AMA making gains on health care reform, practice viability, wellness, medical education and more
by Lynn Parry, MD, Colorado Delegate to the American Medical Association
Featured in the January/February 2018 Colorado Medicine.
Congratulations to our CMS members who have joined the American Medical Association: We have a terrific delegation representing you. The AMA Interim Meeting was held in November 2017, attended by your leadership and Colorado delegates as well as the delegates representing Colorado specialty societies. I want to extend special congratulations and gratitude to M. Ray Painter Jr, MD, who has retired from the Colorado delegation after 32 years of service, many of those as chair.
So, what is the AMA doing for you? The AMA has been sending a consistent message that any health care reform cannot decrease the number of people covered or remove current protections. Visit www.patientsbeforepolitics.org for more.
AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madera, MD, introduced IHMI, the Integrated Health Model Initiative – a collaboration with IBM Watson, Intermountain Healthcare, Cerner and the American Heart Association directed at creating a single standard to share meaningful patient-centric data. It will capture patient goals and assemble data elements into meaningful conceptualization of the patient’s state. Combined with SWITCH, a subscriber network that enables secure permissions-based sharing of health data among patients, physicians, payers and others in health care and technology, IHMI has the potential to make the access to data for physicians more clinically relevant and more efficient.
The AMA has been working to develop tools for assessment of and solutions to physician burnout, emphasizing the need for a systems approach as we move to larger and larger systems. Visit the professional well-being section of www.stepsforward.org.
Medical education remains an area of need. Medical school debt contributes significantly to career decisions and to physician burnout. The AMA is involved in working with transformation in medical education, both at the pre- and post-MD degree level.
The AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) has continued to solicit input on physician aid in dying – an issue that continues to polarize physicians. The AMA House of Delegates asked CEJA to reexamine its policy that opposes physician participation in aiding a patient actively terminating his or her own life. There are now six states plus Washington, DC that have legalized the practice. How should medical ethics guide physicians in this conflict between “do no harm” and “patient autonomy”?
The AMA is your national advocate. It worked with states to block the mega-mergers that insurers were contemplating. Although it was an incredible heavy lift, it likely occurred without many physicians recognizing that preventing those mergers meant preventing profound cuts in reimbursement. Providing help with managing shifting payment systems and providing physicians with tools to navigate new regulations is an ongoing commitment of the AMA.
This only covers a small part of the activity of the AMA. The Interim Meeting was another opportunity to hear from physicians from disparate geographic areas, and all career stages and practice settings. The AMA remains a place where we have to understand each other in order to help our patients.