AMA Offers Guidance on Physician Employment

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , November 14, 2012

In a sweeping series of recommendations, the American Medical Association's governing body this week issued "guiding principles" for physician employment, reaffirmed its opposition to ICD-10, sought improved government payments, and acknowledged the need for improved clinical care on issues ranging from genetic testing to whooping cough.

In meetings over the last two days, the AMA's House of Delegates voted on economic, clinical, scientific and public health issues that the nation's largest physician organization wants to advance in order to "shape the healthcare agenda" of the nation.

The organization's sessions began Monday and ended Tuesday in Honolulu, Hawaii, but even the AMA's top leaders acknowledge that the association is not in a position to shape the entire healthcare agenda.

Indeed, the AMA continues to be frustrated and confronts nagging issues such as pending implementation of the ICD-10 coding. Those frustrations were reflected in what was described as "vigorous debate."

For many physicians, some of the biggest concerns revolved around the workplace. As more doctors are becoming employed by hospitals, the AMA adopted new guiding principles that govern physician relationships with the institutions, AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, told HealthLeaders Media in a phone interview.

The guiding principles are intended to help physicians address potential conflicts in hospital relationships, Lazarus said during a break in the AMA's semi-annual policy-making meeting.

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