Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To AMA or Not AMA - That is the Question

"Dear Colleague:

In this era of health care reform, it has been said that when it comes to reimbursement issues, “you are either at the table or on the menu.” President Obama has said that he would like to cut Medicare costs by more than 300 billion dollars in the next 10 years. The Heart Rhythm Society needs to be at the table, and we need your help. To strengthen the Society's ability to represent your interests, we need to gain a seat in the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates. This is one of the “tables” where the critical medical policy decisions are being made.

We know that many of you believe that AMA does not always represent your interests. You are not alone. Many physicians across all medical societies struggle with this, including those from societies who are already in the AMA House of Delegates. But it is critical that the Society is in all policymaking arenas to influence the future of EP practice. The AMA House of Delegates opens important doors for us — especially those entities who are in control of identifying Medicare procedures that will be reimbursed and performance measures that will be the basis for Medicare reimbursement in the future."
And so begins a recent e-mail sent to electrophysiologists around the country from the Heart Rhythm Society.

I find myself at a critical crossroad. Any society that has gone "all-in" as the AMA did with the recent H.R. 3200 because they simply wanted a "seat at the negotiating table" without evaluating the legislation has me deeply concerned. It was clear from the recent AMA House of Delegates meeting that physicians were NOT in agreement with a single payer system, and yet the AMA leadership decided unilaterally in under 24 hours after the first house bill was released to side with the legislation: legislation created more from special interests needs than those of the physicians and patients long term.

And like the push to approve the House Bill before the August recess, I have until 31 August to join the AMA so the Heart Rhythm Society can have a representative at the House of Delegates.

Problem is, it didn't matter for the societies that HAD delegates there before, what makes me think it'll matter now?


1 comment:

Keith said...


The AMA has been on the wrong side of the issue from the beginning of time, having resisted the creation of Medicare and every other policy initiative that has any threat of harming physicians income. I suppose in the big game, this is what our medical societies are supposed to do, but it is wrong if it threatens the long term viability of our health care system and ultimately our country, and what we currently have is not sustainable nor does it serve all the citizens of this country. For once they are right, and I have no doubt that at some point we will evolve away from our goofy system of employer based health care with insurance companies wasting 30% of every dollar spent on paying lavish executive salaries and shareholders. All so they can make our lives (physician and patinet) as difficult as they possibly can. Why would you want to protect such a system. Who would you trust more making health care decisions of rationing; the friendly folks at Unitied Health Care or the goverment? While there are problems with both, I would hands down chose the goverment! That's what makes it so crazy to see senior citizen shouting a rallies to "keep your goverment hands off my Medicare". It's a goverment run program you dummies!!

I suggest your society sign up to get it's place at the table and advocate for the procedures that you do that are clearly of great value.