AMA's Strategic Plan: 6 core commitments for action

The Association’s agenda for the coming year focuses on health care’s regulatory environment, clinical excellence, public health, physician practice viability, professionalism and education, and a sustainable AMA.

The House of Delegates Interim Meeting is held in November, a natural time to announce plans for the year ahead. In that regard, the AMA’s annual Strategic Plan is the basis for its to-do list.

The Strategic Plan for 2009, approved by delegates, carries on from the priorities and accomplishments of this year. It lists the same six core commitments and describes the focus for each in the year ahead:

Health care environment: The Association is seeking changes in the state and federal legal and regulatory environment to enable physicians in providing care and protect the needs of patients. Caring for the uninsured remains a key priority. Funding and access to care concerning Medicare, Medicaid and other safety-net programs are addressed in this area, as is protecting patients’ rights to private sector coverage.

Clinical excellence: The AMA committed itself to advancing clinical processes, techniques and tools for physicians, mostly by focusing on health care quality improvement, health information technology, patient safety, long-term care and geriatric care. The AMA’s pledge to physicians includes working toward appropriate quality measures and expanding collaborations on infrastructure for data collection and performance improvement. The Association also will support physician participation in patient-safety organizations and cultivate competency in patient safety.

Public health: This calls for supporting improvements that affect public health, including disease prevention and management, immunizations, healthy lifestyles and disaster preparedness. The AMA will continue to play a leadership role in disaster response and public health readiness.

Physician practice viability: The focus here is knocking down barriers that interfere with the physician-patient relationship and effective practice management. The AMA will push for more favorable treatment of physicians and patients through increased health plan accountability, antitrust reform and curtailment of abusive health insurer practices. The AMA will be there for doctors to turn to for solutions to help them manage revenue, increase payment accuracy and reduce administrative costs.

Professionalism and education: Plans include addressing re-entry to practice for physicians, beginning a study of the medical school admissions process, and developing and testing learning environment measures. To help bring about change, the AMA will rely on its resources in undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education and physician professional development.

A sustainable AMA: The Association has pledged to demonstrate that it has the resources to help physicians at each stage of their careers. It will invest in market research and develop new products.

From this plan, the AMA sets its priorities, writes its budget, directs its advocacy activities and develops the resources that help doctors help patients.

This new year, expect the challenges facing medicine to be even greater from the fallout from a damaged national economy. But the fundamental elements represented by the AMA Strategic Plan provide focus to carry on the essential work of protecting patients and strengthening the ability of physicians to serve them.

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