As the result of years of coalition work with partners at the American Medical Association (AMA), the ACR recently celebrated a major advocacy win when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced an investigation of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) business practices.
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This is just one successful example of why the ACR maintains a professional connection with AMA through the AMA House of Delegates, in which ACR currently holds delegate seats to propose resolutions like the ones that drove PBM-related polices.
The AMA is the largest group representing physicians in the U.S. and has tremendous advocacy resources to advance issues at both the federal and state levels. These issues include those important to rheumatology, such as reining in prior authorizations, reforming other payer and PBM practices, supporting workforce expansion and improving patient access to care in underserved areas.
“I have seen that the AMA is not a monolith; it is a parliamentary body that represents the views of its membership,” says Young Physician Section member Luke Barré, MD, MPH, RhMSUS. “Despite being a small specialty that frequently deals with rare diseases, our strong membership has made rheumatology an important voice at the AMA to raise issues that affect rheumatology as a specialty and our patients.”
The ACR can hold seats at the AMA table only if enough ACR members are also members of the AMA. The headcounts to determine eligibility for AMA House of Delegate representation are done every five years, and 2022 is one of those years.
Physician members of the ACR must join the AMA or renew their membership before Sept. 1, to be counted.
Why Updating Your AMA Membership Matters
Physician members can help the ACR maintain a strong advocacy voice by making sure their AMA membership is current, renewing AMA membership if it has lapsed, or joining the AMA, which can be completed online or by calling the AMA at (800) 262-3211.
The ACR estimates it needs over 1,300 ACR members who also belong to the AMA to keep rheumatology’s seats in the AMA House of Delegates, as well as to keep representation on the AMA Relative Update Committee (RUC) and the AMA CPT Advisory Committee.
The ACR’s current AMA delegation includes two delegates (Gary Bryant, MD, MACR, and Eileen Moynihan, MD), two alternate delegates (Cristina Arriens, MD, MSCS, and Colin Edgerton, MD), two Young Physician Section members (Dr. Barré and Christina Downey, MD), and one Resident/Fellow Section member (Rami Diab, MD). The delegates participate in two AMA HOD meetings per year (annual and interim) to discuss issues that are important to the rheumatology community and submit resolutions, explains Dr. Bryant. Resolutions that are accepted as AMA policy become part of the AMA’s official advocacy agenda, with varying levels of monetary support used to influence decisions in Congress, state legislatures and other key groups.