AMA Calls on Medical Schools to Include Training on Healthcare Economics

The American Medical Association (AMA) wants medical schools and residency programs to start training medical students and residents in healthcare economics.
Allison Inserro
November 22, 2019
The American Medical Association (AMA) wants medical schools and residency programs to start training medical students and residents in healthcare economics.

According to a new policy published this week, the AMA wants programs to incorporate education on the organization of healthcare delivery, modes of practice, practice settings, cost-effective use of diagnostic and treatment services, practice management, risk management, and quality assurance. These programs should also include content related to the environment and economics of medical practice in fee-for-service, managed-care, and other financing systems.

The AMA said the policy builds on its Health System Science curriculum, which launched in 2016 through its Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium; the AMA said knowledge about health systems is now considered the third leg of medical education that should be integrated with basic and clinical sciences education.

The move comes as patients are struggling with the costs of healthcare and specialty drugs for complex chronic diseases, rare diseases, and cancer. At the same time, physicians have seen a wave of change, as standalone clinician offices become increasingly rare, health systems combine, physician practices consolidate, and vertical integration of payers with data warehouses or retail pharmacies has become more common.

At the same time, CMS is launching new payment models and trying to incentivize physician behavior with 2-sided alternative payment reform.

“While many medical schools and residency programs currently provide students and residents with training in healthcare financing, it has become clear that future physicians require further instruction to ensure they are well-prepared to deliver care to patients in modern health systems,” said Barbara L. McAneny, MD, AMA’s immediate past president.

“Medical students and residents with a deeper understanding of cost, financing, and medical economics, will be better equipped to provide more cost-effective care that will have a positive impact for patients and the healthcare system as a whole. We will continue working to ensure future physicians are ready on day one to meet the needs of patients in the modern healthcare environment.”

The AMA includes a module on how payment models affect patient care and costs in its Graduate Medical Education Competency Education Program. The organization also said it recently published its Health System Science Review book, which includes information about value-based care and healthcare policy and economics.



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