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Monday, April 26, 2010

STATES AND SPECIALTY SOCIETIES PLAN NEW ROLES IN WASHINGTON

In the first step toward beefing up our presence in Washington, D.C., TMA chief lobbyist Darren Whitehurst and I met in the capital with senior staff from the American Medical Association, nine state medical societies, and 11 national specialty societies. We worked on developing a unified strategy for addressing the many new regulations — and legislative follow-ups — that stem from the passage of the new health system reform law. Physician payment and measurements of quality are the underlying issues that will require extensive work. We spent a lot of time talking about the need to replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula for physician payment, the lack of liability protections in the new law, and the power of the new Independent Payment Advisory Board. The state societies were most worried about physician employment and how to make sure that hospitals don’t grab control of the patient-physician relationship in this new environment. The specialty societies’ biggest concern is the shortage of physicians needed to treat the influx of newly insured patients. I will keep you posted as this effort matures and grows.

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