AMA tackles issues from gun violence to drug shortages to pay inequity

Male doctor in white lab coat
Doctors weighed in on controversial issues at the American Medical Association's annual conference. (Getty/Saklakova)

The country’s largest doctors group weighed in on a number of major and controversial topics this week, touching on issues ranging from gun violence to drug shortages to pay inequity.

Here's a look at some of the topics that delegates to the American Medical Association tackled at the organization’s annual meeting, which wrapped up Wednesday.

Gun violence

Delegates voted to support a number of measures to stop gun violence, including a ban on assault weapons, a ban on bump stocks, endorsement of a proposed ban on the possession of guns and ammunition by people younger than 21, and plans to push for legislation to allow relatives of people who are suicidal or who have threatened violence to seek court-ordered removal of guns from homes.

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Drug shortages

Delegates declared nationwide drug shortages an urgent public health crisis and urged the government to consider such shortages a national security issue and consider vital pharmaceutical production sites as critical infrastructure.

Immigration

Delegates weighed in on the immigration debate, adopting a resolution to oppose the practice of separating migrating children from their caregivers in the absence of immediate physical or emotional threats to the child’s well-being. They directed the AMA to urge the federal government to withdraw its policy of requiring separation of migrating children from their caregivers.

Pay inequity in medicine

Delegates adopted a plan to combat the pay gap between male and female doctors, advancing gender equity in medicine and within the AMA.

Disparities in healthcare

Delegates adopted policies setting health equity as a goal to eliminate disparities in delivery and outcomes that affect racial and ethnic minorities, those with disabilities and other patient populations.

Medicaid lockout provisions

Delegates took a stand against lockout provisions that block Medicaid patients from the program, in response to state Medicaid waivers that bar patients from Medicaid for up to six months for not meeting deadlines or paperwork requirements.

ACA affordability 

Delegates adopted a policy to make insurance coverage under the ACA more affordable by extending the eligibility for premium tax credits and increasing tax credit amounts for young adults.

RELATED: Survey—Most Americans support the right to affordable care but remain pessimistic about ACA's future

EHR training

Delegates said medical students and residents need better training in the use of electronic health records and encouraged medical schools and residency programs to step up efforts.

Physician mental health care

Delegates advocated for changes by state medical boards in asking licensure applicants about their history of treatment for mental health, which can deter physicians from accessing care and contribute to the stigma around mental health care.

Long-term care

Delegates adopted several policies aimed at making long-term care more affordable, including a call for Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medigap to increase benefits.