Legislation and Its Effects on Medical Families
The key to sound health care legislation is teamwork and communication. The involvement of individual physicians and their spouses is vital to the success of any grass roots lobbying efforts.
Better than any professional lobbyist in Washington, Alliance members give federal legislators the most accurate picture of the effect that current health legislation has on patients and families in the U.S.
Top Ten Tips for Hosting a Fundraiser
Alliance members are valuable partners in the AMA’s effort to influence our nation’s leaders.
Join the Alliance VIPS (“Very Influential Physician Spouses”) Program Today!
Medicine needs Alliance advocacy now more than ever, and in an effort to improve Alliance effectiveness as advocates for medicine, we are developing a list of Alliance members with significant legislative relationships and influence at all levels of government. This will allow us to take on a more active role by utilizing our members’ valued relationships with their elected officials.
We would like to include YOU on our list of “Very Influential Physician Spouses” (VIPS) and ask that you let us know who YOU know. Your information will be retained by the Legislation & Public Affairs Committee for quick contact when immediate legislative action is required. Thank you.
Your 2014-15 Legislative Committee
Stephanie Cospito (NY) Director, Chair Legislation & Public Affairs Committee
Carol Sankovic (OH)
Bud Ranasinghe (MD)
Joan Vidic (IN)
Beth Irish, AMA Council on Legislation (COL) Liaison
Kay Brada AMPAC Representative
Julie Newman AMA Alliance President-Elect
Sarah Sanders AMA Alliance President, AMA Foundation Representative
AMA SGR LEGISLATION UPDATE
It’s not too late for Congress to save graduate medical education
Critical funding that trains America’s physicians through Graduate Medical Education (GME) is in danger. GME faces severe cuts in Medicare financing which will limit access to care for patients, jeopardize the ability of residency programs to train physicians, and increase additional physician shortages. We simply cannot afford to play politics with the future of medicine in America.Congress must take proactive steps to prevent GME funding cuts and focus on long term solutions that address the financial stability of Medicare, maintain access to care for patients, and preserve critical funding for physician residency programs. For more information visit www.SaveGME.org.
(courtesy of the AMA website)
Physician Financial Transparency Reports (Sunshine Act)
Key steps physicians need to take
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act) requires manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and biologicals that participate in U.S. federal health care programs to report certain payments and items of value given to physicians and teaching hospitals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been charged with implementing the Sunshine Act and has called it the Open Payments Program.
As part of this program, manufacturers are now required to submit reports on payment, transfer and ownership information. Physicians have the right to review their reports and challenge reports that are false, inaccurate or misleading. However, the timeframe for initiating disputes and having data corrected or publicly marked as disputed is extremely limited. Key steps and dates are below. Access the AMA’s full Sunshine Act toolkit for additional information.
Questions? E-mail CMS’ Open Payments Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (855) 326-8366.
Please share your experiences in registering in the Open Payments System with the AMA. Take a short advocacy survey by Fri., Aug. 22, 2014, and e-mail OpenPayments@ama-assn.org any time with your Open Payments anecdotes. Your responses will be used in ongoing advocacy efforts from the AMA.
AMA Statement on Medicare Data Release
Statement attributed to:
Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D.
President, American Medical Association
“The American Medical Association (AMA) is committed to transparency and supports the release of physician data to improve quality of care. However, we also believe that certain safeguards are necessary to ensure that information is accurate and reliable for patients and other stakeholders.
“The AMA is concerned that CMS’ broad approach to releasing physician payment data will mislead the public into making inappropriate and potentially harmful treatment decisions and will result in unwarranted bias against physicians that can destroy careers. We have witnessed these inaccuracies in the past.
“To guarantee that information is accurate, complete, and helpful, the AMA strongly recommends that physicians be permitted to review and correct their information prior to the data release. This safeguard is not only practical but was recognized and included in other data release proposals, including bi-cameral and bi-partisan legislation supported by the AMA. Additionally, any analysis of the data released should note methodologies to ensure understanding of its limitations.
“Taking an approach that provides no assurances of accuracy of the data or explanations of its limitations will not allow patients to draw meaningful conclusions about the quality of care.”
5 Top federal issues that will affect physicians in 2014
by AMA President Ardis Hoven M.D.
Posted at 12/30/2013 12:55 PM CST
The new year is only just beginning, but it’s safe to say it will be another eventful one. On the schedule are weighty issues that could have a significant impact on physicians and patients in 2014 and years to come.
1. Repeal of Medicare’s failed SGR formula. Congress will continue its work on repeal legislation following the winter recess. In addition to eliminating the tremendous instability that comes with the SGR formula, the bills under consideration offer other significant improvements over current law. Read about the five things physicians need to know in my last AMA Viewpoints post.
2. Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, beginning Jan. 1. While aspects of this roll-out have been rocky, we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal of health care reform: Millions of previously uninsured Americans will gain access to care, and millions more no longer will be at risk of losing their coverage when they need it most. This is a chief goal for us as physicians-helping patients become healthy and stay healthy.
The AMA will provide resources to help make the transition as smooth as possible, and we will monitor closely the effect on practices so we can focus our advocacy efforts on areas that will be most effective for physicians and patients.
3. Implementation of the ICD-10 code set, scheduled for Oct. 1. Under the new code set, physicians will have to contend with about 68,000 outpatient diagnostic codes—a five-fold increase over the 13,000 ICD-9 codes we currently use. The AMA has been working for years to prevent the roll-out of ICD-10. Two bills were introduced in 2013 to this end, and we continue to stress to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that the new code set will place an immense burden on physicians.
4. Meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR), to which physicians must attest by Sept. 30. Physicians who don’t attest to fulfilling the meaningful use requirements by the deadline will be subject to Medicare penalties in 2015. While we have been successful in delaying Stage 3 for a year, we continue to urge CMS to make Stage 2 requirements more reasonable, address usability issues and break down barriers preventing communication among EHR systems rather than placing the responsibility on physicians to achieve the impractical.
5. Physician data will be published by Sept. 30 under the Sunshine Act. Financial interactions with drug and medical device manufacturers will be publically reported in an online database for the first time later this year. Physicians will have an opportunity to review and challenge data before it is posted. In addition to pressing for modifications in how the law is carried out, we offer resources to help you prepare.
2014 promises to be a busy year. The AMA will continue to advocate for federal improvements on behalf of physicians and their patients to improve the health of America.