The American Medical Association's 2020 Annual Meeting planned for June in Chicago has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AMA said the decision came as government mandates prohibit large-scale gatherings in Chicago and travel restrictions are in place elsewhere throughout the country. They also said the cancellation was due to the demands the pandemic response is placing on physicians and the health care system at large.
“While this was a difficult decision, it was necessary based on the science and guidance around COVID-19. The AMA Board does not expect conditions to improve to a point where we could feasibly hold the planned in-person meeting in early June and assemble the quorum necessary to conduct business,” said AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD in a statement. “Many uncertainties remain for all of us as we move into the next phase of the pandemic, which is likely to put continued extraordinary stress on our patients, practices, training programs and the entire healthcare system.”
The annual meeting allows the medical group to convene around certain major topics. For instance, last June, the AMA's House of Delegates called for increased oversight with more state regulation and greater transparency as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play an increasing role not only in drug pricing but also in administering patient drug benefits. The AMA also adopted a plan to help bring national attention to what it says is an epidemic of violence against the transgender community, voted to support giving mature minors the ability to consent to vaccinations and passed a policy acknowledging the unique and critical role doctors have in preventing human trafficking.
The year before, the AMA tackled issues from gun violence to drug shortages to pay inequity.
Under AMA bylaws, the election planned for the June meeting will also be suspended and those in office will remain in their positions until the next meeting of the House of Delegates. The AMA board anticipates convening a special virtual meeting of the House of Delegates once conditions have improved.