announces new TV ad campaign on patients' bill of rights
backs revised patients' rights bill
wants senator to vote for patients' rights
prompt pay survey shows physicians' discontent, names
MMS Web site emphasizes advocacy, personalization
Foundation helps sorority women deliver anti-smoking message
Alliance strives to stop America's violence everywhere
survey highlights drug trends, state estimates
asks your help in distributing organ donation survey
National Leadership Conference sets date
letters diskette streamlines the writing process
up: AMA to speak at White House news conference
1. All AMA announces new TV ad campaign on
patients' bill of rights
The AMA and the 67 patient, doctor and health care provider
organizations of the Patient Access Coalition, today announced
a television advertising campaign to urge the U.S. Senate to
pass a meaningful patients' bill of rights that protects
patients from health plan abuses.
Dr. Lewers said the ad will remind voters that even though
more than 80 percent of Americans say it's time for Congress
to pass a real patients' bill of rights, the insurance
industry is spending $100 million to kill the legislation.
"We are within one vote of victory in the Senate," said AMA
Board Chair D.
Ted Lewers, MD. "Time is running short and the Senate
needs to put patients first and give them the protections they
need and deserve."
"Tell your senators to stand up for patients and let
America's doctors make your health care decisions -- not HMO
bureaucrats," the ad proclaims.
The ads will run during CNN's "Inside Politics", "Larry
King Live" and "Crossfire"; CBS's "Face the Nation"; ABC's
"This Week with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts"; Fox, MSNBC
and CNBC news programs.
The ad, which begins airing tomorrow, Sept. 14, asks
patients to call 1 (800) 833-6354 and urge their Senators to
support strong patient protections.
2. AMA backs revised patients' rights
The AMA is backing a revised version of the bipartisan
patients' rights legislation passed by the House last year.
The revised legislation is an attempt to overcome stalled
conference committee negotiations that aimed to reconcile the
House's strong patients' rights legislation with the Senate's
"HMO protection act."
The revised bill still would cover all patients under
private health insurance -- more than three times as many as
would be covered by the Senate bill.
"The AMA strongly supports the revised version of the
bipartisan patients' bill of rights," AMA Board Chair D. Ted
Lewers, MD, told The New York Times. "It covers all
Americans and holds health plans accountable for actions that
3. AMA wants senator to vote for patients'
The AMA National House Call urged Pennsylvania voters to
tell Sen. Rick Santorum to vote for a real patients' bill of
rights and not another HMO protection act. AMA President-elect
Corlin, MD, and Carol E. Rose, MD, president-elect of the
Pennsylvania Medical Society, challenged Sen. Santorum to buck
the insurance industry's $100 million campaign to kill
meaningful patient protections.
"Senator [Arlen] Specter has courageously voted for a real
patients' bill of rights. Thus far, Senator Rick Santorum has
not," states an AMA
advertorial that ran in newspapers in Philadelphia,
Scranton, Allentown, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.
The advertorial's headline asks "What are HMOs so afraid
of?" The body of the ad explains: "The answer is simple. . .
some health insurance executives take home $10 million a year.
And they certainly don't want a $100 test to get in the way."
This was the National House Call's first visit to
In other National House Call news, a Sept.
10 editorial in the Detroit Free Press urged
Michigan Sen. Spencer Abraham "to side with public, instead of
party leaders and insurers." The editorial remarks that Sen.
Abraham can be the "the key vote to getting [the
Norwood-Dingell patients' bill of rights] passed, but only if
he's willing to stand up for the people he represents."
4. MSNJ prompt pay survey shows physicians'
discontent, names names
Eighty-three percent of New Jersey physicians said they
have experienced excessive delays by HMOs in processing
claims, according to a survey published in the September issue
of New Jersey Medicine -- the health policy journal of
the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ). The study was
conducted immediately prior to a New Jersey prompt pay law
"Before this survey, any information provided by doctors on
the efficiency of HMO reimbursement was considered hearsay or
subjective," said Walter Kahn, MD, MSNJ president. "This
survey validates the concerns and dilemmas facing physicians
and proves that some HMOs have been more efficient in payment
methods than others."
According to the survey, "35 percent of responding
physician practices experienced payment delays across all HMOs
of greater than 30 days when filing electronically, while only
50 percent of those who filed manually were paid within the
time frame stipulated by the new prompt payment law." The law
stipulates HMOs must pay electronic claims within 30 days and
manual claims within 40 days.
MSNJ believes that survey results will act as a baseline to
gauge future payment performance.
The study cites Aetna, AmeriHealth, Cigna, PHS and Prucare
for routinely exceeding 40 days for payment of manual
submissions. Cigna and AmeriHealth were named for leaving the
average manual Medicare submission payments more than 50 days
PHS, Horizon, AmeriHealth, and Prucare were cited by the
MSNJ survey as significantly negligent for paying interest on
delayed claims. Despite repeated requests from New Jersey
Medicine, only Aetna issued a brief statement regarding its
AMA President Randolph
D. Smoak, Jr., MD, applauded MSNJ's success in "collecting
data that proves health insurers are consistently delaying
payments to physicians."
The survey also was accompanied by an editorial from N.J.
Governor Christine Whitman, who said that "delays in payments,
unreasonable bureaucratic hurdles, and other process issues
are unfair to everyone and can even impede the delivery of
the study on the MSNJ Web site
For additional information, e-mail MSNJ's Neil Weisfeld or phone
(609) 896-1766. For more information on the AMA's prompt pay
initiatives, e-mail Matthew Katz or
phone (312) 464-5921.
5. New MMS Web site emphasizes advocacy,
The Massachusetts Medical
Society (MMS) launched its redesigned Web site with one
eye on membership and the other on advocacy. On the basis of
member surveys, analysis of usage patterns, focus group
results and expertise from an independent vendor, MMS
determined that members were most interested in the society's
advocacy efforts and what they mean to MMS members.
"We recognized that members increasingly want to interact
with the society, but they want to do it online," said Frank
Fortin, MMS communications director. "We're featuring advocacy
because it's the most visited area on the MMS Web."
The advocacy section includes MMS position statements,
testimony and public health initiatives.
MMS began the technical aspects of the redesign process in
April but recognized the need more than a year ago, when a
phone survey revealed that more than 90 percent of MMS members
said they had access to the Internet. As a result, MMS is
giving its members the ability to personalize their MMS
members-only Web page.
Through the "Recommended Sites" section, MMS members can
post their favorite Web sites for their patients and peers.
"We want the site to be as flexible as possible to the
needs of physicians and patients," said Fortin.
Existing sites for the New England Journal of
Medicine and member publication, Vital Signs, will
continue as separate pop-up windows.
For more information, e-mail Fortin or phone (781)
6. Chest Foundation helps sorority women
deliver anti-smoking message
The philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest
Physicians (ACCP), The Chest Foundation, recently joined with
the National Panhellenic Conference to create a pilot program
that will train sorority women from five college campuses as
The Centers for Disease Control report that more than a
third of high school girls smoke, and that women under the age
of 24 have a more difficult time quitting smoking than men.
The Chest Foundation program will feature the "Women and
Girls, Tobacco, and Lung Cancer Speakers Kit" to give
on-campus presentations covering the health risks, history and
public policy discussions concerning tobacco. The program also
will survey women on the five campuses, and will compare the
data from a survey of five non-program campuses to determine
the program's effectiveness.
For more information, visit the ACCP
Task Force on Women and Girls, Tobacco, and Lung Cancer Web
site and e-mail ACCP's Marilyn Lederer
7. VMS joins Medem
The Vermont Medical Society (VMS) this week announced it
has joined Medem*, the e-health network founded by
leading medical specialty societies and the AMA.
VMS is the third state medical society to partner with
Medem this summer, and the 13th society in the last year.
Medem anticipates several other societies joining the Medem
network in the coming months.
"We are thrilled about joining the nation's premier
physician-patient network," said John T. Chard, MD, VMS
president. "Our partnership with Medem will give Vermont
physicians important new tools to build on their trusted
relationships with patients."
For more information, e-mail VMS's Betsy Cody or phone (802)
8. AMA Alliance strives to stop America's
This week's Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) report demonstrated how the media
and entertainment industry targets its products at children,
and underscores the need for parents and educators to provide
kids with positive, non-violent alternatives. The AMA Alliance's Stop
America's Violence Everywhere (SAVE) campaign emphasizes
conflict resolution, personal responsibility and self-esteem.
The Alliance currently is working in 600 communities on
programs with schools and public leaders to provide children
with safe, supervised activities.
"This year's 'I Can Stop Violence' campaign is the
foundation of an effective outreach program that teaches
children the steps in identifying conflicts, communicating
feelings appropriately and resolving situations through
non-violent means," said Susan Paddack, AMA Alliance
The FTC found children under 17 were targeted in:
- 80 percent of R-rated movies studied by the FTC;
- 70 percent of "mature"-rated video games; and
- 100 percent of music recordings with explicit-content
In testimony this morning before Congress, FTC Chairman
Robert Pitofsky noted that "studies indicate that there is
some correlation between exposure to violent materials and
aggressive attitudes and insensitivity to violence . . . the
question is: What is to be done?"
To learn more about how the AMA Alliance can help bring its
anti-violence efforts to your community, e-mail Catherine
Potts or phone (312) 464-4474.
9. National survey highlights drug trends,
Public health policy makers now will find it easier to
compare, develop and revise prevention and treatment
strategies for their state's illicit drug, alcohol and
cigarette use. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services'
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
recently released information from the 1999
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA)
The expanded Household Survey, which recorded information
from more than 70,000 people, marks the first time that the
report provides estimates that can be compared across states
and the District of Columbia.
The national data showed 14.8 million Americans were
current users of illicit drugs in 1999 -- meaning they used an
illicit drug at least once during the 30 days prior to the
interview. By comparison, the number of current illicit drug
users was at its highest level in 1979 when the estimate was
The survey also reported an estimated 57 million Americans
as having smoked cigarettes in 1999. Among youths, three
brands accounted for most of the use:
- 54.5 percent of current smokers 12 to 17 years of age
report Marlboro as their usual brand;
- 21.6 percent of youth smokers used the Newport brand;
- 9.8 percent smoked the Camel brand. No other cigarette
brand was reported by even 2 percent of youths.
The report also found race/ethnicity differences for youth
- 58.4 percent of white smokers and 59. 7 percent of
Hispanic youths smoked Marboros;
- 73.9 percent of black adolescent smokers reported
Newport as their usual brand.
Additionally, the survey highlights trends in alcohol use
and substance use prevalence; new use of substances including
cigarettes, cigars, marijuana, heroin and prescription-type
pain relievers (for non-medical use); and prevention-related
and substance dependence and treatment data.
the state-by-state analysis in the survey
10. AMA asks your help in distributing organ
To assist the AMA in its efforts to educate physicians and
patients about organ donation, the AMA Organ Donation Program
has developed a short survey to help it understand how organ
donation is perceived from a patient's and a physician's
perspective. The AMA encourages its Federation partners to
share the survey with their members.
"We also have an extensive FAQ
Web page to clear up some of the myths and provide
reliable information for those who have questions about organ
donation," said Priscilla Short, who directs the AMA's organ
For more information, e-mail the organ donation
11. 2001 National Leadership Conference sets
The 2001 National Leadership Conference (NLC) -- formerly
the National Leadership Development Conference -- will take
place March 3-6 in Washington, D.C. A highlight of this
meeting will be the first presentation of the AMA's Pride in
the Profession Awards.
Registration fees will remain the same as this year. For
AMA Members, Alliance and Federation representatives, early
registration costs $400; after January 15, registration will
For unified societies and medical societies with fewer than
500 members, early registration costs $290, after Jan. 15, it
will cost $360.
Students and resident physicians can register for $75.
The themes, speakers and other details for the 2001 NLC
currently are under discussion.
For more information, e-mail the AMA's Rose
Wietrzykowski or phone (312) 464-4325.
12. Sample letters diskette streamlines the
The AMA's "Handbook of Physician Office Letters" offers
more than 175 sample letters on diskette that provide
blueprints for content, tone and format of important
correspondence. The sample letters include common
correspondence with patients, insurance companies, lawyers and
The handbook costs $60. To order, call (800) 621-8335 or
visit the AMA
Physician Catalog Web site and go to the "Managed Care
Resources" category under the AMA Book and Product Catalog.
13. Heads up: AMA to speak at White House
AMA Executive Vice President E.
Ratcliffe Anderson Jr., MD, tomorrow will emphasize the
need for a real patients' bill of rights at a news conference
with President Bill Clinton and Ron Pollack, the chief
executive of Families USA. The news conference is scheduled to
begin at 12:15 p.m., ET.
*This link will take you off the American
Medical Association Web site and will take you to a Web site
maintained by Medem, an e-health network founded by the AMA
and other leading medical societies.
External links to Web sites and e-mail addresses are
offered to provide readers with additional sources of news and
information. The AMA is not responsible for the content
contained in these external sources.
If you have any questions regarding this newsletter please
Blaney-Koen or call (312) 464-4415.