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On Medicaid, the house voted to di-

rect AMA to work with state and special- ty medical societies to push for higher Medicaid payment rates for physicians and for expanding Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults, as authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Because the U.S. Su- preme Court ruled that states have the option of expanding Medicaid, the del- egates decided that AMA would push for expansion in a state only if the state’s medical society requests that it become involved.

Stop ICD-10, forever

After winning a one-year delay in the mandatory implementation of the ICD- 10 coding system, AMA delegates voted to “vigorously advocate” with the Cen- ters for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to make the change permanent. Austin colon and rectal surgeon Da- vid Fleeger, MD, past chair of the TMA Council on Practice Management Servic- es, said he is concerned about the time, cost, and “an inefficiency that goes on forever” if physicians are forced to use ICD-10 for coding and billing. “It’s the private practice doctor in small groups who’s going to have the biggest problem implementing ICD-10,” he said. Dr. Fleeger said medicine will find itself up against hospitals, health plans, and technology vendors that have in- vested much time and money into ICD- 10. “Those are opponents, and they are people with deep pockets,” he said. At TMA’s urging, AMA last year peti- tioned CMS to stop its plan to require

use of ICD-10 as the new standard for Medicare billing effective Oct. 1, 2013. CMS granted a one-year delay and now says physicians must use ICD-10 starting Oct. 1, 2014. (See “The Clock’s Ticking,” pages 37–40.)

Bring doctors to the Capitol At the June 2012 house meeting in Chi- cago, delegates adopted the Texas reso- lution to combine the interim meeting of the house with AMA’s National Advocacy Conference in the nation’s capital. The Texans, though, weren’t happy with the progress report the AMA Board of Trust- ees presented at the Honolulu meeting. That report listed numerous logistical obstacles to implementing the Texas plan. “We need to have staff or consultants be more creative to at least show us how it will work,” said Texas delegation Chair Lyle Thorstenson, MD. In response, the house directed AMA to organize a pilot combination meeting and also present a more complete study on the feasibility and logistics of reorganizing AMA’s meet- ing schedule.

Beaumont orthopedic surgeon David

Teuscher, MD, said the Texans appreci- ated the delegates’ continued support.

“American health care policy is made in D.C., not the AMA House of Delegates.” He said. “Essential to an effective grass- roots federal advocacy agenda is a sig- nificant presence of physician leaders in our nation’s capital.” Dr. Thorstenson said AMA member- ship will grow “with our legislative pres- ence in D.C. and a much stronger em- phasis on advocacy.”

Texans in action at meeting Former TMA President Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, continued her role in the spotlight as vice speaker of the AMA house. Medical student David Savage was speaker of the Medical Student Sec- tion House of Delegates. Texans serving on AMA councils include Drs. Clifford Moy (Long Range Planning and Devel- opment), Stephen Brotherton (Ethical and Judicial Affairs), Russell Kridel (Sci- ence and Public Health), and Lynne Kirk (Medical Education). A quartet of other Texas physicians played leadership roles in the meeting. San Antonio pathologist David Henkes, MD, served on the Reference Committee on Amendments to the AMA Constitu- tion and Bylaws; and Michelle Berger, MD, an ophthalmologist from Austin, was a member of the Reference Com- mittee on Legislation. Dallas psychiatrist Les Secrest, MD, served on the Commit- tee on Rules and Credentials, and Fort Worth pediatrician Gary Floyd, MD, was an assistant teller. Texas medical students continued to fill AMA’s leadership pipeline. Three third-year students won election as new Region 3 representatives to the AMA Medical Student Section. Abhinav Khanna from Baylor College of Medicine is a new delegate. University of Texas- Houston Medical School students Bill Doetsch and Alexandra Iacob are alter- nate delegates.

Other issues merit action Delegates addressed various other leg- islative, economic, public health, and medical education topics. The house:

David Teuscher, MD

Susan Rudd Bailey, MD

12 TEXAS MEDICINE January 2013

Clifford Moy, MD

Stephen Brotherton, MD

Russell Kridel, MD

Gary Floyd, MD

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