by Kate Alfano, CMS Communications Coordinator
Featured in the January/February 2019 Colorado Medicine.
The American Medical Association held its Interim Meeting Nov. 8-13 in National Harbor, Md. More than 2,500 physicians, residents and students from all 50 states and over 115 specialties attended. During business of the House of Delegates, delegates adopted 53 resolutions. CMS CEO Alfred Gilchrist was also awarded the AMA Lifetime Achievement Award; read more about the award here.
Attendees had the opportunity to attend many educational events on a wide variety of topics, many with CME, including contracting with large employers, evaluating physician competency without Maintenance of Certification, wellness for young physicians, opioid rehabilitation and care coordination, and providing care for child and adolescent refugees.
Attendees also heard from AMA leaders. In an address to delegates gathered at the opening session, President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, said it is time to create a health care system that values health over money and power. “The AMA is fighting the forces that make the U.S. health system so dysfunctional.”
She told the heartbreaking story of her patient with metastatic cancer who was denied an opioid prescription due in part to prior authorization and who, wracked with pain and shamed by the episode, nearly died of suicide. “The health plan does not have the chart, doesn’t know the patient, and basically countermanded my orders without even telling me — using the prior-authorization process,” McAneny said.
McAneny also addressed pressing topics such as physician burnout, health industry consolidation, the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, access to health insurance and excessive time on EHR.
AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, said medicine’s future demands doctors to act as disrupters. “Tensions surrounding health care today are evident to patients and physicians. When it comes to alleviating those tensions and shaping practical changes to improve care, the onus is on physicians to lead the way,” Madara told delegates.
“New solutions must facilitate, not complicate, medical practice,” he said. “These solutions must save time, not take time.”
Madara highlighted the AMA’s role in “an Uberized approach” to lifestyle change programs to prevent diabetes, as well as the association’s efforts to help physicians accelerate digital health implementation in practice.
AMA delegates from around the country provided testimony on more than 100 reports and resolutions up for consideration at the meeting. Drawing on their expertise, the best evidence in the medical and health policy literature, and the insights of their state and medical specialty societies, delegates weighed in on proposals that run the gamut of issues affecting patients and physicians.
AMA member groups and sections representing medical students, residents and fellows, and many others across career stages, special interests and more also held gatherings during the Interim Meeting, providing these groups the opportunity to influence policy, attend educational programs and network.
The AMA House of Delegates will hold its Annual Meeting in Chicago June 8-12, 2019, to address health care issues and elect officers. AMA Sections and Special Group meetings will also be held during this time. For more information, go to www.ama-assn.org or contact the Colorado delegates or alternate delegates to the AMA. Members Move Medicine!