Your AMA at Work

I have two articles to talk about here that I feel are worth investigating. It just shows how clueless the AMA is. Here is one from their own “AMA Morning Rounds.

The New York Times (9/21, Gold) reported that the opioid crisis is “increasingly manifesting itself at construction sites, factories, warehouses, offices and other workplaces,” with “a stunning 70 percent of employers reported that their businesses had been affected by prescription drug abuse, including absenteeism, positive drug tests, injuries, accidents and overdoses, according to a 2017 survey by the National Safety Council.” The Times described the stories of many workers’ on-the-job opioid overdoses and mentioned that “about 1.3 percent of construction workers are thought to be addicted to opioids, or nearly twice the addiction rate for all working adults, according to data from the 2012-14 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”

Well, that seems like a problem.  Here is what the AMA is doing about it.  This from another separate article: 

  • The American Medical Association is opposing a change to patient privacy laws that would allow doctors to more freely share information about a patient’s history of substance use, a proposal that has divided the health care community and highlighted some of the challenges of addressing the opioid epidemic.
  • The provision would allow doctors to much more freely share a patient’s full medical history, including addiction treatment, with other health care professionals and even insurers, sometimes without a patient’s consent. Patients with substance use disorders must currently provide a one-time consent for information about addiction to be used in their electronic health record, or elect to consent to a single hospital or health system using that information.
  • The groups pushing the measure say that the current restrictions inhibit providers from accessing information critical to providing quality treatment — giving a common example in which a doctor, not knowing a patient has a history of addiction, unknowingly prescribing opioids for pain treatment.
  • Opponents of the proposed change, however, argue that Americans with substance use disorders face such severe discrimination that removing some confidentiality protections could discourage them from seeking medical treatment entirely.
  • The powerful AMA, in entering the fray, is also pitting itself against a similarly strong coalition of groups, including the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and insurers including Aetna, Cigna, Anthem, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Doesn’t the AMA supposedly represent doctors?  And isn’t privacy change what the doctors want?  We are so handcuffed by these ridiculous privacy laws that we “unknowingly” prescribe pain meds to narc seekers and then get in trouble for it.  What if they have an accident on the job (see my first reference)?  Can they come after the doctor?  Yes!!!

And the AMA, where “membership moves medicine”, sits back and collects dues.

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