AMA To Do ‘Whatever We Can’ To Help Carry Out Health Law

The American Medical Association will do “whatever we can in our power” to help implement the 2010 health care law, the group’s president said Tuesday.

Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven

In an interview taped for C-SPAN’s Newsmakers, Ardis Dee Hoven, who became the AMA’s 168th president last month,  said the White House has not approached her or the AMA directly about a formal role,  but “we have been in communication with many, many individuals in the administration about our role as physicians in this and what we can help them do, and what we can do to help our patients get the kind of information they need.

“We will continue to work with the administration and do whatever we can in our power to make this happen,” said Hoven, an infectious diseases specialist from Lexington, Ky.

In the C-SPAN interview, which will air Sunday at 10 a.m. and again at 6 p.m., Hoven said that while there are shortages of physicians, nurses and other health professionals, a greater focus on team-based care will ensure that Americans who now have health insurance, as well as the millions who are expected to gain coverage through the law, will get the care they need.

“I think there will be enough doctors,” she said. “We will have to practice in team-based care. We will have to be more efficient.” She said it’s hard to know now if people who currently have health insurance will have to wait longer to see a physician.

Hoven’s top priorities are improving health outcomes for patients, including in the areas of cardiovascular disease and diabetes; accelerating change in medical education; and sustaining physician practices in an era of consolidation.

She said that the AMA is studying 30 medical practices across the country that vary in size and specialty but all have good health outcomes and high levels of patient and physician satisfaction. The project will determine “what are the key elements, what are the things that make those practices tick?” Hoven said. “How can we translate that information into work that would be good for doctors and practices right now?”

Hoven is also focused on repealing Medicare’s payment system for doctors, called the sustainable growth rate, or the SGR. The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently released a revised SGR overhaul plan.

“We have seen demonstrated bipartisan support for repealing the SGR and replacing it with other models and transitioning to those models,” she said. “There is good support for this. I am very enthusiastic about this.”