Updated on: June 16, 2022

The AMA advocates at the federal and state levels on key health care issues impacting patients and physicians. See updates of our some of our recent efforts.

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  • Secured telehealth flexibilities for the bulk of 2022 by successfully urging Congress (PDF) to pass a new law extending coverage for at least 5 months after the COVID-19 public health emergency designation ends.
  • At the state level, the AMA recently updated its model state telehealth legislation and continues to support state efforts to advance telehealth legislation and policy to ensure access to high-quality care.
  • Released an issue brief (PDF) outlining specific policy proposals to take significant and necessary steps toward promoting and ensuring equity in telehealth.
  • Supported (PDF) the adoption of "The Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine," model policy from the Federation of State Medical Boards that reflects the changing telemedicine landscape as a result of the pandemic.
  • Held a webinar on the new telemedicine policy, current state licensure laws regarding telemedicine and continued solutions that can be implemented moving forward.
  • Released an AMA Moving Medicine video highlighting the importance of protecting the future of telehealth.
  • Fought (PDF) for sequestration relief to be extended through the end of the public health emergency.
  • Congress significantly improved the repayment terms for Medicare advance payments that were made available for physician practices at the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The AMA secured a one-year delay to the start of repayment, a reduction in the per-claim repayment amount, and a reduction in the interest on any outstanding funds from 10.5% to 4%.
  • CMS decided that cost measures will not be factored into 2021 final MIPS scores that will impact Medicare physician payments in 2023.
  • With a group of national specialty societies and state medical societies, developed a set of principles (PDF) to guide advocacy efforts on Medicare physician payment reform; work continues on developing specific policy proposals for comprehensive reform.
  • Launched a new scope microsite providing an easier way for Federation colleagues and physician leaders to access AMA’s scope materials, including geomaps, education and training modules, issue briefs, social media graphics, etc.
  • The Scope of Practice Partnership Steering Committee has approved 3 grants so far in 2022.
  • Worked in strong collaboration with more than 25 state medical associations so far on scope of practice legislation, resulting in key victories in AL (optometrist, pharmacist, podiatrist, nurse anesthetist), CO (PAs), HI (psychologists) (PDF), KY (APRN), MD (PAs, clinical nurse specialist, podiatrists), MS (APRN), SD (PAs), TN (nurse practitioners), WA (optometrist, naturopath, psychologist, nurse practitioner), WI (APRN).
  • The then AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD testified before Senate Health and Human Services Committee in South Dakota, expressing AMA’s opposition to S.B. 134 which would have expanded the scope of practice of physician assistants and The then AMA Immediate Past President, Susan Bailey, MD presented on scope of practice before the Kentucky Legislature Interim Joint Committee on Health, Welfare and Family Services.
  • Urged (PDF) CMS to revise the split or shared visit policy previously finalized to allow the physician or qualified health professional who is managing and overseeing the patient’s care to bill for the visit.
  • Created a new series of advocacy one-pagers to inform and educate lawmakers on the importance of physician led-care. Created new social media graphics based on findings from a survey of U.S. voters.
  • Updated other key resources, including scope wheels, which were co-branded with 30 federation partners. Updated state laws charts on nurse practitioner and physician assistant state scope of practice laws so the AMA can continue to serve as a trusted resource and provide a national perspective on state scope of practice laws.
  • Released an AMA Moving Medicine video on the AMA’s latest work in scope of practice legislation at the state level.
  • Released 2021 prior authorization survey data (PDF) that highlighted the continued negative impact of this onerous process on patients and physicians.
  • Survey data also underscore the lack of progress (PDF) by insurers on the prior authorization reforms agreed to in January 2018 in the Consensus Statement on Improving the Prior Authorization Process.
  • The AMA has strongly advocated for federal and state prior authorization legislation.
    • Bi-partisan, majority support reached for the “Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act" (HR 3173/S 3018).
    • The AMA and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia sent a joint letter (PDF) in support of the “Prior Authorization Reform Amendment Act of 2022,” which would rein in bureaucratic insurance requirements that delay and disrupt patient access to necessary medical care in the District of Columbia.
    • Sent letters (PDF) in support of New Jersey S.B. 1794/A.B. 1255, the “Ensuring Transparency in Prior Authorization Act.”
    • Prior authorization reform efforts in GA, IA and MI have been successful so far this year.
    • Urged CMS (PDF) to coordinate an agency-wide campaign to holistically reform prior authorization.
  • Continuing to build AMA’s grassroots advocacy campaign with a dedicated FixPriorAuth.org website and associated social media presence.
    • One of the newer features to the website is an employer-oriented track, which seeks to educate and engage this new and important audience and offers a toolkit for employers to leverage in health plan negotiations.
  • The then AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, shared a Leadership Viewpoint on his personal experience with the burdens of prior authorization.
  • Submitted comments (PDF) to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on electronic prior authorization.
  • Fought against the wrongful denial of prior authorization requests from Medicare Advantage.
  • Held a national webinar on ways states can support burnout and wellness efforts for physicians and other health care professionals.
  • Successfully pressed (PDF) for the enactment of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act.
  • With the help of AMA advocacy (PDF) and the Arizona Medical Association, the governor of Arizona signed H.B. 2429, which allows physicians to seek confidential care for health and wellness without fear of having their records subject to discovery, subpoena or public reporting.
  • The AMA is undertaking a national campaign to urge medical licensing boards, credentialing authorities and others to ensure that applications for licensure and employment do not stigmatize or penalize those who have received treatment for a mental health issue, counseling for burnout or who are in treatment, and there is no concern for patient health and safety.
  • Led effort with national specialties and state medical associations to build consensus and impact the No Surprises Act regulations.
  • Initiated the filing of a lawsuit in Federal District Court (along with the American Hospital Association) arguing that the government’s interim final rule is contrary to the law and exceeds statutory authority by creating a rebuttable presumption that the arbiter in the Independent Dispute Resolution process consider the “qualifying payment amount” (essentially the median in-network rate) as the appropriate out-of-network payment amount.
  • Released an initial toolkit (PDF) on the implementation of the No Surprises Act and a second toolkit (PDF) on implementation of the billing process for certain out-of-network care under the No Surprises Act.
  • Held two national webinars on the No Surprises Act, the first on its implementation and the second on the payment process for physicians and other providers in surprise medical billing situations.
  • Continues to advocate for a fair IDR process, recently arguing in a letter (PDF) to the Administration that a balanced IDR process is not anti-patient, pushing back on payer and employer efforts to undermine the process.
  • Working directly with CMS to address operational challenges with additional physician and provider resources.
  • Continuing to work at the federal and state levels to advocate for a comprehensive response to the public health emergency (PHE)—including telehealth expansion, financial relief, testing, vaccination and more (Visit COVID-19 Advocacy efforts for more details—highlights are included below).
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $9 billion in Phase 4 Provider Relief Fund payments following AMA advocacy.
  • Successfully urged HRSA to extend the reporting period for recipients of Period 1 and Period 2 Provider Relief Funds.
  • Urged (PDF) the Surgeon General to take action against COVID-19 misinformation.
  • Successfully urged the Administration to take action to fix the “family glitch” and provide affordable health care coverage.
  • Working with health care stakeholder groups, urged the Administration to maintain the public health emergency that expands coverage for care and extends key regulatory flexibilities until there is an extended period of greater stability.
  • Successfully urged for adoption of stronger network adequacy rules for Qualified Health Plans and Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Pushed (PDF) for permanent expansion of health insurance premium tax credits, ensuring millions of low- and middle-income families continue to have access to affordable coverage in 2023 and beyond.
  • Released 2022 and Beyond: AMA’s Plan to Cover the Uninsured (PDF), which includes specific policy proposals targeting not only the populations who remain uninsured but also steps that can be taken to improve premium and cost-sharing affordability.
  • In response to significant concerns raised by the AMA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has withdrawn the Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely (SUNSET) final rule, which would have diverted limited HHS resources to mandated reviews of economically significant regulations and subject every regulation to expiration 10 years after passage or its last review.
  • Highlighting physician advocacy efforts to help their patients with a substance use disorder or chronic pain.
  • The then AMA Chair Bobby Mukkamala, MD, participated in a public workshop on naloxone access sponsored by the Regan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration. AMA called on all naloxone manufacturers to make their life-saving products more accessible, including over-the-counter; further urged the Administration and Congress to remove the prescription status of naloxone to increase access to the life-saving opioid-related overdose reversal agent.
  • Provided comments (PDF) on the CDC’s proposed updated guideline for prescribing opioids. CDC’s proposed comments include nearly all previous AMA recommendations, including removing harmful thresholds on dose and quantity that have harmed tens of thousands of patients.
  • Supported the Biden Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy in its focus on harm reduction, encouraging the Administration to continue to help remove barriers to medications for opioid use disorder as well as harm reduction services.
  • Urged (PDF) congressional leaders to take steps to address nearly 15 years of repeated failures by health insurance companies to comply with the landmark mental health and substance use disorder parity law. Continuing efforts with National Association of Insurance Commissioners and National Association of Attorneys General to support greater state-level enforcement of parity laws.
  • Asked (PDF) the Biden Administration to take additional steps to remove the prescription status of naloxone and make it more available over the counter.
  • Developed a toolkit (PDF) in collaboration with Manatt Health highlighting effective policies for states to combat drug overdoses.
  • Supported multiple pieces of legislation at the state level:
    • Maryland S.B. 419 and H.B. 1086 (PDF) would ensure that opioid litigation settlement funds from major distributors would go to public health and treatment.
    • Companion bills in the Minnesota House and Senate (PDF) will help physicians who treat patients with intractable pain, including opioid therapy, practice without fear of an investigation, disenrollment or termination for providing care that may exceed recommended prescribing limits in state or federal guidelines.
    • New Mexico H.B. 52 authorizes the use of fentanyl test strips and other drug checking supplies.
    • Wisconsin S.B. 600, which was signed into law in March, removes fentanyl test strips from the state’s drug paraphernalia law.
  • Held a national webinar with physician experts on the stigma facing patients with pain and physician fears when prescribing opioids.
  • The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health released the “Primer of Spending Funds from the Opioid Litigation: A Guide for State and Local Decision Makers,” (PDF) part of the Principles for the Use of Funds From the Opioid Litigation (PDF) supported by the AMA.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously reported out the “Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022,” which would reauthorize key programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • Over two-thirds of states have taken steps to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from 60 days to 12 months after birth.
    • 13 states have implemented postpartum Medicaid expansions.
    • 19 states have authorized coverage expansions for postpartum women or are in the process to doing so.
  • AMA supported the passage of the “Protecting Moms Who Served Act of 2021.”
  • The Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations package included nearly $1 billion in maternal health priorities.
  • The AMA has supported multiple pieces of legislation including:
    • The TRIUMPH for New Moms Act of 2021 which would create a Task Force on Maternal Mental Health to identify, evaluate, and make recommendations to coordinate and improve federal responses to maternal mental health conditions, as well as create a national strategic plan for addressing maternal mental health disorders.
    • The “MOMMA’s Act” which consists of five main components including providing technical maternal mortality reporting assistance for states; issuing best practices to state Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs); expanding Medicaid and CHIP coverage for postpartum care from 60 days to a year; supporting the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal (AIM); and establishing Regional Centers of Excellence.
    • The “Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act” which would instruct the Federal Communications Commission to consult with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine ways to incorporate data on maternal health outcomes for at least one year postpartum into broadband health mapping tools in an effort to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S.
  • Issued a statement against the draft Supreme Court opinion for the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case and filed an amicus brief (PDF) with more than two dozen leading medical organizations.
  • Developed a model state bill to protect pregnant, parenting and postpartum individuals and families with a substance use disorder to receive evidence-based treatment without facing punitive actions.
  • The AMA is currently advocating for a broad range of immigration and border security policy changes, including those that would ease visa restrictions for foreign-born physicians seeking to train or practice in the U.S.
  • Submitted a Statement for the Record (PDF) to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship on the issue of physician immigration and workforce shortages.
  • CDC announced the complete termination of Title 42, which allowed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expel migrants at the border based on their country of origin, path of travel or likelihood of coming into contact with a communicable disease such as COVID-19.
  • Requested (PDF)funding of $35 million for the CDC and $25 million for the NIH for FY 2023 to conduct public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality prevention.
  • Released a statement (PDF) on the Texas school shooting calling on lawmakers, leaders and advocates to take action against firearm violence.
  • Published a statement (PDF) reiterating the need for gun violence prevention measures after the Tulsa shooting.
  • Sent a comment letter (PDF) to the U.S. House of Representatives in support of the “Protecting Our Kids Act.”
  • Advocated to various stakeholders that more must be done to address why care experiences and clinical outcomes vary by race/ethnicity and encourage additional efforts to improve outcomes and satisfaction for historically minoritized patients seen by non-racially concordant doctors.
  • Successfully defeated harmful anti-transgender legislation in over a dozen states that would have prohibited physicians from providing medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender minor patients.
    • Submitted amicus briefs with national specialty medical associations in support of lawsuits that successfully challenged bans in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas.
    • Work with state medical associations continues in other states.
  • Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes.
  • Developed guidance to health app developers to help implement the AMA’s Privacy Principles (PDF).
  • Sent a joint letter (PDF) to the heads of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requesting that federal agencies review their policies around application programming interfaces.
  • Sent letter to the Vermont Legislation supporting a senate bill prohibiting life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against persons based on genetic information.
  • Published the 2022 update to Medical Liability Reform NOW! (PDF).
  • Assisted Utah Medical Association in enacting CANDO legislation.
  • Provided comprehensive state-based MLR resources to the California Medical Association (CMA), supporting efforts leading to the enactment of the MICRA Modernization Act.
  • At the request of state medical associations, completed legislative template assisting those medical associations in enacting liability protections during public health emergencies and disasters.
  • Drafted model legislation protecting physicians from criminal liability relating to medical liability allegations.
  • Published the 20th edition of Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets (PDF) which demonstrated that more than 70% of health insurance markets continue to be highly concentrated.
  • Encouraged (PDF) the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to develop policy that protects against mergers that create or augment health insurer buyer power in physician markets.

Published AMA Policy Research Perspectives:

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