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New AMA President Talks Tough on SGR

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, June 12, 2014

The new president of the American Medical Association, Robert Wah, MD, says he is "beyond frustrated" that the sustainable growth rate formula has not yet been repealed, and says finding a way to pay for it is the job of Congress.


Robert Wah


Robert Wah, MD

Robert Wah, MD, inaugurated this week as the 169th President of the American Medical Association at the organization's annual House of Delegates meeting in Chicago, is a busy man.

Wah teaches and is a practicing reproductive endocrinologist and obstetrician-gynecologist at the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, both located in Bethesda, Maryland. He is also chief medical officer for Computer Sciences Corporation, a Falls Church, Virginia-based technology company.

Nationally recognized for his technology expertise, Wah was the first deputy national coordinator for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) at the Department of Health and Human Services. He also served as a captain in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps for 23 years.

The first Chinese-American president of the AMA says one of the biggest challenges ahead of him is the same one that his predecessors also had: repealing the Medicare sustainable growth rate physician payment formula. He spoke with me this week about the work ahead.

Q: What concerns have you heard from physicians at this year's AMA House of Delegates meeting?

Overall, there is some trepidation about change; change is always a challenge for people. I personally like to look at change as an opportunity as opposed to a challenge. I would also say that we're very interested, as physicians, in making sure that we craft a delivery system that leads to better care for our patients in a more cost-efficient, cost-effective way.

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