PAMED Leaders Join Together at 2019 House of Delegates to Advance Health Care in Pa.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2019

HOD-2019Physician and medical student delegates gathered for the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s House of Delegates (PAMED-HOD) meeting held in Hershey, Pa. on Oct. 25-27, 2019.

The 279 delegates in attendance represented counties, specialties, and member sections and participated in robust debate on a wide range of issues – including prior authorization, marijuana use, and restrictive covenants in physician contracts.

Here's a look at some of the resolutions that delegates either adopted or directed PAMED's Board to study further. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. Information on the disposition of the resolutions addressed at the 2019 HOD are available online at www.pamedsoc.org/HOD.

Public Health & Education

Delegates addressed many of the public health concerns facing Pennsylvania and the nation, including the health effects of vaping and recreational marijuana use:

  • Recreational Marijuana – PAMED will oppose the use of recreational marijuana/cannabis, support decriminalization, and coordinate with medical specialty partners to educate the public on the drug’s effects.
  • Medical Marijuana – We will work with stakeholders to review the list of medical conditions that can be treated by the state’s medical marijuana program and, when potential for harm or no benefit exists, will petition to have those conditions removed from the list.
  • Screening for HPV-Related Anal Cancer – PAMED will support efforts to implement screening for anal cancer with anal Pap test and/or HPV testing for high risk populations and support the development of screening guidelines.
  • Safe Consumption Facilities – We will endorse the opening of an independently funded and studied pilot trial of a comprehensive illicit drug user engagement site, including a safer injection facility.
  • Graduate Medical Education (GME) Child Care Programs – We will support GME programs’ implementation of accommodative child care policies and flexible working environments.
  • E-Cigarette Use – PAMED will advance legislation to require Pa. sellers and makers of vaping products to inform users about the risks of illness and death and to prohibit the sale of vaping products to minors.

Practice Issues & Reimbursement

Some insurer practices like prior authorization are an impediment to the physician-patient relationship. Delegates addressed insurer, health technology, and reimbursement issues:

  • Prior Authorization Relief – PAMED will continue our efforts to reform the prior authorization process. We aim to eliminate patient care delays as well as the administrative burdens associated with prior authorization. Get details on our advocacy initiative here.
  • Physician Communications with Emergency Departments – We will look to work with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania to streamline data exchange between physicians and emergency departments. We will explore data integration and sharing opportunities.
  • Single-Payer Health Care – PAMED believes that health system reform proposals that unfairly concentrate the market power of payers are detrimental to patients and physicians, if patient freedom of choice or physician ability to select mode of practice is limited or denied. We will oppose single-payer systems that fall within such as definition. PAMED supports a pluralistic health care system.
  • Improving Health of Medicaid Patients – PAMED will advocate with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and with state agencies to seek further study of financial incentive programs to address issues such as obesity and their effectiveness in encouraging healthy behavior among Medicaid beneficiaries.

Health Care Legislation & Regulations

Physician and medical student delegates examined some of the legislative and regulatory burdens that impact patient care:

  • Wireless Devices and Cell Tower Safety – PAMED will oppose legislation that blocks the public’s right to guard safety and health regarding cell tower placement and will provide ways to reduce radiation exposure from wireless devices.
  • Restrictive Covenants – PAMED believes that restrictive clauses interfere with the ability of patients to have access to their physician. We will actively seek to create state and national coalitions to address restrictive covenants.
  • Physician Wellness – We will oppose legislation that calls for burdensome regulatory, legislative, and insurance mandates and requirements.
  • Patient Test Result Law (Act 112) –This state law requires entities performing a diagnostic imaging service to directly notify the patient or patient’s designee when, in the judgment of the entity performing the test, a significant abnormality may exist. PAMED will work with specialty organizations to amend the law to consider the need for clarity, clinical relevance, and what is in the best interest of patients. Get details on the law at www.pamedsoc.org/Act112.
  • Energy Drinks – We will advocate for a state ban on the sale of energy drinks to children younger than 18 and advocate for education on the potential risks associated with energy drinks.
  • Physician Communication with Pa. Department of Health (DOH) on Regulatory Issues – PAMED will advocate for DOH to adopt policies that would include the participation of a DOH physician when physicians contact DOH to share their concerns about regulatory issues and disputes.
  • E-Prescribing Law – PAMED will look for ways to seek legislative relief for physicians concerning the state’s law on e-prescribing of controlled substances. Learn more about the law at www.pamedsoc.org/Act96.

PAMED Membership & Bylaws

The delegates approved recommendations concerning the rules and operations governing PAMED’s Board of Trustees and the PAMED’s House of Delegates. Additionally, they approved actions such as providing member updates concerning any litigation against the American Board of Medical Specialties’ member boards regarding Maintenance of Certification.

Thank You to the 2019 HOD Delegates and Attendees!

We thank the many physicians, medical students, and guests who participated in this year’s meeting. Your commitment to Pennsylvania health care and to your patients made the event a success.

Information on the disposition of the 2019 resolutions is available at www.pamedsoc.org/HOD.

The 2020 House of Delegates meeting will be held in Hershey on Oct. 23-25. We hope to see you there!

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