On Wednesday evening, “A Washington Update: The American Medical Association Perspective” was hosted by McLeod Health for physicians and their spouses. Additionally, members of the McLeod Health Board of Trustees and Administration and the Florence County Medical Society were among the 120 attendees at this special opportunity to get insight on the national health care environment.
The keynote address was delivered by Cecil B. Wilson, M.D., President of the American Medical Association (AMA).
An internist from Winter Park, Florida, Dr. Wilson became the 165th President of the American Medical Association in June of 2010. He has been a member of the AMA Board of Trustees since 2002, serving as Chair from 2006 to 2007. He has also been a member of the AMA House of Delegates since 1992, and was previously elected to two terms as a member of the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws, of which he also served as Vice Chair.
McLeod Chief Medical Officer Dr. Coy Irvin has served on AMA committees and was instrumental in bringing the topical overviews to McLeod Health.
As a continuing medical education program, the objectives of the evening included identifying ways that physicians can better position themselves for market and discuss regulatory changes that have not yet taken place.
During his remarks, Dr. Wilson encouraged the attendees to educate themselves on the proposed changes in healthcare and to use the AMA website as a resource. AMA is currently lobbying to correct issues from their perspective with the Affordable Care Act.
“It is important that we work together and have one voice to make these changes the best they can be for physicians and patients,” said Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson underscored the role of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). An ACO refers to a group of providers and suppliers of services (hospitals, physicians, and others involved in patient care) with a goal of delivering seamless, high quality care for Medicare beneficiaries. He added that the AMA believes there are six criteria essential to the success of Accountable Care Organizations:
1. They must be physician led.
2. Participation by physicians and patients should be voluntary.
3. This can not be a one size fits all approach.
4. Physicians in small rural practices need to receive financial and technical assistance.
5. Existing anti-trust laws must be reformed.
6. We must utilize quality measures that are physician driven.
Dr. Wilson added that on the AMA website there is a how to manual for physicians to navigate a post reform world. He also provided the physicians with a resource on the Affordable Care Act to share with their patients (www.healthcareandyou.org) which is updated regularly and written in concise, easy to understand language.
Rich Deem, Senior Vice President of Advocacy for the American Medical Association, also addressed those in attendance with a Report on the Budget. He noted that “we are not going to solve it all or balance the budget on the backs of providers. We must bring patients into the conversation and provide incentives to them in the areas of preventive care.”
We are always pleased to share and receive information that provides us with more ideas on how to improve the quality and coordination of care for the patients we serve.