The five-day policy-making meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) concluded business recently after virtually gathering physicians and medical students from all corners of the nation to shape the AMA’s health care agenda.
One important item of business for delegates was the future of telemedicine. Delegates adopted policy directing the AMA to continue it advocacy work with legislators and regulators who have an important opportunity to codify coverage, access, and payment policies that support telehealth advancements throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The new AMA policy states:
RESOLVED, That our AMA continue to advocate for the widespread adoption of telehealth services in the practice of medicine for physicians and physician-led teams post SARS-COV-2); and be it further
RESOLVED, That our AMA advocate that the Federal government, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other agencies, state governments and state agencies, and the health insurance industry, adopt clear and uniform laws, rules, regulations, and policies relating to telehealth services that:
1. provide equitable coverage that allows patients to access telehealth services wherever they are located;
2. provide for the use of accessible devices and technologies, with appropriate privacy and security protections, for connecting physicians and patients (New HOD Policy); and be it further;
RESOLVED, That our AMA advocate for equitable access to telehealth services, especially for at-risk and under-resourced patient populations and communities, including but not limited to supporting increased funding and planning for telehealth infrastructure such as broadband and internet-connected devices for both physician practices and patients.
RESOLVED, that our AMA support the use of telehealth to reduce health disparities and promote access to health care.
The adoption of the AMA’s new telehealth policy coincides with the appearance of a new physician survey on telehealth issued by the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. The survey’s topline findings show strong support for telehealth:
The survey also found barriers and challenges still exist and/or are anticipated beyond the pandemic.
Source: American Medical Association