Bobby Mukkamala, MD, Immediate Past Chair of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees and former President of the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) provided an overview of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians during MSMS’ July 11th Board of Directors Health Care Delivery Committee meeting. The Recovery Plan outlines a five-point strategy to strengthen the physician workforce, recover from the trauma of the pandemic, and improve health care delivery. The Plan includes:
- Supporting telehealth to maintain gains in coverage and payment – The AMA is advocating to make pandemic telehealth changes permanent.
- Reforming Medicare payments to promote thriving physician practices and innovation – Medicare payments are stagnant and not keeping up with inflation. In 2023, physicians are facing a negative 4.4 percent update. The AMA is looking for a permanent solution that offers fewer administrative burdens and financial stability for all practices.
- Stopping scope creep that threatens patient safety – Fighting and defeating scope expansion efforts is a priority. AMA messaging stresses that people deserve physician-led team-based care. Also, included on the AMA’s legislative agenda is transparency of credentials and truth-in-advertising.
- Fixing prior authorization to reduce the burden on practices and minimize dangerous care delays for patients – The AMA is using Michigan’s and other states’ successes in addressing prior authorization (PA) reform to help advance change at the federal level. The data continues to show PA delays care and increases administrative burdens. Legislation, Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, as well as proposed rules are currently being considered at the federal level.
- Reducing physician burnout and addressing the stigma around mental health – There is a need to eliminate stigma related to burnout and mental health concerns. The AMA is taking a multi-pronged approach including committing to reduce moral injury, advocating to improve electronic health records and reduce administrative hassles, creating education and tools, and collaborating with state medical societies and health systems to accelerate the spread of evidence-based solutions. Additionally, the AMA successfully advocated for the passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act at the federal level. This Act bolsters the mental health infrastructure supporting physicians and other health professionals by establishing: (1) Grants for health professionals to help create evidence-based strategies to reduce burnout and the associated secondary mental health conditions related to job stress. (2) A national campaign to encourage health professionals to prioritize their mental health and to use available mental and behavioral health services. (3) Grants for employee education and peer-support programming.
The MSMS team is pleased to report that each of these important items align with our advocacy work here in Michigan. On the telehealth front, MSMS has worked to draft House Bill 4131 (Liberati) which implements reimbursement parity between in person and telehealth patient visits. In the Medicare space we have been working with the AMA on sustainable reforms to Medicare reimbursement. Defending scope of practice has been and will continue to be the leading policy fight for MSMS. We are actively fighting Senate Bill 279 (Irwin) which allows nurse practitioners to practice independently. On the positive side of the scope battle, MSMS drafted House Bill 4472 (Farhat) which protects patients by requiring physicians to lead our health care teams under state law. Additionally, prior authorization reform has been signed into law here in Michigan. The reforms took effect on June 1, 2023. You can read more here on the Michigan prior authorization law. Finally, at MSMS we have seen firsthand the impacts of physician burnout, to help address this devastating problem we worked to form a partnership with SafeHaven, which is an organization formed in 2020 to address physician wellness and combat burnout.
Visit the AMA’s Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians website to learn more about the initiative.