Healthcare Business News
 AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara

AMA unveils five-year strategic plan

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: June 16, 2012 - 9:45 pm ET

Although the future direction of the U.S. healthcare system remains uncertain as the nation waits for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the nation's oldest and largest physician organization has a roadmap for where it will go in the next five years.

Speaking during the opening day of the annual American Medical Association House of Delegates meeting, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO Dr. James Madara unveiled the organization's “rolling” five-year strategic plan and listed the three targets it will focus on: Improving health outcomes; accelerating change in medical education; and “shaping delivery and payment models that demonstrate high quality care and value while enhancing physician satisfaction and practice sustainability.”

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Madara said he worked with AMA Board Chair Dr. Robert Wah and Speaker of the House of Delegates Dr. Andrew Gurman on the criteria for which targets to include. These included: Is it of urgent and critical importance to the future of healthcare? Can the AMA make a significant, measurable, positive impact? And what would be the likelihood of the AMA being recognized and credited in its role?

He said the three targets mark a strategic shift away from a focus on process to one on outcomes and that they elevate the AMA's role “from simply convening to partnering and doing.”

Madara said the strategy is described as a “rolling” plan because it will be “constantly refined and shaped by new information, insight and changes in the environment.”

In improving health outcomes, he said the goals would be: demonstrate improvements in clinical and patient-reported outcomes; ensure health equity; reduce unwarranted variation in care; advance the quality and safety of healthcare; and contribute to the appropriate use of finite healthcare resources.

Educational goals include aligning “education outcomes with the changing needs of the healthcare system” and promoting flexibility that is “competence-driven rather than calendar-driven.” This would include allowing some students to lower their medical school debt by combining their fourth year of schooling with the first year of their residency training.

For the third target, Madera said the AMA will identify common elements existing in successful practice models that offer both quality care and high physician satisfaction, and then it would use this information to “drive and implement change across practice settings.”

The task of “uncovering the secrets to physician satisfaction” will fall upon the AMA's new vice president of professional satisfaction, care delivery and payment, Dr. Jay Crosson, a Kaiser Permanente executive and former vice chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

“That's the plan,” Madara concluded. “That's our future.”

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