AMA Offers Guidance on Physician Employment

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , November 14, 2012

Urged Medicare to improve vaccination coverage for whooping cough by covering Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria, Acellular Pertussis) vaccines under Medicare Part B. Tdap vaccinations are currently not reimbursed under Medicare Part B, but the rates of whooping cough, formally known of Pertussis, are increasing.

Supported Medicaid expansion in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act. Under the law, it is optional for states to expand Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level.  The AMA board advocates for an increase in Medicaid payments to physicians and improvements in Medicaid that will "reduce administrative burdens and deliver healthcare services more efficiently.

Despite the Medicaid expansion vote, sure enough, there wasn't much debate on the Affordable Care Act, a subject of much contention among physicians over the last few years.

"We're moving ahead to implement the Affordable Care Act," the AMA's president says. "There wasn't a lot in the House action related to that."

There was another issue, a longstanding and frustrating one, for the AMA, that made its presence felt at the board meeting. And that's the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which is slated to cut Medicare rates by 30% in 2013.  

AMA's "position is very clear" on the SGR: It wants to get rid of it. This week, although there was some discussion about it, the board didn't take a vote on it, Lazarus says. "The Medicare cuts may come in January, and we are looking at the lame duck Congress. The SGR is the looming issue for the next couple of months."

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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