AMA Adopts New Policies on Second Day of Voting at 2017 Annual Meeting

Jun 05, 2017 at 09:36 am by Staff

The American Medical Association (AMA), the premier national physician organization in the country, voted to adopt new policies on emerging health care topics during the second day of its Annual Meeting.

The AMA's House of Delegates is the policy-making body at the center of American medicine, bringing together an inclusive group of physicians, medical students and residents representing every state and medical field. Delegates work in a democratic process to create a national physician consensus on emerging issues in public health, science, ethics, business and government to continually provide safer, higher quality and more efficient care for patients and communities.

The policies adopted by the House of Delegates today include:

Opposition to Medicaid Funding Caps

With Congress and the Administration poised to overhaul health care policies, the AMA reaffirmed its opposition to caps on Medicaid funding.

"Capping Medicaid funding would be disastrous for patients by limiting medical responses to unforeseen events and medical innovations. Physicians and states need the flexibility to respond. Caps would threaten coverage for vulnerable populations - especially children and those in need of a safety net - a point we have made repeatedly to policymakers in Washington," said AMA Board of Trustees Member Carl A. Sirio, M.D.

Extending CMS' Locum Tenens 60-Day Limit

When absent for extended periods of time, physicians often rely on substitute physicians - or locum tenens - to take over their professional practice. However, under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations, physicians can bill locum tenens for no more than 60 days. That is why the AMA today adopted policy requesting that CMS create an exception process to the 60-day locum tenens limit, so that physicians facing illnesses, family emergencies, or prolonged absences after childbirth can take the time off that they need.

"There are many circumstances that require a physician to be absent for more than 60 days - from illness and physical impairment to pregnancy and a family emergency," said AMA Immediate Past Chair Stephen R. Permut, M.D., J.D. "They should be able to apply for an exception that allows them to continue billing for locum tenens services beyond the current 60-day limit. Under new AMA policy, we will advocate to CMS to find a solution that works for physicians."

AMA to Promote Greater
Integrated Health Care Leadership

Health care's evolution requires bringing clinical skills and business insights together at the leadership level to foster the collaborative and cohesive decision-making that is essential to achieving the nation's health care goals. To create this integrated leadership structure, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a directive to promote physicians as board members for health care organizations including: acute care organizations, insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, and health technology corporations.

"Physicians are uniquely positioned to serve as leaders in the exam room and the board room," said AMA Board Member Georgia A. Tuttle, M.D. "Diverse medical training, experience, and knowledge provides physicians with a distinctive appreciation of the breadth of health issues that enables them to synthesize diverse professional perspectives and facilitate patient-centered decision-making."

The policies and strategies established by the governing boards of health organizations can significantly impact the transformation of the health care system. There is significant evidence that the participation of physicians in the governance of many health care organizations is associated with elevated business performance, enhanced clinical quality and improved social outcomes.

The AMA will provide physicians, the public and health care organizations information on the positive impact of physician leadership.

Sections: Business/Tech