After two years of special virtual meetings, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates met in person for its Annual Meeting on June 10–15, 2022. Over 3,000 delegates, staff and guests attended the meeting in Chicago. Following two years of narrowly focused resolutions to adapt to the virtual setting, the in-person meeting allowed for debate of backlogged resolutions, including an ACR-led resolution on Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) policy processes (Resolution 254).
The opening session kicked off on Friday, June 10, with a reflection from AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, on the AMA’s progress in its 175-year history and its response to the pandemic. Following a celebration of AMA’s history, AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, unveiled a recovery plan for American physicians that includes improving prior authorization, supporting telehealth, reducing physician burnout and reforming Medicare reimbursement.
Working with Partners to Advance Rheumatology Issues
Following the opening session, reference committees heard testimony on various resolutions, including two resolutions co-led by the ACR: Resolution 223 on drug shortages of saline, lidocaine and iodinated contrast media and Resolution 519 on funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).
Led with colleagues at the American Academy of Dermatology, Resolution 223 called on the AMA to work with national specialties and other stakeholders to advocate that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) take immediate action to alleviate the shortage of lidocaine, saline and iodinated contrast media.
Resolution 519, co-led with the Association for Clinical Oncology, called for the AMA to advocate that Congress and the Biden administration provide robust baseline funding increases for ARPA-H as well as to other research institutions and centers, including the National Institutes of Health.
Both resolutions were adopted by the full House of Delegates and are now implemented into policy of the AMA.
ACR Leads Resolution on MAC Policy Processes
In recent years, the ACR and other organizations in the rheumatology community, along with other specialty societies, have voiced deep concerns regarding the lack of transparent policies in the development of local coverage determinations (LCDs) and the inappropriate use of Local Coverage Articles (LCAs) to advance policy and impact access rather than simply to correct technical discrepancies or provide billing instructions. Considering these concerns, the ACR authored Resolution 254, titled Stakeholder Engagement in Medicare Administrative Contractor Policy Processes. The resolution was first introduced at the AMA’s virtual Interim Meeting in November 2021, and language was adopted during this June Annual Meeting to include the following actions: