CMA delegates meet to discuss critical health care issues, set policy

October 19, 2015

More than 500 California physicians convened in Anaheim October 16-18 for the California Medical Association’s (CMA) 2015 House of Delegates (HOD), the association’s annual meeting. Below are highlights of the actions taken at this year's meeting.

Tobacco (Res. 107-15): CMA reinforced its long-established stance against tobacco use, with the passage of a resolution that strongly objects to pro-tobacco efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in other parts of the world. With the resolution’s passage, CMA calls on the Chamber to immediately halt all advocacy efforts on behalf of tobacco companies and urges all conscientious companies that are members of the Chamber to either take similar action or quit their membership to protest such anti-health efforts.

Public Health Funding (Res. 112-15): The delegates voted unanimously to urge the State of California to restore public health funding. The resolution calls on CMA to work with state health and legislative officials, through the state budget process, to develop a plan to repair California’s public health infrastructure and funding for vital prevention services.

Biomedical Careers (Res. 609-15): The delegates directed CMA to support pipeline programs targeting underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students, to help increase ethnic minority physicians in medically underserved areas.

Implicit Bias Training (Res. 610-15):  Acknowledging their impact on patient care, the delegates urged CMA to support studies of the impact on patient care of “implicit bias”--defined as the positive or negative perceptions, feelings and stereotypes that impact our comprehension and behaviors in an unconscious way. The resolution also called on CMA to support the inclusion of implicit bias training in medical school curriculums and continuing medical education programs.

HSA Limits (Res. 411-15): The delegates passed a resolution directing the association to support increasing the dollar amounts eligible for tax-free deposit into a health savings account (HSA) to cover a greater proportion of an enrollee’s potential out-of-pocket costs in a high-deductible health plan.

Hospital Affiliation Requirements (Res. 402-15): The delegates passed a resolution opposing the health plan practice of requiring physicians to maintain a hospital affiliation in order to contract with the plan. Many physicians, for a variety of reasons, no longer physically practice in a hospital setting. As such, requiring physicians to have hospital privileges at an in-network facility in order to contract with a health plan unfairly penalizes physicians whose practices do not require interaction with a hospital, and potentially reduces access to care for patients, particularly in rural areas.

Administrative Burdens (Res. 404-15): In an effort to reduce the administrative burdens on physicians, the delegates passed a resolution that supports a requirement that each health plan provide a single comprehensive information resource (telephone or online) that can address all inquiries related to benefit eligibility, provider plan participation and service pre-certification without the provider having to initiate multiple telephone or online inquiries.

Powdered Alcohol (Res. 104-15): The delegates passed a resolution directing CMA to encourage an established health research entity to evaluate powdered alcohol products for potential health and societal impacts. The resolution also calls on CMA to advocate for the development of regulatory controls for powdered alcohol products similar to those for liquid alcohol products, including regulation on sales, marketing, product placement, packaging and warning labels. This resolution was referred for national action.

Additional details of the new policies set at this year's meeting will be published later this week and available for members only at www.cmadocs.org/hod under the “Documents” tab.


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