Advocacy in Action: Report of the AMA House of Delegates Special Meeting
The American Medical Association (AMA) held a virtual Special Meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD) from November 13-17, 2020, notably led by Speaker of the House, Bruce A. Scott, MD, an otolaryngologist.
Douglas R. Myers, MD, Chair of the AAO-HNS Delegation to the AMA House of Delegates; and Craig S. Derkay, MD, AAO-HNS Delegate to the AMA House of Delegates
The American Medical Association (AMA) held a virtual Special Meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD) from November 13-17, 2020, notably led by Speaker of the House, Bruce A. Scott, MD, an otolaryngologist. The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) was represented by Douglas R. Myers, MD, Delegation and Otolaryngology Section Council Chair; Craig S. Derkay, MD, Delegate; Susan D. McCammon, MD, Delegate; and James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS Executive Vice President and CEO, as Alternate Delegate. Due to the limitations inherent in conducting deliberations in a virtual environment, the resolutions submitted by the various delegations were screened by an appointed panel and selected for consideration on the basis of urgency. Three of the issues considered relevant to our specialty are highlighted below.
COVID-19 Federal Stimulus ProgramsFederal financial relief for practices affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has been primarily directed to healthcare systems with minimal payments to physicians. Physician practices with few Medicare patients have received little or no assistance. The HOD passed policy, which was supported by the Academy, that calls on the AMA to advocate for the renewal and expansion of the Medicare Advance Payment Program, CARES Act, and Paycheck Protection Program, with increased payments for physicians, reduced interest rates, and lengthened repayment periods.
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act waived certain Medicare telehealth payment requirements. The HOD passed policy, which was supported by the Academy, that calls for the AMA to facilitate the continuation of the current telehealth regulations post SARS-COV-2 in all locations, including patients’ homes, and to advocate for continuing equitable payment for those services.
Insurance companies with limited office hours inhibit patient care when preauthorization for urgent or emergent procedures is required at night or on weekends. The HOD passed policy, which was supported by the Academy, that calls for the AMA to advocate for all insurance companies that require preauthorization to maintain personnel on duty at all hours to process preauthorization requests.
The next meeting of the AMA HOD is scheduled to be held in Chicago, Illinois, in June. However, as the pandemic continues to affect in-person meeting attendance, this is subject to change.