Just like 2020, the American Medical Association (AMA) Special Meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD) held November 13-17, 2020, in lieu of the Interim Meeting, was anything but normal. Delegations from across the country participated virtually in four HOD sessions and eight reference committees over the five-day period.
The Michigan Delegation’s Leadership team of Mark C. Komorowski, Chair, Paul D. Bozyk, MD, Vice-Chair, and Christie L. Morgan, MD, Secretary/Treasurer, ensured your Delegation to the AMA was well-prepared on the issues and process.
“I am proud of the enthusiasm our Delegation brought to this virtual meeting,” Doctor Komorowski remarked. “Members spoke eloquently in reference committees and before the full HOD on several issues of importance including, but not limited to, GME funding, the future of telehealth, violence, and racism.”
Because the stated purpose of the Special Meeting was to conduct priority and urgent business of the Association, only reports and resolutions determined to meet this standard were considered. Michigan’s Resolution 309, “Preserve and Increase Graduate Medical Education Funding,” met the criteria and was favorably received. Resolution 309 was written in response to concerns attributed to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in late 2019, “Views on Expanding Medicare Graduate Medical Education Funding to Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants.” The Delegation advocated that in an era of physician shortage in which the bottleneck is GME funding, attempts to divert funding and marginalize the importance of physician delivered care are unacceptable. As amended and adopted, Resolution 309 directs the AMA to advocate to appropriate federal agencies and other relevant stakeholders to oppose the diversion of direct and indirect funding away from ACGME accredited graduate medical education funding programs.
Michigan was also well-represented on Reference Committees:
- David T. Walsworth, MD (Ingham) – Chair, Reference Committee C (Medical Education)
- Gunjan Malhotra, MD (Washtenaw) – Member, Reference Committee C (Medical Education)
- E. Christopher Bush, MD – (Wayne), Reference Committee D (Public Health)
- Michael D. Chafty, MD (Kalamazoo) – Chair, Reference Committee F (AMA Finance and Governance)
Key highlights from the AMA Special Meeting include:
- Directing the AMA to institute a program to promote the integrity of a COVID-19 vaccination program which includes physician education on speaking with patients about COVID-19 vaccination; public education regarding the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines; coalition building; and, support for ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that the evidence continues to support safe and effective use of vaccines among recommended populations.
- Adopting standards by which to assess any public option and/or auto-enrollment proposals to expand health insurance coverage.
- Recognizing police brutality as a manifestation of structural racism that disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and other people of color, as well as calling upon the AMA to advocate for laws and regulations that promote "trauma-informed community-based safety practices."
- Directing the AMA to identify a set of current, best practices to recognize, address, and mitigate the effects of racism on patients, providers, international medical graduates, and populations.
- Strengthening exiting policy emphasizing drug shortages as an urgent public health crisis.
- Instructing the AMA to “advocate that all insurance companies and benefit managers that require prior authorization have staff available to process approvals 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays and weekends.”
To learn about additional highlights from the meeting, visit https://www.ama-assn.org/house-delegates/special-meeting/highlights-november-2020-ama-special-meeting.