The American Medical Association (AMA) issued a statement this week from the chair of its Board of Trustees, Patrice A. Harris, MD, strongly supporting the nomination of Tom Price, MD, to become the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“His service as a physician, state legislator and member of the U.S. Congress provides a depth of experience to lead HHS,” Dr. Harris said in the statement. “Dr. Price has been a leader in the development of health policies to advance patient choice and market-based solutions as well as reduce excessive regulatory burdens that diminish time devoted to patient care and increase costs.
“We urge the Senate to promptly consider and confirm Dr. Price for this important role.”
Also in the wake of the election, the AMA has set out its advocacy agenda for the coming months. The focus will be on the following priorities:
Health system reform. Following action taken by the House of Delegates during the 2016 AMA Interim Meeting, the AMA issued a press release and two-page statement outlining and reaffirming its existing policies on health system reform. The AMA’s comprehensive policy provides a solid foundation for upcoming deliberations on changes to the Affordable Care Act and other programs. The framework addresses key issues such as covering the uninsured and expanding choice, ensuring patient access to care and the providers they need, improving health equity for underserved and special needs populations and advancing initiatives that enhance practice efficiency and professional satisfaction.
These materials were shared with the Trump transition team, the Obama administration and congressional leaders, and the initial response has been positive. In the coming weeks, the AMA will be hosting a series of discussions with Federation members to prepare and position medicine to effectively engage in the debate about the future of health system reform.
Regulatory relief. The AMA will aggressively pursue new opportunities to secure significant reductions in regulatory burdens that take time from patient care and increase costs. To be assured efforts begin with the most pressing concerns in mind, the AMA has asked for input from Federation groups on suggestions for a regulatory relief agenda.
Further QPP improvements. The first performance reporting period under the QPP begins Jan.1. Although organized medicine was able to secure many improvements in final regulations issued this fall, there are provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) law that must still be implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Proposed regulations expected to be issued in the spring of 2017 will offer opportunities to seek further improvements to the QPP. As it has over the last 18 months, the AMA will seek to forge consensus across organized medicine on recommendations to improve the new Medicare payment system.