The American Medical Association (AMA) is arguably the most visible name in organized medicine. In the past, the AMA and ACR have been at odds, specifically over self-referral. But the AMA remains an important organization for radiology.
The AMA annual meeting was held in Chicago June 7-11, 2014. Two important resolutions illustrate our need to be involved. The first resolution supported CT lung cancer screening. It was originally referred back to the board by the reference committee. This would have effectively sidestepped the opportunity for the AMA to make a statement and influence CMS policy. Instead, a grassroots effort at the House of Delegates brought the matter to debate. There was overwhelming testimony for the AMA to adopt the resolution. The final successful outcome was the result of hard work and lobbying by the radiology delegation and our AMA friends.
Another resolution recommended reapportionment residency slots along the lines of “critical needs”. This would have transferred slots from specialties to primary care. Due to testimony and lobbying, the resolution was amended to add primary care residency slots as needed, rather than slicing from other specialties.
Advocacy means having a strong presence at multiple levels, including organized medicine. Unfortunately, while we have a strong membership in radiology organizations, we do not do as good a job in the AMA. With new rules, we are at risk of losing additional delegates. Consider joining the AMA today. Designate the ACR as your representative specialty organization. Have radiology represented at your state medical associations. Aim to have a radiologist as part of your state delegation. It does make a difference.
Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR