There is a saying that if the American Medical Association (AMA) did not exist, we would have to invent it. That is just what Dr. Nathan S. Davis did back in 1845 when he called for a national medical convention and laid the foundation for the establishment of the AMA in 1847. This new group would seek scientific advancement, standards for medical education, medical ethics and improved public health. For 170 years, the AMA has brought together specialty societies and state medical associations as the House of Medicine, working to create a healthier future for patients. This includes, recently, partnering with the ACR to create a set of 21 principles for prior authorization reform—just one example of the organization’s work helping rheumatologists.1
Amplify Your Voice
Rheumatology is a relatively small subspecialty, but the AMA is the country’s largest and most visible physician society. Because we have the ability to help guide the AMA’s direction through seats in its House of Delegates, I like to view the AMA as providing rheumatology with a megaphone to amplify our voice at both federal and state levels.
2017 is a particularly critical year for the ACR to have at least 1,000 members of the AMA because we are entering our five-year membership review. To keep our seat in the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) and participate in other activities of the AMA, including the Relative Update Committee (RUC) and the CPT Advisory Committee, at least 1,000 ACR members must be members of the AMA.
We are currently short of this threshold. We cannot afford to be sidelined and lose our voice at this critical juncture. We must protect our members and our subspecialty, as well as our patients’ access to care. I am asking ACR members to join the AMA or renew your membership. We should also encourage our friends and colleagues to join or renew their membership in 2017.
There’s an old saying that if you don’t have a seat at the table, you may be on the menu. Let’s protect our seat at the AMA HOD table by having a thriving and active membership in the AMA. This will also ensure rheumatology’s participation in the AMA RUC and CPT processes.
As you may know, the HOD is the policy-making arm of the AMA. Delegates represent all 50 states and more than 170 specialty societies, including the ACR. The HOD meets twice a year, and each year the ACR’s delegates bring at least one or two resolutions to the table for consideration. Resolutions have the potential to become official policy of the AMA or directives that determine where the AMA focuses its efforts.