Message from the AMA Interim Meeting
I recently had the honor of representing Kentucky in the House of Delegates at the 2018 AMA Interim Meeting on the outskirts of our nation’s capital. We debated and voted on proposed Resolutions on a wide variety of issues relevant to our profession and the patients we care for. I was heartened that we addressed the issue of harassment in our profession and our AMA head-on, reaffirming zero tolerance for sexual and other forms of harrassment, providing direction for the AMA Leadership to address this timely issue.
As we continued through our deliberations I was deeply impressed with how deeply divided intelligent, informed, and committed individuals can be on some issues, yet debate them civilly and with great respect for opposing positions, and abide and advocate for the will of the House once a vote has been taken.
Our membership, both at the state level and nationally is diverse and I doubt that anyone will agree with every action taken by the House of Delegates, but the AMA is still the most fully representative body for our profession and the most influential at the national level. The increased involvement of the American College of Surgeons and other specialty organizations attests to the rising relevance and impact of the AMA. It is not productive to dwell on errors and perceived missteps of the past. I would encourage all of us to look to the future and join our KMA and AMA in creating an environment that provides the best care and support for our patients and our profession.
Our AMA and the Delegates representing our respective states and specialty societies are relevant, deserving of support, and committed to representing all who participate in our health care system. I was excited to complete the work we had been sent to do and am pleased to have the opportunity to report back to our members. With our work on addressing harassment as a start, I am proud to share some of the outcomes of our efforts.
- Support for Primary Care and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), including advocating for financial assistance and other resources from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) all payers.
- Endorse efforts to promote the importance of AED use and public awareness of AED locations, including integrating AED sites into widely available mobile maps and apps.
- Support and advocate for funding to modernize 911 infrastructure to include incorporation of IP-based and text-to-911 technology, acknowledging that now more than 70 percent of 911 calls are made from cellphones.
- Support efforts to reduce gun violence through an improved background check system, a ban on 3D-printed firearms, and stronger measures to address people arrested for or convicted of domestic violence or stalking.
- Advocate for better data gathering and analysis to better understand patterns linked to physician and medical student suicide, to aid in developing better prevention mechanisms.
- Advocate for increased access to timely medical forensic examinations in emergency departments to support survivors of sexual assault and improve offender prosecution.
- Encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop means to reduce misleading labeling tactics and increase transparency of food companies.
- State that HIV testing and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) should be offered to all survivors of sexual assault, who present within 72 hours of a substantial exposure risk.
- Support legislative or policy changes that streamline, simplify and reduce or eliminate the cost of obtaining identification cards for the homeless population with a goal of reducing barriers to accessing medical care and fundamental services that support health.
- Work with the FDA to counteract the marketing and use of e-cigarettes, including but not limited to bans and strict restrictions on marketing to minors under the age of 21.
- Support the in-person importation of Canadian prescription drugs if safety can be assured.
For a complete compilation of the Resolutions passed at this Interim Session go to www.ama-assn.org.
I am grateful for the opportunity to represent our KMA and you, my colleagues and friends, at the AMA. As Dr. Ardis Hoven first noted, we are a “small but mighty” delegation. We are represented at the highest levels of AMA leadership by Dr. Bruce Scott as Vice-Speaker, Dr. J. Gregory Cooper as Immediate Past-Chair of the Southeast Delegation, Dr. Kevin Reilly on Council on Constitution and Bylaws, Dr. Steven Stack as Past-President 2015-16, and Dr. Ardis Hoven as Past-President 2013-14. Please make membership in the AMA a New Year’s Resolution of your own and advocate for your colleagues to join you.
Together We Are Stronger,
David J. Bensema, MD
Delegate from Kentucky