Track the news and other key moments from the AMA House of Delegates’ first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 AMA Annual Meeting runs June 10–15.
AMA details plan to stop the public health “infodemic”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation has been of the utmost concern. This has led to what some describe as a secondary “infodemic,” where permanent harm may be done to the trust in institutions due to the sheer volume of disinformation spread in a rapidly changing and sensitive environment, says an AMA Board of Trustees report adopted at the Annual Meeting.
“Physicians are a trusted source of information for patients and the public alike, but the spread of disinformation by a few has implications for the entire profession and causes harm. Physicians have an ethical and professional responsibility to share truthful information, correct misleading and inaccurate information, and direct people to reliable sources of health information,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. “The AMA is committed to confronting disinformation, and we need to address the root of the problem.
“We must ensure that health professionals spreading disinformation aren’t able to use far-reaching platforms, often benefitting them financially, to disseminate dangerous health claims,” Dr. Harmon added. “While we are unlikely to undo the harms caused by disinformation campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can act now to help prevent the spread of disinformation in the future.”
Learn about the AMA’s comprehensive strategy to address health-related disinformation disseminated by health professionals.
Doctors demand action on public health crisis of climate change
According to a resolution whose recommendations were adopted, “physicians are uniquely trusted messengers and have a responsibility to advocate for science-based policies to safeguard health.”
To that end, the House of Delegates declared “climate change a public health crisis that threatens the health and well-being of all individuals.”
Delegates also directed the AMA to protect patients by advocating for policies that:
- Limit global warming to no more than 1.5 °C.
- Reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions aimed at carbon neutrality by 2050.
- Support rapid implementation and incentivization of clean energy solutions and significant investments in climate resilience through a climate justice lens.
- Develop a strategic plan for how we will enact our climate-change policies including advocacy priorities and strategies to decarbonize physician practices and the health sector.
“The scientific evidence is clear—our patients are already facing adverse health effects associated with climate change, from heat-related injuries, vector-borne diseases and air pollution from wildfires, to worsening seasonal allergies and storm-related illness and injuries,” said AMA Trustee Ilse R. Levin, DO, MPH. “Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis will disproportionately impact the health of historically marginalized communities.
“Taking action now won’t reverse all of the harm done, but it will help prevent further damage to our planet and our patients’ health and well-being,” Dr. Levin added.
The AMA will report back to the House of Delegates with its plan at next year’s Annual Meeting.
Screen patients at high risk for anal cancer
More than 8,000 cases of anal cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, and the conditions kills more than 1,200. And with the human papillomavirus (HPV) causing more than 90% of anal cancers, there is a growing need for HPV-related screenings, according to a resolution introduced by the Pennsylvania delegation.
Studies have identified the value of screening for high-risk people—such as those who are HIV-positive, men who have sex with men, and women with a history of cervical dysplasia.
Additionally, the American Society for Colon and Rectal Surgeons has developed a strong recommendation based on moderate-quality evidence to support screening patients who are at an increased risk for anal squamous neoplasms based on history, physical examination and laboratory testing.
With anal cancer screening shown to be cost-effective, delegates adopted policy to support:
- Advocacy efforts to implement screening for anal cancer for high-risk populations.
- National medical specialty organizations and other stakeholders in developing guidelines for interpretation, follow up and management of anal cancer screening results.
Help private practices build their part in new payment models
The AMA and other medical associations can do their part to guide physicians, including independent private practice physicians, in participating in prospective payment models. New policy offers guidance on collaborating with other physician practices while maintaining autonomy, reducing administrative burdens, and improving quality metrics.
Interest in value-based or alternative payment models has gained traction over the last 10 years among public and private payers concerned about rising health care costs and quality outcomes. In 2020, some primary care practices using prospective payment models such as a per-member-per-month model appeared to weather pandemic-related financial hardships more effectively than those in fee-for-service models, according to a report that was adopted today at the Annual Meeting.
“Appropriately funded prospective payment models offer one solution to provide potential stability and predictability of payment for some practices when demand for services decreases,” says the AMA Council on Medical Service report.
Read more about how the AMA will help private practices take part in new payment models.
AMA: Low-wage work exacerbates health inequities
One in 10 Americans lives in poverty. Most are employed, but still struggle to afford the necessities to stay healthy. Social determinants of health—which include education, housing, wealth, income and employment—“are impacted by larger, powerful systems that lead to discrimination, exploitation, marginalization, exclusion and isolation,” according to a report whose recommendations were adopted at the Annual Meeting today.
“Simply put, decreasing poverty improves health,” said AMA Trustee David H. Aizuss, MD. “The COVID-19 pandemic created a concurrent public health and economic crisis that exposed and exacerbated access to care and other social inequities.
“Not only has the pandemic disproportionally impacted minoritized and marginalized communities, but economic insecurity, housing insecurity and food insecurity have disproportionately burdened communities of color and other historically marginalized populations—all highlighting in stark relief the fact that people with low incomes have worse health outcomes,” said Dr. Aizuss, a board-certified ophthalmologist living in Calabasas, California.
“Too many people are working full-time jobs—sometimes more than one job—and are unable to rise above poverty wages,” Dr. Aizuss added. “That must change.”
Learn more about the AMA’s policy actions on poverty, health outcomes and minimum wage.
How these 6 physicians are making a difference in medicine
Recognized for their altruism, advocacy and professional skill, six physicians were honored by the AMA Foundation with the 2022 Excellence in Medicine Awards.
Recipients of the 2022 honors—in addition to those who won Excellence in Medicine Awards in 2021 but could not get them in person last year—were honored in a ceremony Saturday night at the Annual Meeting.
Learn more about the outstanding contributions of this year’s physician honorees, and watch the video below, shown Friday to the House of Delegates, to learn more about the AMA Foundation’s work and how you can support it.
Reference committees continue work today
The following reference committees will meet from 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. CDT:
- Reference Committee A, which covers medical service. Grand Ballroom.
- Reference Committee E, which covers science and technology. Grand Hall I–J.
Health equity education sessions this afternoon
All times CDT, in the Grand Ballroom:
- 1:30–2:30 p.m. “Operationalizing racial justice for equitable health systems.” CME.
- 2:30—3:30 p.m. “Embed equity in innovation: In Full Health initiative and centering equity in health tech solutions.” CME.
- 3:30–4:30 p.m. “Medical Justice in Advocacy Fellowship—Advancing Health Equity.” CME.
How medical students help shape AMA policy
With more than 50,000 members from nearly every medical school in the country, the AMA Medical Student Section (AMA-MSS) is a platform for all U.S. medical students to voice their opinions on issues that matter to them as future physicians. Now marking its 50th anniversary, members of AMA-MSS have submitted more than 1,500 resolutions at AMA meetings to improve medical education and health care.
Learn more about the AMA Medical Student Section and its role in health care policymaking, and watch this “AMA Moving Medicine” interview with Haidn Foster, MD, for further insights.
Learn how to save hours every day in your physician practice
Almost half of a physician’s day is spent performing tasks that do not require an MD or DO degree. The good news is that nearly 80% of unnecessary tasks are under your local control.
The purpose of this AMA workshop—“A Playbook for Saving Hours Each Day,” 1:30–2:30 p.m. CDT, Crystal B/C, West Tower (CME)—is to:
- Help physicians and their practices stop doing unnecessary and duplicative tasks that prevent the doctor from doing more meaningful work.
- Incorporate practice fundamentals such as pre-visit planning and lab testing, team documentation, and expanded rooming and discharge efforts.
- Make the case to leadership by demonstrating the return on investment with better outcomes, lower cost of recruiting or replacing staff, improved physician well-being, and increased patient access and satisfaction.
The workshop builds on “The AMA STEPS Forward® Saving Time Playbook” (PDF), which helps physicians identify superfluous tasks, stop the overinterpretation of regulations and implement efficient workflows.
Reference committees start today
AMA delegates will offer testimony today and tomorrow on the hundreds of reports and resolutions up for consideration at the meeting. Delegates draw on their expertise, the best evidence in the medical and health policy literature, and the insights of their state medical associations and national medical specialty societies to weigh in on proposals that run the gamut of issues affecting patients and physicians.
These reference committees will meet from 1–5:30 p.m. CDT today:
- Reference Committee on Amendments to Constitution & Bylaws, which covers the AMA constitution, bylaws and medical ethics matters. Crystal Ballroom B–C.
- Reference Committee B, which covers legislation. Regency Ballroom A–B.
- Reference Committee C, which covers medical education. Regency Ballroom C–D.
- Reference Committee D, which covers public health. Riverside East.
- Reference Committee F, which covers AMA governance and finance. Grand Ballroom.
- Reference Committee G, which covers medical practice. Grand Hall I–J.
It’s time to rebuild. And the AMA is ready.
In his speech last night, AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, detailed the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians, an ambitious road map to renewing our country’s commitment to physicians—and ensuring their needs are met—so that patients can receive the high-quality care they deserve.
To learn more, watch this video about the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians, which was shown at last night’s opening session of the Annual Meeting.
Envisioned and built against the backdrop of COVID-19 challenges that stretched our health care system to the brink, including increased physician burnout, unabated and onerous prior-authorization requirements, and no permanent fix to ensure telehealth coverage for patients, the Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians focuses on five key goals to rebuild health care so that it works better for physicians and all those they serve:
As AMA marks 175th year, former president reflects on last 50
When Alan Nelson, MD, walked into his first House of Delegates meeting in 1972, the air was blue with tobacco smoke. “There was an ashtray at every seat,” he recalled. That year also marked one of the key dates in the AMA’s 175-year history, as that’s when a landmark U.S. surgeon general’s report was issued and the AMA would launch its all-out “war on smoking.”
And by the time Dr. Nelson became the organization’s president in 1989, the AMA had called for a ban on smoking aboard airplanes and many other measures to discourage the deadly addiction. The AMA has in recent years highlighted the public health epidemic of e-cigarettes and vaping and supported the ban on menthol flavoring in cigarettes.
The AMA’s war on smoking marks one of the critical turning points in AMA history, said Dr. Nelson, a retired private practice internist-endocrinologist who turns 89 this month. He provides a valuable perspective given that his tenure as AMA president in 1989–1990 dates back further than that of any other AMA president who is still living.
As the AMA celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, Dr. Nelson reflected on the many ways that American health care has changed, and how the AMA has risen to meet the moment in medicine.
Learn more in this thought-provoking Q&A with Dr. Nelson.
Watch these education sessions on demand
Several of the 2022 AMA Annual Meeting’s education sessions were recorded ahead of time and you can watch them at your convenience. Among them:
Dr. Madara: AMA is pursuing work worthy of its 175-year legacy
Medicine and society have changed during the 175 years of the AMA’s existence, but the Association’s role as the vanguard of creating a healthier nation has remained constant, according to AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD.
“Those advancements have greatly changed how we diagnose, treat and care for our patients,” he added. “But it’s that last element—caring—that maybe has changed the least. For health care remains intimate and personal. The need for a physician’s caring relationship with her patients is timeless.”
Learn more from Dr. Madara about how the AMA lived up to its mission during COVID-19 and has plans to do so for decades to come.
Dr. Harmon: U.S. must renew commitment to physicians
Since the last time the AMA House of Delegates gathered in person in 2019, there have been stimulus checks, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, along with several other COVID-19 related relief efforts sent from Washington.
Now the AMA has developed its own plan to help physicians and their practices recover from the hardships of the pandemic.
“It’s physicians who are rising to this moment—day after day,” AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, said in his address at the opening session of the Annual Meeting.
“It’s physicians our nation turns to—for answers, for treatment, for help,” said Dr. Harmon, a family physician in South Carolina. “You’ve taken care of our nation—at great personal sacrifice—and it’s time our nation renews its commitment to you.”
Read from Dr. Harmon about the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.
These essentials will help you get the most out of the meeting.
Follow the meeting on social media
Highlights of the meeting’s key moments and House of Delegates policy actions will be posted daily at the AMA website, the 2022 AMA Annual Meeting website, and the AMA’s Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter account using #AMAmtg.
8 issues to watch at 2022 AMA Annual Meeting
Hundreds of physicians and medical students have gathered at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for the 2022 AMA Annual Meeting to consider proposals across a wide range of clinical practice, payment, medical education and public health topics. The meeting opens today and runs through Wednesday, June 15.
Among the notable issues that will be addressed are these eight:
- Addressing public health disinformation by health professionals.
- Regulating ghost guns.
- Declaring climate change a public health crisis.
- Banning cannabidiol ads in places that children frequent.
- Preventing loss of insurance coverage after the COVID -19 public health emergency ends.
- Urging the Food and Drug Administration to swiftly review and approve over-the-counter status for oral contraceptives.
- Decreasing bias in evaluations of medical student performance.
- Ensuring accessibility of quality child care for physicians in training.