Old perceptions die hard. And it is remarkable to me how we’ll still see articles from time to time, including in the mainstream press, about how the AMA opposed Medicare in the 1960s. Give me break!! Seventy years ago? Come on. The AMA has become a substantially different organization over the last decade or so. We embraced and even led the fight to cover the uninsured in the mid-2000s. We were champions of that. And while I was on the Council on Medical Service, our internal policy think tank, were being adopted by both Democratic and Republican legislatures and legislators. And we supported the ACA [Affordable Care Act], not because it was perfect or flawless, but because it gave us the first structural approach to expanding Medicare and Medicaid. And we’ve opposed wholesale proposals for wholesale cuts in expansion to coverage. So anyone who takes a look at our policies over the last ten years, and says we’re not interested in expanding coverage, is consciously disregarding the truth.
Can you speak to the AMA’s desire to help physicians change their practices in order to move forward towards the requirements of the emerging healthcare delivery and payment system?
The answer is unequivocally yes, we are very engaged in that regard. Five years ago, we changed our policies, including around ChangeMedEd. A second big arc is around improving health outcomes, and it is the boldest patient-facing activity the AMA’s ever been involved in, around increasing awareness and management of pre-diabetes and diabetes and heart disease and the opioid crisis; and the third, a whole arc around practice tools and resources to help inform physicians about changes in the industry, and demands from payers, and how physicians can be successful in transitioning to new models of care and payment.
And let me drill down on that, and this takes us back to MACRA. Specifically around MACRA, we have an interactive payment evaluator module, to help physicians assess their practices’ readiness for MACRA, we have the MIPS Action Kit, which is another suite of interactive modules that allow physicians to go beyond that first product, and dig deeper and be successful, it helps them choose which measures are most relevant to them in their practices, it’s very practical. And then there’s a video, just a few minutes long, that walks a physician, step by step in how they participate in this one-patient one-measure process, if they’re not ready to go full-bore into MIPS. We literally walk them through screenshots of the electronic bill, and that gives them breathing room for 2017. We’re providing physicians with lots of tools, and we will continue to do so going forward.