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Highlights from AMA's 2014 interim meeting



November 17, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Leadership Professional Development & Education 

The nation’s physicians gathered at the 2014 American Medical Association (AMA) interim meeting in Dallas, Texas, this past week. The delegates debated a large number of resolutions, establishing new policies related to the worldwide Ebola epidemic, expanded network access for the Affordable Care Act and electronic health records. A number of these resolutions were put forward by the California delegation. Below are highlights of some of the resolutions adopted as policy.

Ebola: Resolution 925 put forth by the California delegation was incorporated into AMA policy that calls on AMA to strongly support U.S. and global efforts to fight the Ebola epidemic and support health care workers and volunteers that are fighting Ebola worldwide. The policy also supports the use of quarantine and isolation when it is based on science and asks AMA to make emergency recommendations on Ebola for the medical community and the general public.

Adequate Networks for Patient Access, Choice: AMA adopted policy that calls for health insurers to make updates to their provider networks prior to the open enrollment period begins each year to avoid patient confusion. The policy also reiterates the need for health insurers to provide patients with an accurate, complete directory of participating physicians through multiple media outlets. These lists also should identify physicians who are not accepting new patients.

Medicaid Enhanced Rates: The AMA delegates adopted policy (Report 7) that requires AMA to advocate for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid primary care payment increases to continue past 2014 in a manner that does not negatively impact payment for any other physicians.

AMA Promotion of Improved Electronic Records: The delegates passed a resolution (210) that asks AMA to continue advocating with the Centers for Medical & Medicaid Services (CMS) for a halt to meaningful use penalties.

Hospital Sponsored Electronic Health Records: The delegates referred for study a California resolution (825) that asked AMA continue to urge Congress and the CMS to mandate that all EHR systems be interoperable, and to require hospitals to protect physician rights to control and have access to their patients' medical records. The resolution was referred so that current regulations, practices and legal implications could be reviewed.

Preventing Drug Manufacturers from Restricting their Distribution Networks: AMA reaffirmed policies D-110.993, H-110.992 and H-110.998 in lieu of California resolution 229 that asked the AMA to oppose attempts by drug manufacturers and distributors to increase profits by restricting the distribution of their medications. The resolution also asked AMA partner with the American Hospital Association, the federal government and other interested parties, to oppose Genentech’s plan to restrict the distribution of its products as a restraint of trade.

Facilitating Multiple State Licensure: AMA delegates voted to support the Federation of State Medical Boards compact designed to facilitate a speedier medical licensure process with fewer administrative burdens for physicians seeking licensure in multiple states (Report 3). The compact includes model legislation to make it easier for physicians to obtain licenses in multiple states while providing access to safe, quality care. The California Medical Association will be working with the Medical Board of California to review the compact and determine the best course of action in our state.

Cannabis: The delegates adopted a resolution (213) asking AMA to encourage model legislation to put a warning on all cannabis products not approved the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that says: “Marijuana has a high potential for abuse. It has no scientifically proven, currently accepted medical use for preventing or treating any disease process in the United States.” The resolution also urges legislatures to delay full legalization of any cannabis product until further research is completed on the public health, medical, economic and social consequences of chronic use of cannabis.

More news from the AMA Interim Meeting is available on the AMA website.

Contact: Elizabeth McNeil, (800) 786-4262 or emcneil@cmadocs.org.

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