The AMA’s House of Delegates (HOD) convened virtually in mid-June for its Annual Meeting. The meeting ran for five and a half days, in addition to caucus meetings throughout the 2-3 weeks leading up to it. The meeting covered a wide range of important, timely topics currently affecting health care in the U.S. Not surprisingly, similar to the HOD Interim meeting last November, many of the resolutions brought before the HOD directly related to managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
AANEM was represented at the meeting by delegates Bill Pease, MD and Enrica Arnaudo, MD, PhD, alternate delegate Bill David, MD, PhD, and Millie Suk, JD, MPP, staff liaison. The AANEM works closely with the delegations from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR). Drs. Pease, Arnaudo and David also maintain close ties with their state and regional delegations. The AANEM also participates in the Neurosciences Caucus, which consists of the specialty societies concerned with the nervous system.
AANEM co-sponsored a resolution with AAPM&R to prevent Medicare Advantage plans from limiting coverage of care that is covered under traditional Medicare. The resolution had widespread support throughout the House and was passed, with a friendly amendment, and directed the AMA to:
- Ask the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to further regulate Medicare Advantage plans so that the same treatment and authorization guidelines are followed for both fee-for-service Medicare and Medicare Advantage patients, including admission to inpatient rehabilitation facilities.
- Advocate that proprietary criteria shall not supersede the professional judgment of the patient’s physician when determining Medicare and Medicare Advantage patient eligibility for procedures and admissions.
The HOD tackled a number of other important and timely health policy issues, many of which related to the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the healthcare system, as well as issues surrounding health disparities. Resolutions aimed at addressing vaccine mandates and credentials, aid to foreign countries battling the pandemic (including waivers of pertinent intellectual property rights related to vaccine production), cracking down on social media misinformation, and continued expansion of telehealth were just some of the issues directly related to the pandemic. The House also addressed many other pressing issues, such as reducing barriers to care related to prior authorization requirements, finding ways to help defray costs for medical students and trainees, and addressing complex challenges faced by rural health care providers and facilities. The AMA website
contains a detailed list of all of the major topics covered during the session.
The HOD will reconvene for its Interim Meeting in November 2021 (hopefully, in-person) in Orlando, FL.