the Stafford student loan program.
  • Voted to continue with the Interim Meeting of the House of Delegates.
  • Approved the formation of a Women Physicians Section, changing the status of the Women Physicians Congress from an advisory committee to a section with representation in the house.
  • Welcomed the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association to the House of Delegates.

Delegates also attended a variety of education sessions during the meeting. Some highlights include:

  • Delegates learned how community-physician ties are key to helping patients with prediabetes.
  • During a Litigation Center mock trial, delegates heard the issues behind a case in which plaintiffs claimed that a county-owned hospital abridged their medical staff privileges because of their race and national origin.
  • An open forum of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs discussed professional satisfaction at all levels—for physicians, resident trainees and medical students.

Read Monday meeting highlights for more details on these and other education sessions.

Editor’s note: American Medical News staff contributed to this report. Read additional meeting coverage in American Medical News.