AMA Follow-Up

Author: 
Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD
Article Type: 
Correspondence
Issue: 
May/June 1998
Volume Number: 
3
Issue Number: 
3

Dear Dr. Orient,

As you know, AMA Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Dr. Thomas Reardon, has come out swinging lately (probably in an attempt to distract from the fact that a resolution has been submitted by the AMA House of Delegates calling for his resignation over the Sunbeam fiasco) against “unfounded hassling of physicians by any branch of government, any time, any place” (“Let’s have zero tolerance for government hassling,” AMNews Nov. 24, 1997). I keep trying to reconcile this with other things like the new HCFA-AMA liaison to bring us the atrocious and intrusive new Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management Services.

In 1988, the AMA published a “Reference Guide to Policy & Official Statements.” I called the AMA today to see if there is a new or revised version, and they indicated that there was not. The edition I have, therefore, is apparently the latest edition.

Turning to the section on Uncompensated Care, something which all of us seem to be providing more and more of these days, we find the following: To expect a physician in the context of his medical practice to administer governmental priorities in the allocation of scarce health resources is to create a conflict with the physician’s primary responsibility to his patients that would be socially undesirable.

It sounds to me as though the AMA is saying that physicians shouldn’t be administering the government’s Medicare program via all of its highly restrictive, burdensome, clinically harmful, and often downright ludicrous rules and regulations which serve no useful purpose other than to interfere in the practice of medicine and to increase the costs of providing medical care to the government’s “beneficiaries” (oxymoron). Yet, it is the AMA in collaboration with HCFA that is bringing us the most complex, detailed and intrusive requirements for documentation of medical services that have ever existed.

These new E & M documentation requirements have absolutely nothing to do with assuring quality medical care. They represent nothing more than another highly effective weapon that government bureaucrats can use against physicians to recoup more money from physicians to bolster the financially doomed Medicare Program.

This is akin to a soldier loading a weapon and handing it to his sworn enemy, handle and trigger first.

We presume the AMA leadership, however, secure in their salaried positions, will conveniently step aside while the enemy uses the AMA’s own members for target practice. As individual physicians in the field fall one by one, I can hear the AMA leadership singing the second verse of “You are my Sunbeam...my only l Sunbeam,...you make me happy when skies are gray,...you’ll never know docs, how much we love you...We’re so sorry HCFA blew you away!

Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD
Jamestown, NY

Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1998;3(3):69. Copyright © 1998 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

 

 

 

 

No votes yet

It is now legend the AAPS legally lanced the secret task force and pulled its secrets...into the sunshine. It destoyed the Health Security Act.


The Oath of Hippocrates
and the Transformation of Medical Ethics Through Time


Patients within a managed care system have the illusion there exists a doctor-patient relationship...But in reality, it is the managers who decide how medical care will be given.


Judicial activism...the capricious rule of man rather than the just rule of law.


The largest single problem facing American medicine today is the actions of government...


The lessons of history sagaciously reveal wherever governments have sought to control medical care and medical practice...the results have been as perverse as they have been disastrous.


Children are the centerpiece of the family, the treasure (and renewal) of countless civilizations, but they should not be used flagrantly to advance political agendas...


Prejudice against gun ownership by ordinary citizens is pervasive in the public health community, even when they profess objectivity and integrity in their scientific research.


The infusion of tax free money into the MSA of the working poor give this population tax equity with wealthier persons...


It was when Congress started dabbling in constitutionally forbidden activities that deficit spending produced a national debt!


Does the AMA have a secret pact with HCFA?


The lure of socialism is that it tells the people there is nothing they cannot have and that all social evils will be redressed by the state.


Canada's fatal error — Health Care as a Right!


The Cancer Risk from Low Level Radiation: A Review of Recent Evidence...


...Moreover, the gun control researchers failed to consider and underestimated the protective benefits of firearms.


Vandals at the Gates of Medicine — Have They Been Repulsed or Are They Over the Top?