by Colorado Delegation to the American Medical Association
Featured in the July-August 2019 Colorado Medicine Colorado Medicine.
Your Colorado Delegation has returned from an engaged, productive and exciting AMA Annual Meeting, held June 8-12 in Chicago.
Depicted by the Reference Committee as “the most important resolution of this meeting,” the House of Delegates passed a transformational policy that definitively states that health and health care are basic human rights clarifies the medical profession’s commitment to patients and their communities.
Health, in all its dimensions, is a basic human right.
that our American Medical Association acknowledge that enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, in all its dimensions, including health care is a basic human right (new AMA House of Delegates (HOD) policy); and be it further
that the provision of health care services as well as optimizing the social determinants of health is an ethical obligation of a civil society. (New HOD policy).
The policy is a value statement and does not endorse any system or approach for delivering health care, but definitively places the AMA as the champion of patients. As health and health care consume more of the societal debate, the AMA having a true “north star” will allow physicians to have a constructive voice in the discussion. The AMA has also taken the bold step of suing HHS on the “gag rule” in Title X (AMA v. Azar Case 6:19-cv-00318-MC). While the AMA has been active in providing assistance to states and on federal issues with persuasive amicus briefs, the AMA took a firm stand against the recent federal rule that prohibited physicians from counseling or referring their patients according to their best medical judgment. The detailed presentation in federal court resulted in a national injunction while the rule travels through the courts.
Your delegates continue to advocate for you and your patients, forging relationships and policy and providing Colorado’s experience as a guide for the rest the country.
Colorado delegates elected to national positions:
- Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, MD, was elected to the Council on Science and Public Health.
- Jan Kief, MD, was appointed to the Council on Long Range Planning and Development.
- Medical student Adam Panzer was elected as medical student section delegate and Halea Meese was elected medical student regional delegation chair. Panzer, Meese and Iris Burgard (MSS Region 1 alternate delegate) served as a bridge between the state delegation physician and medical student members.
All of these positions provide opportunities to meet with the leaders, movers and shakers at the AMA.
Delegates’ accomplishments in policy:
- The prior example of Carolynn Francavilla, MD, of “patient-first language” for patients with obesity was followed by new policy on “patient-first language” for people who have medical conditions or disabilities.
- Katie Lozano, MD, FACR, spoke in strong support of this new policy as it reflects how we should talk and think about patients and colleagues as people rather than as demonstrators of disease states. She continues to serve in her elected leadership position on the executive committee of the Radiology Section Council.
- Lee Morgan, MD, and Brigitta Robinson, MD, continued to carry the voice of Colorado to our 14-state coalition of PacWest, providing leadership in the Council on Campaigns for the coalition.
- Morgan also maintains her gracious and conscientious mentorship as chair of both the Colorado Delegation and as a section leader of five states in PacWest.
- David Downs, MD, FACP, testified persuasively on the need to remove barriers in the system to integrate mental health with primary care.
- Michael Volz, MD, was involved in representing Colorado and PacWest in addressing various administrative issues facing medicine while also broadening his participation with the Chest-Allergy Caucus as well as the Internal Medicine Caucus.
- Rachelle Klammer, MD, an unsung hero of the election process for Osbourne-Roberts, continued to liaise for the Young Physician Section as well as her emergency department colleagues.
- Lynn Parry, MD, met with the Neuroscience Caucus and the Neurology Section as well as provided compelling testimony in strong support of the resolution that Health Care is a Right.
- Deb Parsons, MD, CMS President, attended and shone in the inaugural ceremony for AMA President Patrice Harris, MD, a psychiatrist from Atlanta, who became the 174th president of the AMA and the organization’s first African-American woman to hold this position.
The AMA HOD continues to increase in diversity in many ways resulting in many resolutions and efforts to optimize patient access and care while improving the ability of physicians to provide care as trained. These topics covered broad territory from further supporting efforts on improving the opioid crisis to reducing the many administrative burdens for health care providers.