Among the resolutions on the agenda for the American Medical Association House of Delegates, which is scheduled to meet June 23-27 in Chicago, is a proposal to try to limit the influence of the National Quality Forum.
The resolution offers resistance to any NQF mission expansion that may diminish or eliminate the AMA-convened Physician Consortium for Performance Improvements role in measure development.
But NQF President and Chief Executive Officer Janet Corrigan said it appears there has been a misunderstanding. While the resolutionintroduced by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeonscalls for changing the NQF power structure so physicians have more influence, Corrigan said this has already taken place.
The NQF has almost completed a major restructuring of our board, she said (May 21, p. 12). It would be fair to say we did recognize that there was weak representation from the medical community in our current board. That is why our restructuring provides for significant (physician) representation.
Corrigan said NQF members are voting on a 25-member slate for the new board and nine physicians are on it, including AMA Speaker Nancy Nielsen and Consortium Chairman Bernard Rosof. She added that there is no intention to expand NQFs quality-measure evaluating mission and begin developing its own measures because to do so would be a conflict of interest. You cant be a neutral evaluator of others measures if you have your own on the table, she said.
AANS staffer Katie Orrico said her group is encouraged by the changes, but noted that they are not yet a done deal.
Another item on the agenda calls for opposition to retail-based healthcare clinics. The American Academy of Family Physicians took a position that these clinics were inevitable and it would be more productive to guide and regulate them than to oppose them (May 8, 2006, p. 18). The AMAs Illinois delegation, however, has introduced a resolution calling on the AMA to adopt a policy in opposition to retail-based healthcare clinics. The resolution states that these clinics provide episodic care that lacks continuity and create overt or unconscious pressure on practitioners to prescribe pharmaceutical treatment since the clinics are often housed in large retail pharmacies.
Also on the agenda are items aiming to strengthen Medicare, hold down healthcare costs and establish health courts.