At its interim meeting in Orlando, Fla., the American Medical Associations House of Delegates passed a resolution calling for the development of a health insurance code of conduct as well as a mechanism to monitor insurance company compliance with that code. Both are expected to be presented at the AMA annual meeting in June.
The delegation from the Medical Society of the State of New York introduced the resolution and, in committee, it was recommended that the language calling for both the code and the compliance be removed. Instead, the committee suggested that the resolution should state that the AMA meet with representatives of health plans and insurers, patient groups and others and collaboratively set forth and communicate clear and concise principles addressing both medical-care policies and payment issues.
The full House of Delegates, however, chose to approve the original language which calls for the codeand compliance to itand did not include references to collaborating with other parties.
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for Americas Health Insurance Plans, an insurance industry trade group, noted that the resolution appears to have been spawned by disputes over coverage decisions, but that health plans base those decisions on the best evidence available while actual medical practices vary widely from region to region.
I wont speak to why the AMA would want to do this, but health plans are committed to getting patients the care they need, Zirkelbach said. Representatives from the AMA and the Medical Society of the State of New York were not available for comment. -- by Andis Robeznieks