Published: September 26, 2017

AMA House of Delegates: Issues impacting otolaryngology

The American Medical Association (AMA) held its 2017 Annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting June 10-14, in Chicago, IL.

Michael S. Goldrich, MD, Chair, AAO-HNS Delegation to the AMA House of Delegates

Michael S. Goldrich, MDMichael S. Goldrich, MDThe American Medical Association (AMA) held its 2017 Annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting June 10-14, in Chicago, IL. Several otolaryngologists represented the Academy: I currently serve as delegation chair; Robert Puchalski, MD, delegate and otolaryngology section council chair; Douglas R. Myers, MD, delegate; Craig S. Derkay, MD, alternate delegate; and James C. Denneny III, MD, Academy EVP/CEO, alternate delegate. Here is a summary of a few of the hundreds of considered reports and resolutions that are most relevant to our specialty.

Interpreter services

Recognizing the inequity of physicians being mandated to absorb the cost of interpreter services (both for spoken language and deaf interpreters), the AMA passed a resolution to advocate for payers, rather than physicians or their patients, being responsible for the cost of this ADA-required service. The resolution reads:

That the AMA advocate for legislative and/or regulatory changes to require that payers including Medicaid programs and Medicaid managed care plans cover interpreter services and directly pay interpreters for such services, with a progress report at the 2017 Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates.

This focus on Medicaid adds to existing AMA policy advocating for such relief from all payers. It also advocates for direct payment to interpreters rather than reimbursement to physicians for outlay.

Maintenance of Certification

In many specialties across the House of Medicine, there has been severe dissatisfaction with the current Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process, especially in regard to relevant educational opportunity and the “high stakes” examinations. Many certifying boards have been re-examining the content and parameters of the MOC process.

The HOD passed a resolution recognizing that lifelong learning is best achieved by ongoing participation in a program of high quality continuing medical education appropriate to that physician’s medical practice as determined by the relevant specialty society. It is anticipated that in every specialty, there will be ongoing robust dialogue with our specialty boards to improve the quality of this lifelong learning.

Concurrent surgery

In recent years, there has been media interest and some public concern regarding surgeons performing concurrent or  overlapping surgery. In our specialty, there is a long history of overlapping procedures in some areas of surgical care. A resolution was discussed at the meeting to develop evidenced-based policy. In coordination with the American College of  Surgeons (ACS) and other surgical specialties, the AAO-HNS delegation supported a planned dialogue among relevant national specialty societies on the issues inherent in these procedures.

The next meeting of the AMA HOD will be November 11-14, 2017, in Honolulu, HI. If you have questions regarding this report and other AMA HOD activities, please contact


More from October 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 09