Dear friends and colleagues,
I am very proud and humbled by the actions of the AMA House of Delegates in June of 2018, in voting me to be a trustee of the AMA, entrusting me to make decisions that affect health care and our profession. I intend to honor that vote by diligently keeping abreast of any and all developments that affect the practice of medicine and the health care system our patients depend on. I will devote this website to posting my opinions on selected health care issues, and post links to interesting articles that I feel may be of great interest to physicians and the public. The purpose is to educate on the issues of the day and to promote a dialog on these issues that affect our practice and the health care of our patients. Preserving health care delivery and the practice environment are challenging in the current times. We need to work together to make our health care perform to the best of its ability for the sake of our patients, and the lessen the huge strain on our health care professionals that lead to burnout in so many of our colleagues.
My role now as Trustee is fundamentally different from my previous roles at the AMA as delegate or council member. I now must work to implement policy as developed by our physician members and delegates. I will be working in concert with our elected leaders, our AMA president, Chair of the Board, and the other 14 elected trustees, as well as our fine AMA staff who work tirelessly on our behalf. I will speak up on issues of importance to us all, and make my voice be heard at board meetings and when called upon to represent the AMA.
Mario Motta was elected to the board of Trustees of the AMA in June of 2018. He has been active in organized medicine and the AMA since medical school at Tufts University in Boston, where he was a student chapter AMA president. A member of the AMA House of Delegates since 2003, Mario served eight years on the AMA Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH), and was vice chair of the Massachusetts AMA delegation. Dr. Motta was president of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) in 2009-10. He dealt with myriad issues regarding the health care delivery system, health insurance, scope of practice, young physician engagement, and burnout. As chair of the MMS Committee on Legislation, he was intimately involved with Massachusetts health care reform, resulting in the state having the lowest rate of uninsured residents in the United States. His reports on outdoor lighting have led to a revolution in the lighting industry. The AMA continues to receive great praise for this effort, with many cities specifically citing the AMA report in choosing their outdoor lighting as being “AMA compliant.” He is board-certified in cardiology and nuclear cardiology, was director of cardiology research for his practice, and is a clinical professor of medicine at Tufts University.
Mario is well known as an astronomer. Working with the American Association of Variable Star Observers, Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and MIT, he has numerous observations and publications. In 2013, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid in his honor. In the astronomical community, Dr. Motta is well known for having a large completely homemade telescope and observatory including the optics, a 32-inch f6 telescope.
We must confront these important issues which affect the practice of medicine:
Insurance, Practice, and Burnout issues
Maintaining a practice in the current environment is a monumental burden on physicians, leading to burnout or worse. Already, it is untenable in many locations for new physicians to set up an independent practice due to over-regulation, abusive insurance contracts, and Medicare rules. Insurance companies exert unjust control over our profession with prior authorization being particularly bothersome. MORE ON INSURANCE
The cost of a medical education is a national embarrassment and a career burden on young physicians. These high costs lead to years of debt on physicians’ income, limiting their ability to set up practices or innovate, or in some cases choosing their preferred specialty. Medicare cutbacks on residency slots lead to limited supply of trained physicians. MORE ON ABIM/MOC
Our patients cannot afford their medications, which is a leading cause of noncompliance and poor clinical outcomes. Numerous studies have shown that the high price of even generic medications leads some patients to skip doses or discontinue altogether. Big Pharma needs to be held accountable, especially for the indefensible and absurd rising generic drug prices. New patented medications should of course give a healthy rate of return to encourage innovation, but the current trend is not to charge a reasonable rate of return, but rather to charge absurdly high prices straining our health care system. The prohibition on Medicare negotiation is the most urgent priority that needs to be fixed in Washington. MORE ON PRESCRIPTIONS
Outdoor Street Lighting, Glare, and Circadian Rhythm Disturbance: human health and environmental effects.
It is now well established that lighting can effect both human health through circadian rhythm disturbance, and the environment though light pollution. I am happy to say that the AMA has had a beneficial and significant impact by two reports, light pollution: adverse health effects of nighttime lighting (2012), detailing the adverse health effects on human health and the environment, and Human and Environmental effects of Light Emitting Diode (LED) Community Lighting (2016). this last report has led most cities in the US and across the globe to reject 4000K lighting in favor of 3000K lighting, and thus changed and averted major environmental damage. these are available for review and downloading with a number of scientifically published peer reviewed papers.
New: IES (Illuminating engineering society), now has changed its guidelines. Their new new Illuminating Engineering Society roadway and parking lot standards document: RP-8-18 is now in line with AMA recommendations.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2019-2020: