AMA-YPS Meeting Update: AAO-HNS-YPS Representative
On November 7, 2014, the Young Physicians Section (YPS) of the American Medical Association (AMA) convened its semi-annual Assembly in Dallas, TX, one day before the regular AMA House of Delegates. Termed the “Interim Business Meeting” (I-2014) to distinguish the fall meeting from the annual summer meeting in Chicago, it promised the typical bustle of networking, research presentations, society business meetings, and, of course, debating resolutions.
By Joseph F. Goodman, MD
AAO-HNS-YPS delegate to the AMA-YPS
On November 7, 2014, the Young Physicians Section (YPS) of the American Medical Association (AMA) convened its semi-annual Assembly in Dallas, TX, one day before the regular AMA House of Delegates. Termed the “Interim Business Meeting” (I-2014) to distinguish the fall meeting from the annual summer meeting in Chicago, it promised the typical bustle of networking, research presentations, society business meetings, and, of course, debating resolutions. I had been active in the AMA as a medical student, as both medical student delegate from the State of Michigan and the vice-chair of our state MSS. What a surprise to see former state MSS chair and fellow classmate Mike Hanak standing at the podium, now as chair of the AMA-YPS. Having attended the newcomer orientation in the morning and now seated next to Scott Chaiet, who represents the AAFPRS-YPS, I felt ready to engage with other young physicians in debating policy that would shape the future of our medical profession.
I should explain the purpose of the meeting: the AMA serves many functions, but what its members most engage in is a form of democratic policy-making that starts with a resolution introduced by one of its members. One example of such a resolution might be: “Resolved … that our AMA support the fight against childhood obesity …” Immediately members begin to align themselves on various sides of the issue. Should the AMA take this position? What can AMA really do about this? Who are we supporting in this “fight”? Can’t doctors educate their own patients? Suddenly, a seemingly simple, non-controversial issue becomes a proving ground for a national campaign. Naturally, some personality types gravitate to debate, and inevitably as the day grinds on the same few members are heard passionately arguing their cases for or against the Ebola response, increased newborn heart disease screening, and the ethics of dispensing free sample prescriptions. For those unfamiliar with the AMA meeting format and Robert’s Rules of Order, this is the ferment that becomes distilled into AMA policy and action for the upcoming year. The controlled-chaos of these debates is a time-honored tradition guaranteed to get the blood pumping of all those who even consider stepping up to the microphones.
Altogether, AMA-YPS considered 83 resolutions and 20 reports at I-2014, a small portion of which were “extracted” for debate. Hot topics this year included formation of an AMA SuperPac, EMR delays and penalties, and Maintenance of Certification—all of which were again debated in the “Big House” meeting. The only ENT-specific resolution called for Congress to institute Medicare coverage of all hearing aids—this after CMS recently reviewed its current policy of covering only implantable devices. This resolution was referred for report by the Board … more to follow in June. In most cases, the YPS position lined up with the overall House position, whether to adopt new policy, refer for report, or monitor certain issues. In summary, the meeting was successful in engaging physicians from around the country and across all specialties in collective debate about many issues facing our profession. AAO-HNS participation in this informed debate is essential to developing a unified position on the issues and making our voice heard.