The power of the internet has become apparent in national and local political decision making. Politicians use the internet and watch bloggers and social networking sites to measure carefully their decisions. No longer do groups have to use expensive s elf serving lobbyists to get their point across.
Yesterday SERMO participated in a nationwide forum (debate) with Howard Dean on CNBC. Sermo put forth the concept that the AMA does not represent either the majority of physicians, nor their opinions.
Howard Dean himself indicated that he does not belong to the AMA. It was a very contentious meeting. Dan Palestrant who spoke for SERMO and it’s 110,000 members focused on the need for tort reform and reimbursement reform. Howard Dean expressed his belief that doctors on salary would do away with the demons of our present system. Palestrant focused upon level of reimbursement being adjusted for level of training. Dr. Palestrant indicated the AMA has a self serving interest in reimbursement since it holds important copyrights to the CPT (current procedural terminology), which all insurance companies and Medicare, as well as DOD, and VA system use on a daily basis. (ie,insurance companies pay the AMA for their right to use CPT codes.) The AMA garners a great deal of income from that source. The interview was too short, abbreviated, and neither participants had sufficient time to give a coherent presentation to lay audiences.
I think the most important take away was that a large group of physicians had a national platform other than the AMA. Hopefully Congress has paid attention.