The largest American Medical Association House of Delegates (HOD) ever, with more than 2,500 physicians, convened in Chicago, Illinois in June 2018 for its annual meeting. During the 5 days the House was in session, it passed 172 resolutions. One of the resolutions, aimed at achieving parity between the voting numbers of delegates from specialty societies and state societies, resulted in an increase of the number of specialty delegates. Five new societies were seated in the HOD. These new members included the American Society of Neuroimaging and the North American Neuromodulation Society, both of which also joined the neuroscience caucus (of which AANEM is a member).
AANEM was represented at the meeting by William S. Pease, MD, delegate, and Enrica Arnaudo, MD, PhD, alternate delegate. The AANEM works closely with the delegations from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR). Drs. Pease and Arnaudo also maintain close ties with their state delegations, Ohio and Delaware. The AANEM also participates in the Neurosciences Caucus, which consists of specialty societies concerned with the nervous system. A new caucus, the Mobility Caucus, which AANEM joined, also convened at the meeting.
The HOD tackled a number of important and timely health policy issues, including addressing gun-related violence. It passed policy asking for all gun buyers to be licensed and all guns to be registered. Recommended bans for high capacity magazines were also approved. The HOD restated its policy that schools should be gun-free zones, except for weapons carried by professionals on site.
AANEM, along with AAPMR, supported a resolution out of Texas addressing the issue of technology needs of persons with disabilities. The AMA will be asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to divide complex power wheelchairs and other assistive technology from the general group of durable medical equipment (DME) items. The resolution suggested the new category be referred to as “complex rehabilitation technology.”
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, gave an inspirational speech arguing for civil discussion on issues critical to help our patients. The surgeon general’s talk centered on the need to remove the stigma associated with substance-use disorders, increase access to medication-assisted treatment, and to widen the availability of opioid overdose antidote naloxone. He left the HOD with the message that the use of naloxone should be “normalized.”
Barbara McAneny, MD, an oncologist/hematologist from New Mexico, took the helm as the new president of the AMA. Patrice Harris, MD, a psychiatrist from Atlanta, was chosen as the president-elect.