Society Policies Put Before AMA House of Delegates

June 17, 2016
Policy Snapshot

This week the American Medical Association (AMA) held their Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates in Chicago. The nation’s physicians, residents, and students gather together each year to weigh new AMA policy that will help advance the practice of medicine and improve the health of the nation.

AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, represented by Delegate Eric Tangalos, MD, CMD, and Alternate Delegate Rajeev Kumar, MD, FACP,CMD, introduced four resolutions, which were passed by the Society’s House of Delegates during the Annual Conference held on March 2016 in Orlando. Those resolutions included:

  • Ensuring Appropriate Risk Adjustment Prior to Implementation of Value Based Purchasing Programs
  • Result: AMA reaffirmed the policy via the Reaffirmation Consent Calendar.
  • CPR in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care
  • Result: AMA reaffirmed policy H-140.845: Encouraging the Use of Advance Directives and Health Care Powers of Attorney in lieu of the resolution.
  • Accurate Mental Status Reporting
  • Result: Adopted as Amended Resolution 711. Amended to read:
  • RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association encourage interested national medical specialty societies to develop recommendations regarding mental status information that should be transmitted when patients transition care settings. (New HOD Policy)
  • Remove Pain Scores from Quality Metrics
  • Result: AMA adopted as Resolution 236.

    The AMA Reference Committee, charged with reviewing the resolution prior to it being brought to the floor of the house, heard overwhelming support for the Remove Pain Scores from Quality Metrics Resolution and stated that they believe “linking patient satisfaction scores relating to the evaluation and management of pain to physician compensation is inappropriate and may provide an incentive to overprescribe opioid medications.” They also said that they believe that this resolution is “consistent with existing AMA policy that supports delinking pain survey question results from being considered as part of hospital and physician reimbursement.”

    The testimony on Resolution 711-Accurate Mental Status Reporting was mixed. The importance of transmitting changes in patient mental status during care transitions was highlighted, particularly given the aging population and the increased potential for delirium among patients being moved from one care setting to another. Other speakers spoke in opposition to Resolution 711, which was perceived by some as overly prescriptive. It was also noted that the AMA is not the appropriate party to develop the core set of mental status information to be transmitted. The Reference Committee agreed, and suggested amending Resolution 711 to “encourage interested national medical specialty societies to develop recommendations regarding mental status information that should be transmitted when patients transition care settings.” I

    Another resolution of interest was presented by the South Carolina Delegation dealing with CDC guidelines for opioid prescribing. The passed resolution states, “That our American Medical Association work diligently with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other regulatory agencies to provide increased leeway in the interpretation of the new guidelines for appropriate prescription of opioid medications, in much the same way as is being done for hospice and palliative care.”

    In addition to the policymaking portion of the meeting, physicians heard about pressing medical and professional issues from leading experts including Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, who discussed the sweeping changes in delivery and payment being implemented under the landmark Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). To watch his entire speech click here.