Medical Physicians Want More Control Over "Social Landscape"
Written by Editor   
Monday, June 25, 2018 11:05 AM

Medical news reporting reports that in mid-June the annual meeting of the American Medical Association's (AMA) house of delegates asserted that physicians should take more control over a changing healthcare and social landscape as the governing body took positions on everything from drug prices and mental healthcare, to gun violence and LGBTQ inclusion in the medical field.

Here are 10 highlights reported by one source:

  • The AMA came out with its most aggressive position yet on "gun violence."  Delegates adopted nearly a dozen policy changes including supporting a ban on assault weapons, registration of all firearms, legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence, and the raising the legal age to buy guns to 21. The measures received overwhelming support, including a 446-99 vote in favor of the assault weapons ban. 
  •  Now, AMA represented physicians hold that physician assisted suicided is compatible with the role of "healer."  Fifty-six percent of the AMA delegates voted against maintaining its position that "physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer."  
  • AMA has recognized that recent sex scandals involving medical doctors need to be addressed.  While initially requiring a policy that would require all state medical boards to "report criminal sexual conduct or predatory sexual behavior to appropriate law enforcement authorities," the AMA ended up voting for a policy that called for the AMA to work with the Federation of State Medical Boards to identify "a comprehensive approach and addressing sexual crimes within medicine."
  • In addressing the opioid epidemic, AMA delegates approved a resolution ending prior authorization requirements by health insurers and expanding the use of medication-assisted treatments such as buprenorphine and methadone.  They also adopted a policy of to include naloxone in all airline medical kits. 
  • Another priority item for the nation's largest and most powerful physician's political group was to support a policy for appropriate treatment and placement of transgender prisoners based on their affirmed gender and for federal medical leave for LGBTQ parents and caregivers.
  • Displaying a particular political ideology, AMA delegates supported a policy of NOT separating children from parents of those who violate national laws resulting in illegal entry into the nation.  It is unclear if they intend for children to be deported, incarcerated or some other solution.
  • While most of the world recognizes "AI" as meaning "artificial intelligence" the AMA has redefined this term as "augmented intelligence."  They have called for stakeholders of AI development to  include the perspective of physicians in developing and implementing such technologies. 
  • The "American" Medical Association seeks to promote "diversity" by calling on the federal government to clear a backlog of foreign-born physicians with temporary H-1B visas waiting to receive permanent-resident status.
  • The AMA's representative delegates also committed the association to the opposition of states changing their Medicaid programs to temporarily ban beneficiaries if they fail to comply with administrative requirements, such as work rules and timely premium payments.  Four states have received federal waivers allowing them to impose work requirements. Six other states await approval.
  • The association also adopted a measure that would create a way for the AMA to track its activities to promote health equity. It also asked for the AMA's board of trustees to report on those activities and the level of achievement every year.  While the definition of "health equity" is not shared, equity is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "justice according to natural law or right;  specificallyfreedom from bias or favoritism."  We look forward to the AMA adopting a more equitable position on health care provided by non-AMA physicians.