PAMED Board Takes Action on MOC, Medical Marijuana, Other Important Physician Issues

We were honored to welcome Acting Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, PhD, RN, and Acting Physician General Rachel Levine, MD, at PAMED’s Board of Trustees meeting. L-R: PAMED Executive Vice President Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE, PAMED President Karen Rizzo, MD, Dr. Levine, Karen Murphy, and Board Chair David Talenti, MD.

It was a busy two days in Harrisburg on Feb. 3 and 4 as the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) Board of Trustees met to discuss several important issues, such as physician-led, team-based care, maintenance of certification (MOC), and medical marijuana.

Among the actions taken at the board meeting were the following:

Medical Marijuana
The Board approved that PAMED maintain its existing policy on medical marijuana that stresses the need for more research on the efficacy of medical marijuana and emphasizes the need for more research on the use of cannabidiol to treat children with seizure disorders.  The Board also directed PAMED to push for funding for such research and develop a patient registry to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of children participating in such studies.

Requiring Insurer Contracts with Hospitals
The Board supports legislation requiring physician practices and hospitals operating as part of an integrated delivery system (IDS) to contract with any health insurance carrier that is willing to enter into a contract. Failure of an IDS and a health insurance carrier to maintain a mutually agreeable contract would result in contract terms being set through binding arbitration. Additionally, the proposed legislation would not permit an IDS to implement restrictive covenants in its employment contracts that restrict any health care provider from engaging in their profession after leaving their employment.

PAMED has been working for much of the past year to address physician concerns with MOC. On Feb. 3, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced significant changes to MOC, many of which addressed those concerns. PAMED appreciates the recent action taken by the ABIM, and looks forward to continuing this dialogue in an effort to further improve MOC and reduce the burden on physicians.

Physician-Led, Team-Based Care and CRNP Independent Practice Proposal
The Board voted to create a task force comprised of specialty leaders and their government affairs staff to coordinate messaging and strategy regarding this issue. Participation will be open to all specialties. If you are interested in being a part of this task force, please contact Larry Light, senior vice president of physician advocacy and political affairs at PAMED. PAMED continues to support physician-led, team-based care, and oppose proposals for independent practice by CRNPs and other non-physician practitioners as well as any scope of practice expansion initiatives. Learn more about physician-led, team-based care at

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
Eric Fish, senior director of legal services for the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) gave a presentation to the Board on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The PAMED Board learned that the licensing compact would be implemented through passage of legislation in at least seven states that are interested in joining. Although legislation has not yet been introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, interest is building among health care systems in our state. The licensing compact would, in effect, provide a means to expedited licensure in other compact states either for Pennsylvania licensed physicians or for those physicians licensed in other states who have an interest in treating Pennsylvania based patients. The PAMED Board understood that while the compact is considered to set a “high bar” for qualifications, there are concerns about confidentiality, regulatory oversight, and other aspects of practicing medicine. PAMED Board discussions will continue.

Young Physician Leadership Training
The PAMED Board tasked PAMED’s Young Physicians Section (YPS) to help develop leadership training through PAMED’s Leadership Skills Academy that meets the needs of young physicians.  The Board will also recommend criteria for participation and a nominations process. Look for more information on this program in summer 2015.

Skyrocketing Cost of Generic Drugs
The Board approved PAMED taking an active role in encouraging the state and the AMA to address this issue. In addition to seeking Pennsylvania’s involvement in the coalition of attorneys general, PAMED was tasked to work with the Department of Health to determine other avenues for controlling the cost of these vitally important pharmaceuticals.  In addition, the PAMED delegation to the American Medical Association will review this issue  and already ongoing AMA-related activity before  its next meeting (June 2015) to further support current AMA initiatives.

Watch for more information on these initiatives in the Daily Dose (PAMED’s daily email to members), as well as in PAMED’s other communications channels.