AMA House of Delegates

Pediatric neurosurgeon Peter W. Carmel, MD, was inaugurated as AMA president on June 21 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Photo by Ted Grudzinski / AMA

AMA selects president-elect, board members

Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, was named president-elect.

By Damon Adams — Posted July 4, 2011

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Dr. Lazarus

Peter W. Carmel, MD, a Newark, N.J., pediatric neurosurgeon, was inaugurated as the 166th president of the AMA during the Annual Meeting in June.

Denver psychiatrist Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, was named president-elect. McLean, Va., obstetrician-gynecologist Robert M. Wah, MD, became chair of the Board of Trustees. Mountain Grove, Mo., family physician David O. Barbe, MD, was named secretary.

Hollidaysburg, Pa., orthopedic surgeon Andrew W. Gurman, MD, was elected speaker of the House of Delegates.

Susan R. Bailey, MD, an allergist, immunologist and pediatrician from Fort Worth, Texas, is the new vice speaker.

Elected to the board were Alexander Ding, MD, a resident in diagnostic radiology from Boston; Atlanta psychiatrist Patrice A. Harris, MD; Albert T. Osbahr, MD, a family and occupational physician from Hickory, N.C.; Lebanon, N.H., dermatologist Georgia A. Tuttle, MD; Portland, Ore., pediatric neurosurgeon Monica C. Wehby, MD; and Jordan M. VanLare, a student at the College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City.

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Meeting notes: Legislation

Issue: Racial and ethnic disparities continue to be a major problem, but insurance status, particularly whether a patient is enrolled in Medicaid or is uninsured, also is linked to disparities.

Proposed action: Affirm the AMA's support for elimination of health care disparities based on insurance status; ask the member organizations of the Commission to End Health Care Disparities to address insurance status specifically; and urge the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to investigate the impact of insurance-based segregation in different settings on racial and ethnic health care disparities. [Adopted]

Issue: The federal government is working to define what it will call essential health care benefits that must be covered by plans for sale in the state-based health insurance exchanges.

Proposed action: Rather than recommend a list of specific benefits, reaffirm existing policy stating that the coverage offered by the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program should be used as a "reference" when identifying whether a plan offers meaningful coverage for adults. [Adopted]

Issue: Accountable care organizations and other payment models that rely on assigning a population of patients to a physician increasingly are becoming more common, under both Medicare and private payers.

Proposed action: Advocate for Medicare payment reforms that "emphasize voluntary agreements between patients and physicians, minimize the use of algorithms or formulas, provide attribution information to physicians in a timely manner, and include formal mechanisms to allow physicians to verify and correct attribution data as necessary." [Adopted]

Issue: Laws that bar gays and lesbians from marrying not only limit their access to insurance and other health benefits but also can impose psychological harm.

Proposed action: Modify existing policy to recognize that denying civil marriage based on sexual orientation is discriminatory and stigmatizes gay and lesbian individuals, couples and their families. [Adopted]

Issue: Pharmacists are seeking to expand their scope of practice in ways that constitute the unsupervised practice of medicine, such as interpreting diagnostic tests and substantially changing patients' medication regimens.

Proposed action: Collect and disseminate state-specific information on pharmacists' scope of practice and disseminate model state legislation on the matter. [Adopted]

Issue: It is difficult for Medicare patients to determine when they are eligible to obtain certain covered preventive services.

Proposed action: Encourage the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to set up a user-friendly way for patients to call in or use the Web to find out the timing of covered benefits. [Adopted]

Issue: Patient navigators often are employed by health systems or health insurers to help patients with treatment options and the intricacies of insurance coverage. There are no clear standards or accreditation requirements in this field, and patient navigators may be instructed to direct patients only to certain physicians and hospitals for care, restricting freedom of choice.

Proposed action: A report on the emerging role of patient navigators. [Adopted]

Issue: Some physicians refuse to take on-call coverage in the emergency department due to medical liability costs, worsening patients' access to quality specialist care.

Proposed action: Support federal legislation to grant physicians legal immunity under the Federal Tort Claims Act when providing care in accordance with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. [Referred for decision]

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