Major Successes at AMA
We are very please to inform you that, on your behalf, ACRO has made major progress on the issue of "self referral" at the recent AMA House of Delegates meeting in Orlando, Florida. Most radiation oncologists are acutely aware of the problems associated with "self referral" and the negative impact it has had upon our specialty. We previously performed a survey of our members that documents the changing patterns of care associated with its occurrence. ACRO has been working on an AMA Resolution for almost two years that we believe will lead to a remedy.
Thanks to the diligent efforts of our representatives to the AMA House of Delegates, Dennis Galinsky, MD, and Mohamed Khan, MD, PhD and other active ACRO members including Gregory Cotter MD, Paul Shilling, MD, Shilpen Patel, MD, and Shane Hopkins, MD on behalf of ACRO and all Radiation Oncologists, the AMA has finally taken a firm and favorable position on this critical issue.
(1) The AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) report supporting ACRO''s position on self referral was approved by the AMA House of Delegates. It means that there is now an AMA ethical report that we will be able to use with State and Federal officials. It is more significant than a regular AMA policy because is an ethical REPORT from CEJA. It will enable us to prevent other medical specialties from taking control of our practices and subsequently self-referring patients for profit to centers where they have ownership interests.
In particular, CEJA added this statement to their report: "In general, physicians should not refer patients to a health care facility that is outside their office practice and at which they do not directly provide care or services when they have a financial interest in that facility." It also dealt with the issue that responsibilities to patients come first over financial self interest in physician contractual relationships and referral arrangements.
ACRO fought long and hard on behalf of all Radiation Oncologists, and the rest of the "House of Medicine" was very supportive.
(2) A second resolution, written by Dr. Shane Hopkins, ACRO''s resident delegate to the Resident and Fellows Section of the AMA, was passed by all the residents and went to the full House of the AMA. It "asked that our AMA affirm that radiation therapy is not ancillary to any service, and that our AMA oppose any legal or other designation of radiation therapy as an ''in office ancillary service''." The House of Delegates referred this resolution to the AMA Board of Trustees for a decision. We fully expect that the AMA Board will support Radiation Oncology, but ACRO will be calling upon you to write to the AMA Board of Trustees to explain how you have been negatively impacted by this ancillary designation, to ensure its acceptance. ACRO, along with ACR, ASTRO, and other societies, also will be sending formal letters to the AMA Board of Trustees on this important issue.
We are very pleased with these major developments that were spearheaded by ACRO to protect your practice and quality of patient care in radiation oncology.
|Luois Munoz, MD, FACRO
|D. Jeffrey Demanes, MD, FACRO