Nearly 700 physicians, residents and medical students gathered for the November 2020 AMA Special Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) to consider a wide array of proposals to promote medicine and improve public health. As they did in June, the delegates met virtually.

Notable highlights:

  • The House of Delegates voted to make a formal section, the AMA Private Practice Physicians Section, to amplify the voice of this group of physicians in the house of medicine.
     
  • New policy advocates for a public option with a goal to increase competition within private insurance -- modern policy which will help the AMA discuss options with the incoming Biden administration.
     
  • A policy asks 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. The Colorado delegation strongly advocated for this policy.
     
  • A new policy recognizes racism as a public health threat and commits to actively work on dismantling racist policies and practices across all of health care. CMS leaders Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, MD, and Jeremy Lazarus, MD, will participate in an interview on this policy in early December on Colorado Public Radio's Colorado Matters program.
     
  • Two new policies recognize race as a social construct — rather than a biological construct. The policies aim to advance data-driven, anti-racist concepts challenging the current clinical application of race and its effects on vulnerable patient populations.
     
  • With misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine development process circulating widely, a new policy is aimed at educating physicians on speaking with patients about COVID-19 vaccination, bearing in mind the historical context of “experimentation” with vaccines and other medication in communities of color, and providing physicians with culturally appropriate patient education materials.
     
  • A policy advocates for expanded federal funding for states to improve access to evidence-based addiction treatment — a major barrier for the more than 2 million Americans with an untreated substance use disorder. 
     
  • AMA continues to oppose the legalization of marijuana in new states and also calls over more stringent regulation of marijuana where it is legal.
     
  • AMA CEJA issued a report on how physicians and systems should deal with discriminatory behavior by patients against physicians.
     
  • CMS member and HOD Delegate Ethan Lazarus, MD, composed and orchestrated a song used in the closing of the House of Delegates that was accompanied by a photo slideshow of the last in-person AMA meeting. In Dr. Lazarus’ words, “the piece is entitled ‘Remembering Tomorrow’ -- optimistic that we will prevail over COVID-19, even when the end still seems far away; this is a song of hope.” Listen and watch here.

Read the AMA's coverage of the meeting here.

Related:

  • During the MSS meeting, which took place from Nov. 6-8, the MSS considered over 150 items and actively discussed 21 of them. The Colorado student delegation contributed in various ways. Group photo from the Region 1 Business Meeting prior to MSS. Read the student report here.


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