Physician leaders have pivotal role in moving healthcare forward, AMA leaders say

Doctors talking
AMA leaders say doctors must help solve the country's healthcare problems.

Physicians need to step forward and help solve the country’s healthcare problems, leaders of the American Medical Association said.

Speaking at the 2017 AMA interim meeting in Honolulu over the weekend, leaders of the country’s largest physician organizations took an optimistic view of the future.

“Our voice is a mitigating force for national chaos that we seem to tilt toward as of late,” James L. Madara, AMA executive vice president and CEO, said during an opening session Saturday, according to AMA News.

Physicians need to seize a more central part in shaping healthcare’s future and help solve the legislative, policy and technological challenges that confront doctors and the healthcare system, said Madara.

That will take a team effort, said David O. Barbe, M.D., the AMA’s president, who also spoke at the opening session.

“Every member of the House of Delegates is a physician leader, and each committed to our group mission of promoting the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health,” Barbe said, according to the second AMA News story. “However, our success will be determined by how well we … work together, as a team, to achieve our common goals."

Those goals include fostering practice sustainability and protecting patients’ access to affordable healthcare, as well as battling chronic disease and reshaping medical education to prepare the next generation of physicians, he said.

Both doctors talked about the AMA’s role in protecting patients during the recent battle in Washington over the future of the Affordable Care Act. The AMA was among many physician groups that spoke out against Republican efforts to repeal the ACA, which would have left many patients at risk of losing healthcare insurance coverage.

The AMA delegates are expected to act on a number of proposed policies during its meeting, including the health impact of social media use, balancing screen time and physical activity among children and fostering ethical physician conduct in the media.