Legislation and Its Effects on Medical Families
- Connect with your AMAA Legislation Committee
- Locate Your Legislators
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.
AMA SGR LEGISLATION UPDATE
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.”
The National Advocacy Conference starts tomorrow and we want you to help amplify our efforts. We need to take the “Fix Medicare Now” message to a broader physician and patient audience and we’re asking you to help in any way you can:
• As part of a digital takeover where all AMA efforts send the same message, update your social media profile pictures with the Fix Medicare Now avatar used on AMA’s Facebook and Twitter pages. We plan to keep these in place until the end March.
• Visit AMA’s social media pages and add your voice and fight for SGR repeal. Tweet, share, like or email our content to your colleagues to make sure physicians hear the message and know how to help. Follow AMA’s efforts at Fix Medicare Now, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
• Join AMA’s National Day of Action for SGR Repeal on Wednesday, March 5 and call Congress at 1-800-833-6354. Urge your friends and colleagues to do the same.
• See our digital resources page for tools you can use on your website or social media channels at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/no-index/advocacy/sgr-resources.page.
• Send an e-mail to your elected leaders by visiting fixmedicarenow.com.
Let’s cross the finish line together. Your voice is critical!
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.