Inside these posts: American Medical Association

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Blue Cross out-of-network costs rising

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois health plan members are facing higher out-of-pocket costs if they see a physician not in the health plan’s network under a new doctor payment system being rolled out by its parent company.

Chicago-based Health Care Service Corp., the nation’s fourth-largest health plan, has begun basing its doctor fee schedules on the lower rates paid by the Medicare health insurance plan for the elderly. Exactly how much more a patient will pay for out-of-network will vary. But the AMA said Medicare rates are often 20 percent below the cost of providing medical-care. Get the full story »

United pilot duped AMA with fake M.D. claim

William Hamman watches data on a computer as he supervises doctors during a cardiology simulation. (AP/Gregory Smith)

He seemed like Superman, able to guide jumbo jets through perilous skies and tiny tubes through blocked arteries. As a cardiologist and United Airlines captain, William Hamman taught doctors and pilots ways to keep hearts and planes from crashing.

He shared millions in grants, had university and hospital posts, and bragged of work for prestigious medical groups. An Associated Press story featured him leading a teamwork training session at an American College of Cardiology convention last spring.

But it turns out Hamman isn’t a cardiologist or even a doctor. The AP found he had no medical residency, fellowship, doctoral degree or the 15 years of clinical experience he claimed. He attended medical school for a few years but withdrew and didn’t graduate. Get the full story »

Doctors urge Congress to halt Medicare pay cuts

The American Medical Association unleashed its latest salvo Monday in its campaign against cuts in Medicare payments to doctors with a survey that finds overwhelming concern among Americans.

The physician’s group did an online survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18 and older and found 94 percent of them said they are concerned about the cuts to doctors who treat elderly patients.

The group released the findings at a meeting in San Diego to kick off a new advertising and lobbying push to convince lawmakers to block payment cuts — set to take effect Dec. 1 — before they recess for the Thanksgiving holiday later this month. Get the full story »

AMA exec says Medicare cuts will be ‘catastrophic’

The president of the nation’s largest doctors’ group says upcoming cuts in Medicare physician payments will be catastrophic for seniors. Dr. Cecil Wilson, president of the American Medical Association, says Medicare payments will drop by more than 20 percent by January unless Congress takes quick action. Get the full story »

American Medical Association CEO to step down

The chief executive officer of the American Medical Association will step down when his contract expires next June as the Chicago-based national doctor group embarks on an uncertain political environment for physicians under the health care overhaul law.

Dr. Michael Maves, who is 62 years old, has served as the organization’s top administrator since 2001, working under the direction of the AMA’s board of trustees. Maves said in a statement that the end of his contract presents an opportunity to transition to new leadership for the AMA, the nation’s largest doctor group with more than 200,000 member physicians. Get the full story »

AMA sued over ads portraying uninsured

The American Medical Association has been sued for using a girl’s image without authorization and in a false light in a marketing campaign launched in 2007, aimed at motivating politicians to tackle the issue of Americans without health insurance.

One of AMA’s print advertisements featured a girl named “Toya.” The ad says that Toya has a “severe” problem but her parents can’t afford health insurance. The same picture of Toya was featured on the AMA’s web site under a section called “stories of the uninsured.”

A Cook County lawsuit filed Friday said that Toya is China Travis, a girl from the Chicago area who has done some modeling. Her mother, Angela Wonsey, claims the ad is misleading and defamatory because Travis does not have a severe health problem and both of them are not “uninsured.” Get the full story »

AMA meeting: 20% of claims not processed right

By Bruce Japsen | One in five medical claims is processed inaccurately by some of the nation’s health insurers, the American Medical Association said in a report this morning.

The report, released during the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago, said such claims processing errors cost the health care system billions of dollars. They also slow payments to physicians and often confuse consumers.

Get the full story »

AMA endorses Democratic health reform bill

By Bruce Japsen
| The American Medical Association this afternoon endorsed the Democratic health reform bill as President Barack Obama and leaders in the U.S. House push to win over undecided House members who will vote on the bill this weekend.

“The pending bill is imperfect but…we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” said Dr. James Rohack, president of the Chicago-based national doctor group. “The status quo is simply not acceptable.”

The AMA represents a quarter million U.S. physicians.