AANEM representatives attended the AMA's House of Delegates Interim Meeting, which was held virtually in mid-November. The meeting covered a wide range of important, timely topics affecting health care in the United States. The meeting ran the full 4 days, but the format was adjusted to accommodate the virtual platform.
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 address the impact that limited business hours of insurance companies has on prior authorization for admission of patients to the hospital on weekends or on holidays. The House supported the resolution but decided, with support from AAPM&R and AANEM, to expand the resolution to apply to hours of operation and prior authorization more generally. Specifically, the HOD directed the AMA to, “advocate that all insurance companies and benefit managers that require prior authorization have staff available to process approvals 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays and weekends.”
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. Resolutions aimed at addressing the exacerbation of drug shortages, the impact of social determinants of health, and barriers to care access were just some of the issues directly related to the pandemic. The House also addressed many other pressing issues, such as declaring the use of excessive force by law enforcement as a public health issue. The AMA website
contains a detailed list of all of the major topics covered during the session.
The HOD will reconvene for its Annual Meeting in June 2021 (hopefully, in-person) in Chicago, IL.