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CMS Physicians Major Players at House of Delegates Meeting

Relaying the concerns of all physicians in Cook County, your CMS colleagues actively shaped new policies emerging from the annual meeting of the ISMS House of Delegates.

With nearly 60 resolutions on the agenda, the Cook County delegation sponsored 19, along with several resolutions held over from 2010 Annual Meeting that were assigned for further study. 

Resolutions from the Cook County delegation demonstrated a strong commitment to public health.  Indeed, the House adopted measures to support bans on the sale of hallucinogenic bath salts and caffeinated alcoholic drinks, and to educate physicians about the dangers of “energy drinks.”  Other CMS resolutions were aimed at protecting individuals under 18 from the harmful effects of indoor tanning, and requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts.  They easily won adoption by the House.

Cook County paves way for consensus

Resolutions this year generally reflected the changes in health care delivery and uncertain economic times facing physicians and organized medicine. 
Many voices weighed in on controversial issues, such as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” individual mandates to purchase health insurance, and accountable care organizations (ACOs)

With the ISMS House poised to vote on a resolution urging repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Cook County caucus helped build consensus around an amendment to work with the Illinois Congressional delegation to reshape the Act so it more closely reflects ISMS principles on health system reform.  The amended resolution directs the ISMS delegation to the AMA to work with the AMA to revise the PPACA.

CMS physicians also urged “referral” of the resolution “Reinstatement of the ‘Sorry Works’ Program,” which would require further study of the issues before a position is reached. The Cook County delegation requested that new concepts in patient safety and transparency, as described by CMS member Timothy McDonald, MD, JD, be incorporated into existing ISMS policy.  The House, too, agreed ISMS should give the Sorry Works program a fresh look.  Dr. McDonald’s lecture on “The Seven Pillars Approach” was one of several CME sessions offered during the House meeting that addressed the changing healthcare landscape.

A resolution from another county asked ISMS and AMA to oppose federal or state imposition of individual mandates to purchase health insurance.  But the House reaffirmed existing policy in favor of requiring individuals who earn more than 500% of the federal poverty level to acquire health insurance.   However, the House adopted a substitute resolution to request the Illinois General Assembly to write legislation that requires Illinois to offer health savings accounts as an option to all state employees and non-Medicare state retirees.

On the medical liability reform front, the House adopted policy to support federal medical liability reforms similar to and including those proposed in the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare” (HEALTH) Act, currently before Congress.  The Illinois Delegation to the AMA was instructed to continue to support and promote similar federal medical liability reforms at the national level.

Delegates expressed strong concern that ACOs would profoundly affect the medical profession.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued proposed rules on March 31, with a 60-day comment period.  It remains unclear how ACOs will actually be formed and what the exact impact on physician-hospital relationships will be.  Thus, the House approved a resolution requesting ISMS to study and educate members about contractual aspects, legal consequences, quality of care implications, and logistical impact of ACOs.

The House adopted a resolution to urge Governor Quinn and the state legislature to avoid budget cuts that would compromise care provided by safety net hospitals.  In outlining the potential harm to the Medicaid/uninsured population, ISMS will encourage all physicians to recruit their patients as allies in efforts to oppose cuts in Medicaid funding for safety net hospitals. 

The House also approved several resolutions that were to be submitted to the AMA’s House of Delegates, scheduled for June 18-22, 2011, in Chicago.

For a complete inventory of 2011 resolutions and their current status, visit www.isms.org and click on “Resolution Status Report” in the Member’s Center.

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