13 policies adopted at the AMA annual meeting

The American Medical Association voted this week during its annual meeting to adopt several new policies on emerging issues in healthcare.

Here is a breakdown of 13 new policies voted on by physician and medical student leaders in the AMA House of Delegates.

1. Equal medical rights for transgender service members. Delegates voted there is no medical rationale to exclude transgenderindividuals from military service and transgender service members should receive the same standard of medical care as all other military service members.

2. Physician training to address human trafficking. New policy requires physicians to be trained in reporting cases of human trafficking and in helping provide medical, legal and social resources for victims of human trafficking.

3. Increased support for prescription drug monitoring programs. The AMA adopted policy to increase support for modern, state-funded, interoperable prescription drug monitoring programs that protect patient privacy, contain reliable clinical data and actionable information, integrate seamlessly into workflow and are accessible for a designated non-physician member of the care team. The policy encourages increased access to naloxone, which reverses opioid overdose, and increased access to multidisciplinary pain therapies and treatment programs for substance use disorders.

4. Medical student access to EHRs. The AMA voted to work with medical school accreditation groups to encourage medical schools, residencies and fellowships to incorporate EHR training and hands-on documentation experience for students in the exam room and at the bedside.

5. Expanded Graduate Medical Education funding. To support increasing medical residency numbers, the AMA adopted policy to continue efforts encouraging expanded federal, state, local and private GME funding. The AMA plans to specifically advocate for federal funding of the National Healthcare Workforce Commission.

6. More stringent limitations on immunization opt outs. AMA physicians adopted policy to endorse states in barring non-medical immunization exemptions, especially those based on personal beliefs.

7. Strengthened oversight of electronic cigarettes. The AMA voted to strengthen its support of the regulation of electronic cigarettes through laws that would make 21 the minimum age to buy e-cigarettes and refills, require liquid nicotine to be sold in child-resistant packaging and encourage strict enforcement of laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors.

8. Better data and price transparency. The AMA passed two policies that aim to address the lack of timely, actionable data with any context. The policies support increased access to meaningful information to improve health outcomes and establish a foundation for new care delivery and payment models. The policies encourage physicians to communicate cost information to patients and improve the transparency of cost information among payers, public and private institutions and other stakeholders.

9. Reduced risk of youth sports-related concussions. The AMA announced Tuesday it will adopt a policy addressing the need for prompt diagnosis of concussions and appropriate management plans to treat sports-related concussions. Under the new policy, the AMA encourages prohibiting young athletes with sustained concussions from returning to the sport without written consent from a physician. It also supports evidence-based, age-specific guidelines for healthcare professionals to evaluate and manage concussions.

10. Established guidelines for mobile medical apps. The AMA voted to develop and disseminate best practices for mobile medical apps for chronic disease management and patient engagement.

11. Increased public awareness of headphone injury. The AMA voted Tuesday in support of a policy to add warning labels to packaging of mobile devices that use headphones about the risk of injury while wearing headphones in both ears during outdoor activities such as biking or jogging.

12. Proper labeling for sunglasses. Physicians of the AMA approved a policy in support of sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection and calling for proper labeling of all sunglasses with the percentage of UVA and UVB blocked.

13. Called for two-year grace period following ICD-10. The AMA voted Tuesday in support of a two-year grace period on physician penalizations following the implementation of ICD-10 in October 2015 to mitigate complications that may arise from system malfunction or user error. 


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