Meeting News

AMA passes new policies on naloxone, Medicaid, augmented intelligence

A broad spectrum of policies, actions and resolutions, ranging from naloxone access, Medicaid waivers and other topics, were voted on by the AMA delegates at their annual meeting, according to a press release. The meeting recently wrapped up in Chicago.

Increasing access to naloxone on commercial airlines

Delegates agreed to a policy that supports adding naloxone to airline medical kits. Although the Federal Aviation Administration mandates that commercial air carriers have onboard emergency medical kits, naloxone is not currently required.

“The AMA has been a longtime supporter of increasing the availability of naloxone for patients, first responders and bystanders who can help save lives and seeks to bolster efforts to increase access to this medication,” Albert J. Osbahr III, MD, an AMA board member, said in the release.

Opposing lockout p rovisions in Medicaid waivers

According to the AMA, states seeking Medicaid lockouts can ban patients from the program and cut off access to health care services for failing to make premium payments on time, satisfy burdensome work requirements or meet deadlines, even if they adhere to such requirements during the lockout period. Delegates adopted a policy that states its opposition to this rule.

“The AMA believes that Medicaid policies should support continuity of care, and Medicaid patients should be permitted to reapply immediately for redetermination if coverage is terminated,” the release stated.

Addressing augmented intelligence

Delegates also adopted the first-ever policy on augmented intelligence, which seeks to address the myriad of new and unique challenges the technology poses from the first idea to the ultimate use in medicine, according to the release. 

“As technology continues to advance and evolve, we have a unique opportunity to ensure that augmented intelligence is used to benefit patients, physicians, and the broad health care community,” Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, AMA board member, said in the release.

“Combining [augmented intelligence] methods and systems with an irreplaceable human clinician can advance the delivery of care in a way that outperforms what either can do alone. But we must forthrightly address challenges in the design, evaluation and implementation as this technology is increasingly integrated into physicians’ delivery of care to patients,” he added.

Separating children from their caregivers at the border

Delegates adopted a resolution that is against the concept of separating migrating children from their caregivers at the U.S. border, citing the possibility it could cause trauma in these young patients.

“Children leaving the chaos of their home countries should not be further traumatized by the U.S. government policy of separating children from their caregiver. It’s inhumane and risks scarring children for the rest of their lives,” Bobby Mukkamala, MD, an AMA board member, said in the release.

Advancing gender equity

Citing gaps that exist in compensation and career advancement between male physicians and their female peers, delegates adopted a policy containing directives to lower the occurrence of gender bias, elevate objective criteria for equal base pay, develop guidance for instructional transparency of compensations, and begin educational initiatives on institutional and structural bias within medicine.

Promoting diversity in the U.S. medical workforce

The AMA called on the government to “clear the backlog” for conversion from H1-B visas for physicians to permanent resident status. The American Academy of Family Physicians, ACP and other medical societies have recently pushed for a faster review of H-1B visas for international medical graduates who are slated to start their residency training on July 1.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, these visas allow U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in jobs that necessitate “the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.” The worker must also have a bachelor’s degree or higher in the chosen specialty.

“Opening the door to more qualified physicians would benefit patients, many of whom have difficulty accessing care because of a physician shortage where they live,” Mukkamala said in the release. “One in four physicians in the U.S. is an immigrant physician. Immigrant physicians do not replace American workers; instead, they fill gaps in U.S. health care, create more jobs, and serve rural and underserved areas.”

The action on the visas would also help address the physician shortage, the release stated.

Reporting child abuse and neglect in military families

Delegates adopted a policy endorsing state- and federal-run child protective services in reporting child abuse and neglect to the Family Advocacy Program within the U.S. Department of Defense. According to the release, military child abuse and neglect rose from 4.8 incidents per 1,000 children to 7.2 incidents in the past 5 years, with frequent relocations making it more difficult to track the problem.

“We hope our new policy helps close that loophole and ensure cases do not fall through the cracks,” Gerald E. Harmon, MD, AMA board chair, said in the release.

Currently, he said, only 15 states have laws or policies intact that require state child protective services to report cases to the department of defense program.

Ensuring feminine hygiene products for women in prison are free

The AMA also stated it will work with state and specialty societies to advocate for free access to feminine hygiene products for women in jail, and will encourage the IRS to label these products as “medical necessities.”

Only a handful of state legislatures have taken up this initiative, according to the release.- by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.

A broad spectrum of policies, actions and resolutions, ranging from naloxone access, Medicaid waivers and other topics, were voted on by the AMA delegates at their annual meeting, according to a press release. The meeting recently wrapped up in Chicago.

Increasing access to naloxone on commercial airlines

Delegates agreed to a policy that supports adding naloxone to airline medical kits. Although the Federal Aviation Administration mandates that commercial air carriers have onboard emergency medical kits, naloxone is not currently required.

“The AMA has been a longtime supporter of increasing the availability of naloxone for patients, first responders and bystanders who can help save lives and seeks to bolster efforts to increase access to this medication,” Albert J. Osbahr III, MD, an AMA board member, said in the release.

Opposing lockout p rovisions in Medicaid waivers

According to the AMA, states seeking Medicaid lockouts can ban patients from the program and cut off access to health care services for failing to make premium payments on time, satisfy burdensome work requirements or meet deadlines, even if they adhere to such requirements during the lockout period. Delegates adopted a policy that states its opposition to this rule.

“The AMA believes that Medicaid policies should support continuity of care, and Medicaid patients should be permitted to reapply immediately for redetermination if coverage is terminated,” the release stated.

Addressing augmented intelligence

Delegates also adopted the first-ever policy on augmented intelligence, which seeks to address the myriad of new and unique challenges the technology poses from the first idea to the ultimate use in medicine, according to the release. 

“As technology continues to advance and evolve, we have a unique opportunity to ensure that augmented intelligence is used to benefit patients, physicians, and the broad health care community,” Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, AMA board member, said in the release.

“Combining [augmented intelligence] methods and systems with an irreplaceable human clinician can advance the delivery of care in a way that outperforms what either can do alone. But we must forthrightly address challenges in the design, evaluation and implementation as this technology is increasingly integrated into physicians’ delivery of care to patients,” he added.

Separating children from their caregivers at the border

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Delegates adopted a resolution that is against the concept of separating migrating children from their caregivers at the U.S. border, citing the possibility it could cause trauma in these young patients.

“Children leaving the chaos of their home countries should not be further traumatized by the U.S. government policy of separating children from their caregiver. It’s inhumane and risks scarring children for the rest of their lives,” Bobby Mukkamala, MD, an AMA board member, said in the release.

Advancing gender equity

Citing gaps that exist in compensation and career advancement between male physicians and their female peers, delegates adopted a policy containing directives to lower the occurrence of gender bias, elevate objective criteria for equal base pay, develop guidance for instructional transparency of compensations, and begin educational initiatives on institutional and structural bias within medicine.

Promoting diversity in the U.S. medical workforce

The AMA called on the government to “clear the backlog” for conversion from H1-B visas for physicians to permanent resident status. The American Academy of Family Physicians, ACP and other medical societies have recently pushed for a faster review of H-1B visas for international medical graduates who are slated to start their residency training on July 1.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, these visas allow U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in jobs that necessitate “the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.” The worker must also have a bachelor’s degree or higher in the chosen specialty.

“Opening the door to more qualified physicians would benefit patients, many of whom have difficulty accessing care because of a physician shortage where they live,” Mukkamala said in the release. “One in four physicians in the U.S. is an immigrant physician. Immigrant physicians do not replace American workers; instead, they fill gaps in U.S. health care, create more jobs, and serve rural and underserved areas.”

The action on the visas would also help address the physician shortage, the release stated.

Reporting child abuse and neglect in military families

Delegates adopted a policy endorsing state- and federal-run child protective services in reporting child abuse and neglect to the Family Advocacy Program within the U.S. Department of Defense. According to the release, military child abuse and neglect rose from 4.8 incidents per 1,000 children to 7.2 incidents in the past 5 years, with frequent relocations making it more difficult to track the problem.

PAGE BREAK

“We hope our new policy helps close that loophole and ensure cases do not fall through the cracks,” Gerald E. Harmon, MD, AMA board chair, said in the release.

Currently, he said, only 15 states have laws or policies intact that require state child protective services to report cases to the department of defense program.

Ensuring feminine hygiene products for women in prison are free

The AMA also stated it will work with state and specialty societies to advocate for free access to feminine hygiene products for women in jail, and will encourage the IRS to label these products as “medical necessities.”

Only a handful of state legislatures have taken up this initiative, according to the release.- by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.

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