Cheers and applause broke out at the Hershey Lodge on Oct. 23, 2016, as Pennsylvania physicians voted overwhelmingly in favor of a landmark Practice Options Initiative to create clinically integrated networks (CINs) for physicians in the state.
The message from Pennsylvania physicians from across the state at the Pennsylvania Medical Society's 2016 House of Delegates (PAMED-HOD) was resounding: Let's assist in providing physicians with practice options, which would in turn ensure patient access to quality care in Pennsylvania.
"As a delegate from Northampton County Medical Society, I feel privileged to vote for this historic resolution. Great job done by the PA Medical Society!" said Vasu Singh, MD, a family medicine physician from Bethlehem.
The Practice Options Initiative will create CINs as well as a Management Services Organization (MSO), and it is a direct response to the evolving health care delivery system which is moving rapidly toward value-based care. It will support all physicians by providing practice options and helping physicians maintain leadership and clinical autonomy. The initiative aims to help physicians succeed in MACRA and alternative payment models.
PAMED members who are interested in learning more about CINs or MSOs can contact Dennis Olmstead, PAMED's Senior Advisor of Health Economics and Policy, at KnowledgeCenter@pamedsoc.org or 855-PAMED4U (855-726-3348).
A LOOK AT OTHER IMPORTANT HEALTH CARE ISSUES ADDRESSED AT PAMED'S 2016 HOD
While the historic vote was one highlight of this year's HOD, physicians addressed many other significant health care issues at the HOD. Here's a look at just a few:
- Continue Efforts to Ensure a Fairer, Less Burdensome Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Process—The physicians at this year's HOD remained committed to addressing concerns with MOC and approved resolutions to:
- Petition the American Medical Association (AMA) to analyze the finances of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).
- Adopt a position favoring the acknowledgement of an alternative board, such as the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS).
- Address Pennsylvania's Opioid Abuse and Overdose Crisis—Physicians voted to:
- Support liability protection in administration of naloxone in schools and increase availability of opioid rescue medication and medication-assisted treatment.
- Work with statewide stakeholders and county medical societies to identify and remove existing barriers for Pennsylvania patients seeking addiction treatment.
- Advocate for More Consistent and Transparent Insurer Processes—PAMED will advocate for the standardization and transparency of processes among insurers for observation status, standardizing the development of clinical pathways, and ending retrospective payment denial of medically appropriate studies, procedures, and testing.
- Explore Legislation that Would Help Protect Physicians and Patients and Ensure Physicians' Clinical Autonomy—Resolutions approved by delegates at the HOD include:
- Ensuring fairness for physicians cleared of wrongdoing by their state licensing board.
- Actively preserving the ability of physicians to write prescriptions and oppose any mandate that requires all prescribing in Pennsylvania to be done electronically.
- Address Public Health Issues Affecting Patients in Pennsylvania—The delegates called on PAMED to address health care hot topics, such as:
- Eliminating barriers to children possessing and using sunscreen in schools.
- Opposing legislative interference with facilities that provide medically accepted standard of care reproductive services for women.
- Opposing tobacco usage in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- Exploring the health effects of fracking.
- Promoting Teen Health Week, which is Jan. 9 – 13, 2017.
Another notable change that emerged from the 2016 HOD is that the Young Physicians Section opted to undergo a name change to the Early Career Physicians Section, a decision which recognized changing demographics and the fact that individuals begin their medical careers at different ages.
HOD FEATURES INAUGURATION OF NEW PAMED PRESIDENT CHARLES CUTLER, MD, MACP
The HOD also featured an Oct. 22 inaugural event during which Charles Cutler, MD, MACP, an internal medicine specialist from Norristown, was sworn in as the 167th president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED). Read an excerpt from Dr. Cutler's speech here.
Several physicians were also elected to PAMED leadership positions at the HOD. Learn More here and here.
ANNUAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE TACKLES ISSUES LIKE VALUE-BASED CARE
The Annual Education Conference (AEC) component of this year's event served as a complement to the activities of the HOD. Sessions addressing roles and skills needed by physicians of the future, MACRA, and approaches to chronic pain management were well-attended and provided physicians with guidance on navigating the challenges they face in their daily practice. More than 200 physicians attended this year's AEC, taking advantage of the opportunity to earn up to 10 credits of CME per person.
Several physicians who attended the conference stopped by PAMED's CME exhibit table and took advantage of the chance to use the technology on hand to complete PAMED's existing online child abuse recognition and reporting training course, which meets the state's requirements for license renewal. The child abuse reporting training course is available online at www.pamedsoc.org/childabusecme.
Fourteen medical students participated in our first ever Health Care Topics Debate. The audience earned CME by judging the strength of arguments on the following topics:
- Should medical marijuana be legal in Pennsylvania?
- Should we eliminate the use of opioids to treat chronic, non-cancer pain?
- Should public funds focus more on understanding disease mechanisms or on social determinants?
Eighteen residents participated in the annual poster contest.
MORE PAMED RESOURCES
Find more information about these ongoing PAMED advocacy efforts related to issues discussed at the HOD on Oct. 21-23:
And, learn more about all of PAMED's advocacy efforts at www.pamedsoc.org/advocacy.
PAMED members with questions about advocacy initiatives can contact our Knowledge Center at 855-PAMED4U (855-726-3348) or KnowledgeCenter@pamedsoc.org.