Published: September 24, 2018

AMA House of Delegates report: Issues impacting otolaryngology

The American Medical Association (AMA) held its 2018 Annual House of Delegates (HOD) Meeting in Chicago, IL, June 9-13.

Robert Puchalski, MD
Chair, AAO-HNS Delegation to the AMA House of Delegates

The American Medical Association (AMA) held its 2018 Annual House of Delegates (HOD) Meeting in Chicago, IL, June 9-13. Your Academy was represented by Robert Puchalski, MD, Delegation Chair; Douglas Myers, MD, Delegate and Otolaryngology Section Council Chair; Craig S. Derkay, MD, Delegate; and James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS EVP/CEO, as Alternate Delegate.


The 2018 AMA Annual Meeting was full of discussion on the big topics facing the medical community and the nation. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, a special guest at the meeting, gave a speech encouraging physicians to lead the nation in a civil discussion on the pressing issues of our day, such as gun violence, substance-use disorders, and health equity.

Dr. Adams, an AMA Delegate, encouraged physicians to look “upstream for root causes and preventative solutions” to substance-use disorders and other health issues. Noting that he joined the AMA 20 years ago, he said the experience “lit a fire,” helping him to develop into a physician leader.

Below is a summary of the meeting, highlighting a few of the many debated reports and resolutions most relevant to our specialty.

Retrospective ER coverage denials

Retrospective denials are becoming an increasing trend among national payers. The AMA voted to work to strengthen the enforcement of federal and state laws which require payers to cover ER care when a patient reasonably believes they are in need of immediate medical attention, including the imposition of meaningful financial penalties on insurers who do not comply with the law.

Grill brush warning

The AMA voted to secure placement of a warning label on all wire-bristle grill brushes informing consumers about the possibility of wire bristles breaking off and being accidentally ingested.

Portable listening devices and noise-induced hearing loss

The AMA voted to advocate for labeling on earbuds that do not have amplitude limiters to warn of the risk of hearing loss with extended use at high volume levels for extended periods.

Compensation for pre-authorization requests

In an effort to reduce unnecessary administrative and related financial burdens, the AMA voted to petition CMS that CPT code 99080 be reimbursed by Medicare.

Physicians at the meeting also:

  • Sought to boost affordability and competition in ACA marketplaces
  • Adopted policy that puts organizational muster behind achieving health equity in the U.S. health system
  • Agreed upon common-sense gun safety measures
  • Committed to integrating precision medicine into alternative payment models
  • Declared that drug shortages are a matter of national security.

The next meeting of the AMA HOD is scheduled for November 10-13, 2018, at National Harbor, MD. With questions regarding this report and other AMA HOD activities, please contact

More from October 2018 – Vol. 38, No. 9