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AMA Adopts New Policies to Improve Health of Nation on First Day of Voting at Annual Meeting

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - June 09, 2014) - The American Medical Association (AMA), the premier national physician organization in the country, gathered physician and medical student leaders representing all aspects of medicine during its Annual Meeting and today voted to adopt new policies on emerging health care topics.

The AMA's House of Delegates is the policy-making body at the center of American medicine, bringing together an inclusive group of physicians, medical students and residents representing every state and medical field. Delegates work in a democratic process to create a national physician consensus on emerging issues in public health, science, ethics, business and government to continually provide safer, higher quality and more efficient care for patients and communities.

The policies adopted by the House of Delegates today include:

Putting Price Transparency into Practice
 
The AMA strongly believes in transparency for value-based decision-making in health care and knows that having access to accurate, relevant cost data at the point of care is essential for both physicians and patients. The AMA adopted new policy to study ways in which patients and physicians can obtain price data prior to the delivery of non-emergency services to help assist them in health care planning. The policy also includes a recommendation to support efforts that enhance cost transparency for physicians in training to ensure the next generation of physicians are more knowledgeable about medical costs as they enter the modern health care system.

"As we aim as a nation to cut our nation's overall health care costs, it is important that patients and physicians have the full picture of the cost of care," said AMA Board Member Maya Babu, M.D., M.B.A., "We realize that price transparency in health care is complex and we aim to take a leading role in identifying ways to remove the barriers to true transparency to help physicians and patients make more informed decisions and reduce health care costs."

Meningococcal Vaccinations for School Children
 
In an effort to help curb the unnecessary spread of meningitis, new AMA policy supports the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' guidelines requiring school children age 11 through 18 years to receive the meningococcal vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination is the best defense against meningitis, a serious illness that causes death in 10 to 15 percent of cases and results in long-term disabilities, such as loss of limbs, hearing loss, and brain damage, in 11 to 19 percent of those who survive the illness. Meningitis is most common in infants, adolescents and young adults and is responsible for recent outbreaks at two major U.S. universities.

"The AMA encourages parents to vaccinate their children for meningitis to help safeguard them from an illness that can cause unnecessary and long-lasting health implications," said Georgia Tuttle, M.D., AMA Board Trustees member.

Support for Nutrition Label Revisions of Added Sugars
To ensure Americans better understand the actual amount of sugar contained in the foods they consume, the AMA has adopted new policy in support of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new proposal to include added sugars on nutrition labels. If adopted, the FDA's revised labels will denote the amount of naturally occurring sugar levels in foods and beverages versus the amount of sugar that has been added to the product. According to the FDA, on average, Americans get 16 percent of their total calories from added sugars that provide no nutrient value, and are often referred to as "empty calories." A recent JAMA study also found that a majority of U.S. adults consume more added sugar than recommended for a healthy diet. The AMA is also encouraging the FDA to establish a recommended daily value for added sugars that will appear on the new labels. Additionally, the policy calls for further study on the addictive nature of sugars.

"Sugar consumption has been linked to some of the nation's most debilitating diseases, and better labeling of sugar in food aligns with the AMA's strategic initiative to improve health outcomes by curbing the incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said AMA Board Member Georgia Tuttle, M.D.

About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation's physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America.

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