New AMA Policies Promote Integrated Care, Improve Healthcare Data Transparency

A new policy emerged from the annual meeting of the American Medical Association that calls for increased access to and coverage of integrated medical and behavioral healthcare services for patients.

A new policy emerged from the annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) that calls for increased access to and coverage of integrated medical and behavioral healthcare services for patients.

The AMA is encouraging Medicaid and private health insurers to pay for physical and behavioral healthcare services and recommends that state Medicaid programs change their plans as needed to include payment for behavioral health issues in schools. This way, physicians can better identify and treat behavioral conditions as early as possible.

According to the release, nearly 43 million adults and 6 million children identify themselves with a mental illness or developmental, behavior, or emotional issue; yet, only half of these individuals receive care, with cost being the most common barrier to care. Combined care management of physical and behavioral conditions can not only greatly improve health outcomes but also save an estimated $48 billion annually in general healthcare costs.

The AMA additionally called for 2 new polices in its efforts to promote greater healthcare transparency to improve health outcomes and increase the value of healthcare spending. The new proposed policies hope to expedite the process of receiving useful healthcare data in order for physicians, care systems, and other related stakeholders to adopt and apply the meaningful information into their practices quicker. The policies also aim to improve patient health literacy when it comes to healthcare pricing information.

“Transparency of both cost and quality is needed for patients, physicians, public and private insurers and other stakeholders throughout the health care system to make more informed health care decisions,” AMA President Robert M. Wah, MD, said in a statement.