Interim Meeting

Top 5 issues to watch at the 2018 AMA Interim Meeting

More than 600 physicians, residents and medical students will gather Nov. 8–13 across the Potomac River from Washington in National Harbor, Maryland, for the 2018 AMA Interim Meeting to consider proposals addressing a wide range of clinical practice, payment, medical education and public health topics.

They also will have the opportunity to attend educational sessions offering essential updates on science, medicine and professional issues.

The opening session of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) will feature speeches from AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, and AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD. You can watch the speeches in real time on the AMA’s Facebook page. The opening session is Saturday, Nov. 10, and starts at 2 p.m. EST.

Policy discussion

The HOD will consider many important items of business at the meeting. Here is our top five to watch.

On prescription drugs, delegates will consider an AMA Council on Medical Service report that recommends new policy supporting in-person purchase and importation of limited, personal-use quantities of prescription drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies “when product integrity can be assured.” The council’s report also recommends more funding for the Food and Drug Administration to enforce such a program.

In the area of gun violence policy, an AMA Board of Trustees report recommends that delegates adopt policy to support giving local law-enforcement officials discretion over whether to issue concealed-carry firearm permits.

Delegates also will consider the report’s proposal to encourage state laws requiring the reporting of relevant mental-health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The proposed new policy would also support more federal funding to help states improve NICS reporting and encourage states to automate reporting of mental-health records to NICS.

On suicide prevention among physicians and medical students, a resolution proposed by the AMA Resident and Fellow Section notes research finding that job stress is an independent risk factor for physician suicide.

The resolution asks the AMA to seek data collection on suicides among medical students, residents and fellows to identify patterns that could predict such events. The proposal would direct the AMA to ask the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to collect and analyze the data.

Improving access to preventive care and other high-value, evidence-based care is a major aim of a joint report from the AMA Council on Medical Service and the AMA Council on Science and Public Health. The report supports the idea of forcing private health plans to cover evidence-based preventive services without making patients pay out of pocket through cost-sharing mechanisms such as co-payments, deductibles or coinsurance.

Delegates also will consider the report’s various recommendations on how to align patients and physicians’ financial incentives in the conception of value-based insurance design.

In the area of rural health disparities, the AMA already has policies that encourage the use of—and payment for—telemedicine to help tackle the problem. But that form of physician service requires broadband access to the internet, which is lacking in rural areas where 23 million Americans live, according to a resolution proposed by 10 state delegations to the HOD.

Their resolution proposes that the AMA advocate to expand broadband connectivity to all rural areas of the United States.

Special sessions

Physicians attending the meeting also have the opportunity to learn from experts on a variety of subjects. Here are a few notable sessions at the 2018 AMA Interim Meeting. A complete listing of session details is available in the Speakers’ Letter.

  • “Opioid rehabilitation and care coordination: What physicians in training need to know.” Friday, Nov. 9, 4–4:45 p.m. Hosted by the AMA Medical Student Section.
  • “Don’t just survive, thrive: Wellness for young physicians.” Noon–2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9. Hosted by the AMA Young Physicians Section.
  • “Blockchain in health care: It’s here and it’s going to make physicians’ and patients’ lives better!” Sunday, Nov. 11, 1–3:30 p.m. Hosted by the Forum for Medical Affairs.
  • "Effects of health care payment models on U.S. physician practice: Is the U.S. making progress in value-based care models?" Monday, Nov. 12, 9:30–11 a.m.