The annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) was held from June 9-14 in Chicago, IL, and, as usual, a whole host of reports and resolutions were presented to the House of Delegates (HOD) for discussion and debate. The ACC submitted a resolution titled, “Immigration Reform Impacts on International Graduate Training and Patient Access,” which contained three resolves:
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1) the AMA advocate for timely processing of visas for physicians to fill residency and training slots; 2) that AMA study the current impact of immigration reform efforts on residency and fellowship training programs, physician supply and timely access of patients to health care throughout the United States; and 3) that AMA report back to the HOD by the 2017 interim meeting. This resolution, combined with six other resolutions on the same topic, lead to the following seven resolve clauses:
- That AMA recognize the valuable contributions and affirm support of international medical students and international medical graduates and their participation in U.S. medical schools, residency and fellowship training programs and in the practice of medicine.
- That AMA oppose laws and regulations that would broadly deny entry or re-entry to the U.S. of persons who currently have legal visas including permanent resident status and student visas based on the country of origin, and or religion.
- That AMA oppose policies that would broadly deny issuance of legal visas to persons based on the country of origin and or religion.
- That AMA advocate for immediate reinstatement of premium processing of H-1B Visas for physicians and trainees to prevent any negative impact on patient care.
- That AMA advocate for the timely processing of visas for all physicians including residents, fellows, and physicians in independent practice.
- That AMA work with other stakeholders to study the current impact of immigration and reform efforts on residency and fellowship programs, physicians supply, and timely access to patient’s health care throughout the U.S.
- That AMA update the HOD for the 2017 Interim Meeting on the impact of immigration barriers on physician workforce.
Several organizations including our nuclear medicine colleagues also submitted Resolution 229 regarding Medicare’s Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) program. An amended version passed the HOD, stating that AMA continue to advocate to delay the effective date of the AUC program until the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can adequately address technical and workflow challenges with this implementation and any integration between the Quality Payment Program and the use of advanced diagnostic imaging AUC. The ACC delegation felt this language was well in line with the ACC’s policy statement on the AUC Program and supported this final language.
The ACC also co-sponsored two resolutions submitted by the AMA District of Columbia Delegation. These resolutions had been reviewed by the ACC’s Prevention Council, prior to the AMA meeting. Resolution 407, requests that the federal government support supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP) initiatives to incentivize healthy foods and dis-incentivize or eliminate unhealthy foods and to harmonize SNAP food offerings with those of special supplemental nutrition programs for women, infants and children. This language was agreed upon by the reference committee and passed by the HOD. The second resolution, also passed by the HOD, was related to healthful hospital foods and stated that AMA hereby call on U.S. hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff and visitors by providing and promoting plant-based meals low in fat, sodium and added sugars and eliminate the use of processed meats from patient menus.
Other resolutions and reports of importance to the ACC, included those focused on protecting patients access to emergency services; expansion of the U.S. Veterans health care choices; support for pharmaceutical pricing negotiations by the Medicare program; the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and the Quality Payment Program; Maintenance of Certification; medical student debt and the expansion of graduate medical education slots; hospital consolidation; and more. Additionally, David Barbe, MD, a family physician from southern Missouri, was installed as the new AMA president. For all HOD actions, visit the AMA website at www.ama-assn.org.
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