Rheumatology is a relatively small subspecialty, but our patients need us to be strong advocates for them, ensuring access to the care they need. That’s why the ACR is calling on all of our members to join the American Medical Association (AMA) or renew your membership. Without a unified voice, we have no voice.
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We’ve heard the criticisms, but “the AMA is the largest physician organization and convener of all physician voices,” says Gary Bryant, MD, FACP. Thus, as 2017 unfolds, the ACR must leverage its advocacy agenda by maintaining its seat at the AMA’s House of Delegates (HOD), which provides the ACR with a much-needed megaphone to amplify our voice at federal and state levels. Dr. Bryant also chairs the ACR’s delegation to the HOD.
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.
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.
Membership in the AMA also has significant benefits for individual practitioners. To start with, a portion of your AMA dues may be considered tax deductible as a business expense, although you should check with a CPA to be certain. AMA membership dues range from $20 for first-year students to $420 for established practitioners. This investment in the future of rheumatology also comes with access to AMA member benefits and discounts that may save you more than the cost of your annual dues. For example:
- Insurance discounts: AMA members are eligible for a variety of life, health, dental, disability, home and auto insurance policies with premium credits and discounts on select plans.
- Auto discounts: AMA members can save between $500 and $3,500 on the purchase or lease of a new Mercedes-Benz or Smart Car, up to 25% off Hertz car rentals (with code CDP#11635) and up to 7% off rentals through Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental.
- Student loan refinancing: AMA members may be able to save thousands on student debt by refinancing to a lower rate, and will receive a $420 bonus after completing the refinancing process.
Additionally, membership in the AMA provides access to unique continuing medical education (CME) activities, short-term paid and volunteer opportunities, and regular journals and publications. Contact AMA Member Services at (800) 262-3211 with any questions about AMA membership, benefits, products or services. Or you can email a member service representative at [email protected].