Florida docs slam American Medical Association in new letter

A Florida physicians group sent a blistering letter to the American Medical Association on Tuesday to share its "strong message of dissatisfaction with the AMA leadership" for supporting healthcare reform and its "serious reservations about the AMA's effectiveness and its ability to represent the physicians' interests."

The letter from Florida Medical Association President Madelyn Butler was called for during the group's annual House of Delegates meeting last month. Members debated pulling out of the AMA but instead opted to send a message of "no confidence" after the national group endorsed healthcare reform but failed to get action on top priorities such as the Medicare physician payment formula and medical malpractice reform.

The letter also calls on the AMA to "engage in a well-funded public-relations campaign to explain the benefits of giving Medicare patients the freedom to privately contract with the physician of their choosing." This is known as balance-billing and allows for physicians to bill their patients for a portion of what Medicare does not cover for medical services. The practice is strictly limited under Medicare.