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Highlights from AMA's 2013 interim meeting



December 02, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Leadership Professional Development & Education Public Health 

More than 1,000 physicians gathered just outside our nation's capital for the American Medical Association (AMA) interim meeting. The delegates debated a large number of resolutions, establishing new policies related to the Affordable Care Act, culturally and linguistically competent care and the Medicare sustainable growth rate. A number of these resolutions were put forward by the California delegation. Below are highlights of some of the resolutions adopted as policy.


Medicare Payment Reform: Following robust discussion in various meeting venues, the AMA House of Delegates passed an amended resolution regarding repeal of Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. In addition to reaffirming relevant AMA policy, the resolution directed the AMA to support a full SGR repeal and to continue its strong advocacy for positive updates and for its pay-for-performance principles and guidelines. AMA was also directed to advocate with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Congress for alternative payment models to be developed in concert with specialty and state medical societies, including a private contracting option.


Payments of Penalties to Physicians for RAC Audits: The delegates adopted a California resolution directing the AMA to advocate for penalties and interest to be imposed on the auditor and payable to the physician when a RAC audit or appeal for a claim has been found in favor of the physician.


Culturally, Linguistically Competent Care and Outreach for At-Risk Communities: The delegates adopted as amended a California resolution that asks the AMA to encourage greater cultural and linguistic-competent outreach to ethnic communities including partnerships with ethnic community organizations, health care advocates and respected media outlets.


Health Exchange Benefit Designs and Tax Deductibility of Out-of-Pocket Expenses: The delegates reaffirmed existing policy asking the AMA to support efforts to develop benefit designs in the health insurance exchanges that appeal to young and healthy people and support legislation allowing full tax deductibility of all out of pocket health care expenses.


Health Insurance Exchange and 90-Day Grace Period: The delegates adopted a resolution directing the AMA to oppose efforts to mandate physician participation in health insurance exchange products; support insurance identification cards that contain contact information for verifying eligibility and coverage; support that authorization of eligibility and coverage will be a guarantee of payment for services rendered; oppose the preemption of state law by federal laws relating to the federal grace period for subsidized health benefit exchange enrollees; and support the suspension of coverage in months two and three of the federal grace period for subsidized health benefit exchange enrollees who fail to pay premiums.


Opioid-Associated Overdoses and Deaths: The delegates directed the AMA to develop a set of best practices to inform clinical use of these drugs in managing persistent pain. The policy also calls for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect more robust data on unintentional opioid poisonings and deaths to develop appropriate solutions for preventing such occurrences.


ICD-10 Implementation: The delegates adopted two policies related to the Oct. 1, 2014 implementation deadline for the ICD-10 code set. One policy calls for continued advocacy to delay or cancel implementation, and another asks the AMA to seek federal funding assistance for physician practices to alleviate the financial burden associated with implementation costs, including upgrades and staff training.


Contact: Nick Birtcil, (916) 551-2570 or nbirtcil@cmadocs.org.

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