MMS Physicians Adopt Policy on Payment Reform, Health Care Spending, Preauthorization, Physician Recruitment, Bullying, Tobacco, and Gambling

Amid spirited debate, the MMS House of Delegates adopted several new policies Saturday, including the following:

  • To advocate for multiple, innovative approaches to health care financing in any payment reform legislation;
  • To develop and offer training for health care providers aimed at preventing self-harm, suicide, and disability arising from bullying. Delegates acknowledged the special need for such training with regard to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • To join like-minded organizations in advocating for the removal of tobacco products and tobacco advertising from locations near cash-registers and counters in retail establishments;
  • To educate about the potentially adverse public health effects of gambling, and to advocate for revenues dedicated to addiction treatment if casino gambling moves forward in Massachusetts;
  • To ask the AMA Council on Science and Public Health to develop policy on the use of full-body airport scanners;
  • To take the position that preauthorization decision-making regarding medically necessary services and treatments is the de facto “practice of medicine,” and that such decision-makers are liable for bad outcomes and subject to malpractice actions;
  • To adopt principles for health care expenditures that include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • A committee of physicians, Massachusetts residents, and others to make conflict-free, transparent recommendations about how health-care dollars should be spent
    • Frequent reviews of aforementioned recommendations
    • Malpractice reform to promote adoption of guideline recommendations
  • To improve recruitment and retention of physicians in Massachusetts, especially primary care doctors, by exploring the expansion of student loan repayment programs.
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