By Stephen D. Tharp, MD
AMA Delegation Chair
The American Medical Association (AMA) Interim Meeting was held from Nov. 10 to Nov. 13 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center just outside of Washington, D.C. This was an exceptional year for our delegation, with 14 resolutions considered from Indiana.
After consideration by the House of Delegates, five of our resolutions were considered reaffirmations of existing AMA policy. They were:
Resolution 219 Promotion and Education
Resolution 813 Direct Primary Care
Health Savings Account Clarification
Resolution 815 Uncompensated
Resolution 816 Medicare Advantage
Resolution 817 Increased
Reimbursement for Psychiatric Services
In addition, Resolution 219 was adopted, officially objecting to the inappropriate use
of psychotropic drugs in immigrant children. Other Indiana resolutions that were adopted included Supporting Mental Health Training for Corrections Officers and Increasing Labeling Visibility of the 8 Major Allergens Present in Foods.
The following issues were among those referred to the AMA Board of Trustees (BOT) for further investigation. Increasing concerns for students and young physicians led to resolutions to ensure that medical students be taught by physicians (MDs or DOs), rather than mid-level practitioners. The number of residency positions was also addressed. We have succeeded in increasing the number of graduating medical students, adding pressure to have an adequate number of residency positions available. This is also complicated by increasing numbers of offshore medical school graduates, many of whom are U.S. citizens.
Our medical students brought a resolution to form a Suicide Prevention Committee to address the problem of suicide and mental health issues in medical students and physicians. This resolution was well-received but would require significant resources. Referrals to the BOT are often sent to the appropriate council ( Council on Medical Education, Council on Constitution and Bylaws, Council on Medical Service, or Council on Science and Public Health) for a report and recommendations.
This meeting’s most unexpected development started in the Reference Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, with several members relating episodes of sexual harassment at AMA meetings. The result was the introduction of an Emergency Resolution:
RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association immediately engage outside consultants to evaluate current processes and, as needed, implement new processes for the evaluation and adjudication of sexual and non-sexual harassment claims involving staff, members, or both with report back regarding said processes and implementation at the 2019 Annual Meeting.
As Chair of your delegation to the AMA, on behalf of the entire delegation, I thank you, the members of the Indiana State Medical Association, for the privilege of representing you at the national level.