Academy to Seek Representation in the AMA’s House of Delegates

IN THIS ISSUE: APA Statement | Advanced Practice Providers | House of Delegates | A&E Abstracts and Extracts

Academy to Seek Representation in the AMA’s House of Delegates

ACLP members encouraged to join the AMA to support application

This year, ACLP is eligible to apply for representation in the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates – and we need Academy members to join the AMA.

To date, L. Lee Tynes, MD, PhD, FACLP, has represented the Academy in the largest caucus of the AMA, the Specialty and Service Society (SSS)—which ACLP News featured in a 2021 edition here.


L. Lee Tynes, MD, PhD, FACLP
L. Lee Tynes, MD, PhD, FACLP

The AMA, founded in 1847, has more than 240,000 physician and medical student members. Its prime governing body, the House of Delegates, comprises representatives of state medical societies and other prominent entities.

Organizations represented in the SSS must serve three years before they are eligible to seek admission to the House of Delegates. The House has well over 600 voting delegates (and a corresponding number of alternate delegates) from more than 170 medical societies.

Including invited non-voting observers, approximately 800 people attend each business meeting of the House, spanning five days.

Periodically, ACLP along with other organisations are invited to co-sign AMA statements on policy decisions. As a member of the House, the Academy’s representative would be entitled to speak on policy and vote for its acceptance or rejection.

Apart from the three-year SSS representation, which the Academy has completed, applicants for membership of the House also need to show they have within their ranks a percentage of individuals who are also AMA members.

Consequently, ACLP is encouraging its members, where possible, to join the AMA if they are not already members.

Here, Dr. Tynes outlines the values of the AMA and benefits of individual membership:

Why would ACLP members elect to also join the AMA?  

There are a number of reasons to consider it for physicians of any stripe. One of the big ones is education. Access to JAMA and the JAMA family of journals from different specialties (including JAMA Psychiatry), provides a wealth of resources for up-to-date medical education.

The AMA Ed Hub takes it a step further containing thousands of resources and courses useful for your CME requirements, available on any type of device, and including trusted resources like the AMA Steps Forward program (modules addressing physician practice and burnout), American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the AMA Center for Health Equity.

Annual educational events such as the American Conference on Physician Health, ChangeMedEd, and the State Advocacy Summit bring together physicians, residents, and students to explore more deeply these specialized topics. Online access to AMA webinars, town halls, and workshops round out the practice improvement opportunities.

There are also numerous discounts on services and retail purchases, as well as other benefits, but the most compelling reason for an ACLP member to consider AMA membership is representation and advocacy in the ‘House of Medicine’ and beyond. The AMA is arguably one of the big players in advocacy for physicians, at both federal and state level, evidenced recently by its investment in efforts committed to reforming Medicare payment, fixing prior authorization, reducing physician burnout, and supporting telehealth. Just becoming a member means supporting these and other efforts in pursuit of improving our practice and our professional lives.

But for the ACLP, it means just a little bit more. AMA policy and subsequently its advocacy agenda is heavily shaped by the House of Delegates that meets twice per year to generate, discuss, and endorse policy. The AMA counts on the 600-plus House members, representing specialties and organizations across the spectrum of medicine, to guide and direct their energies.

Roughly, 20 years ago, organized psychiatry recognized the need to be at that table. As a result of the APA’s strategic planning, there is now a sizeable membership in the Section Council on Psychiatry and the Psychiatry Caucus (psychiatrists from across organizations, agencies, and subspecialties) that coordinate efforts together to maximize the voice of Psychiatry in ‘the House’. There is no other venue that gives us the opportunity to consort with other medical specialty organizations and psychiatric subspecialty groups all under one roof, combining efforts to ensure that Psychiatry’s perspective is considered when crafting AMA policy and position. 

A recent example of such an effort was a resolution put forward by a surgery group to codify AMA’s support of medical specialty boards that meet certain requirements and to promote those boards as the gold standard to organizations, government, and hospitals. The Psychiatry delegation felt this would potentially restrict the freedom of psychiatrists who wish to pursue non-ABMS board certification. Our testimony was critical in sending this resolution back for more study and refinement. Read more about this issue here.

If a significant number of ACLP members are also AMA members, we will be eligible for a voting seat in the House and not only will join the APA and other groups in the Section Council to promote the interests of psychiatrists and our patients, but will also be positioned to create and support AMA advocacy policy that is of specific importance to C-L psychiatrists, including issues that cross medical specialty boundaries. Our presence in the AMA House of Delegates will reap benefits that transcend even the myriad of reasons for an individual C-L psychiatrist to consider joining, collectively providing a place at the table for C-L Psychiatry to help shape the future of medicine and our place in it.

Many recent political decisions affect physicians, their patients, and the delivery of health care in this country. Many members of ACLP have inquired about how to have a voice in these decisions. AMA offers this opportunity.

AMA membership details are here.

Recommended reading: It’s Not Our Grandfathers’ AMA: Two Physicians Share Psychiatry’s Important Role in AMA’s Evolution


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