Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Grunt Doc posted about the AMA's requirement that the ACEP increase the numbers of its members that are also members of the AMA. If not, the ACEP may lose some of its members of the House of Delegates. Cough...cough...extortion...cough.....excuse me. His comments are worth reading. I won't soil his fine comment page with anything I would have to say, so I will rant on my own real estate. I agree with Grunt Doc that my specialty college (ACS) is more worthy of my support than is the AMA. In the town where I practice there is a "generation gap" in how useful the AMA is perceived to be. Many of the older physicians feel that the AMA is quite beneficial and are active members, while the younger physicians have little use for it.
I feel that this is due to the economic pressures on medicine. The Medicare pie is getting smaller and the AMA can't seem to keep it from happening. Physicians know that their specialty societies will look out for their interests and the interests of their patients. I know the ACS is fighting against further reimbursement cuts for the things I do. I know that this leads to the "balkanization" of physicians as one of the commentary wrote, but the AMA hasn't been perceived to be able to deliver the goods, which is not the case with the specialty societies.
So, do we light a candle or rage against the darkness? As Dr. Lacsamana writes:

If you are critical of AMA leadership and its goals, you can do something. Join your county and state medical societies, participate actively, and elect those who you feel can do the job. But that is always how it has been done for years. Even better, you can even have your society sponsor your candidacy, and I am certain they would elect you as one of its leaders if you can convince your colleagues you have something better than what the current leadership is doing

When a physician is forced to turn his practice into a volume business, squeezing in as many 15 minute patient visits as you can during the day, several hours devoted to chasing down paperwork, and then rounding at the hospital(s) how can they find time to participate, much less "participate actively"? I have better uses for my time and my money.
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