AMA president, a Kentuckian, says doctors have a duty to make sure patients know about new health-insurance exchanges

Despite the mixed messages from many physicians about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Dr. Arvis Hoven, an internal-medicine and infectious-disease specialist in Lexington and the new president of the American Medical Association, said the physicians’ lobby will do whatever is within its power to promote “Obamacare.”

“Our job as physicians will continue to be to get our patients the type of care they need at the right time, at the right place, with the right provider,” Hoven told Sarah Kliff of The Washington Post in an interview conducted for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.” Transparency and communication with patients are important in making sure patients know about health- insurance exchanges, and the AMA can help the American public get the type of care they need and deserve, she said.

Although the law is polarizing and some AMA members don’t support it, Hoven said the physician’s responsibility is to the patient. “Some supported, some did not support it, but at the end of the day the
American Medical Association and its policy body, the House of Delegates, came together in support of the Affordable Care Act.”

It is a physician’s duty to communicate elements of the law, such as the exchanges, to the patient and his or her family, Hoven told Kliff. As millions of people get added to the health insurance system, “Our job will be to teach them how to use health care insurance, how to get prevention and wellness care on the front end, how to be healthy and stay healthy.”

Amid concerns over doctor shortages and the expansion of Medicaid, Hoven said she thinks there will be enough doctors, but it is important for them to emphasize team-based, physician-led care, utilizing all providers at their highest level of training. This will certainly be crucial for the Kentucky health system, since the state needed many more doctors and other medical professionals even before the Medicaid expansion, said a recent review by Deloitte Consulting.

Physicians and communities must work together to make sure there are enough health professionals, Hoven said: “This is work not only physicians need to be involved in, but communities need to be involved in, and we’re going to have to work together both publicly and privately to get this to happen.” Click here to watch the entire interview.

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