AMA del­e­gates’ meet­ing mixes ire and blame

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By An­dis Robeznieks

Physi­cians were in a can­tan­ker­ous mood at last week’s Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual House of Del­e­gates meet­ing in Chicago, pick­ing fights with other health­care groups as well as with each other.

Some turned on the AMA for its fail­ure to achieve Medi­care physi­cian-pay­ment re­form and other lob­by­ing pri­or­i­ties. But AMA lead­ers urged unity to achieve medicine’s goals.

Del­e­gates re­stated that physi­cians should be the “cap­tain of the ship” in team-based care, a po­si­tion quickly crit­i­cized by nurse prac­ti­tion­ers.

They also re­stated the AMA’s po­si­tion that doc­tors pro­vid­ing care through telemedicine should be li­censed in the states where their pa­tients re­side, a po­si­tion at odds with tele­health providers and some hospi­tal sys­tems.

Dr. Bar­bara McA­neny, re-elected to the AMA board as its new chair, summed up the del­e­gates’ frus­trated mood. “I know what it means to physi­cians to feel like a data-en­try clerk,” she said.

In an in­ter­view, new AMA pres­i­dent, Dr. Robert Wah, ac­knowl­edged the malaise among AMA doc­tors. “Some people re­spond to change and un­cer­tainty with un­ease and anx­i­ety,” said Wah, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first Chi­nese-Amer­i­can pres­i­dent. “I choose to see change as an op­por­tu­nity.”

Del­e­gates railed against the re­quired switch to the ICD-10 cod­ing sys­tem and federal mean­ing­ful-use re­quire­ments for health in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

They also voted to op­pose manda­tory par­tic­i­pa­tion in new main­te­nance-of-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams.

And they blasted the Joint Com­mis­sion for not re­quir­ing pa­tient-cen­tered med­i­cal home prac­tices to be physi­cian-led to qual­ify for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

In ad­di­tion, AMA lead­ers crit­i­cized Congress for not re­peal­ing and re­plac­ing the Medi­care sus­tain­able growthrate for­mula for physi­cian pay­ment.

“I saw politi­cians on both sides of the aisle—in the Se­nate and the House—voice their ap­proval for the leg­is­la­tion,” said Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven, out­go­ing AMA pres­i­dent. “And then, a few weeks later, I saw those same politi­cians vote that bill down.”

Dr. James Madara, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and CEO, em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of “a clear and uni­fied voice” in ad­vanc­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion’s agenda.

That unity was threat­ened by a res­o­lu­tion call­ing for an in­de­pen­dent re­view of AMA lob­by­ing ef­forts.

Some House of Del­e­gate mem­bers said the res­o­lu­tion was a thinly veiled jab at the AMA board for its sup­port of key el­e­ments of Oba­macare. Ul­ti­mately, del­e­gates re­jected the in­de­pen­dent re­view.

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