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Nine Things to Think About in 2016

The AMA kicked off the new year with a compilation of issues healthcare providers should follow closely in the months ahead. Here’s a look at what the AMA has identified as nine issues to watch, and areas where the AMA has committed more resources.

1. Medicare reform. The passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act in 2015 paves the way for important payment reforms.

2. EHR meaningful use program. This controversial regulatory program is scheduled to move forward. The medical community immediately called on policymakers to challenge some of the rules and suggested program revisions.

3. Insurance mergers. The nation’s largest health insurers have proposed mergers. AMA physicians adopted a policy to stand against health insurance market consolidation that enhances health insurer market power, a trend they believe decreases health care access, quality and affordability.

4. Provider networks and balance billing. Insurer networks are expected to continue narrowing, and out-of-pocket expenses for insured patients will continue to increase. AMA will continue to work to protect patients’ access to care while preserving incentives for insurers to contract and physicians’ rights to fair payment.

5. Prescription drug abuse and addiction. The opioid overdose epidemic spurred the development of the AMA Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse

6. Graduate medical education (GME) funding and student debt relief. The AMA’s Save GME grassroots campaign will continue to urge Congress to maintain funding.

7. Prescription drug costs. The cost of prescription drugs has soared in recent years. A task force and an advocacy campaign are in the works to drive solutions and make prescription drugs more affordable.

8. Health data security. Threats to health data security mean that we need better protections for health information. The AMA is working with the federal government to ensure better protections for health information.

9. Telemedicine. Telemedicine will see more widespread use in the upcoming year. The AMA intends to advance initiatives that facilitate state licensure for telemedicine.

Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Adapted from the original press release.


[image by: Mario Klingemann]

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