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Help AAHPM Retain its Voice in the House of Medicine: Save our Seat in the AMA

Are you concerned about the future of medical education, the ability of physicians to practice without undue intrusion into medical decision-making, or reimbursement under emerging health care payment and delivery models? AAHPM is fighting for its members, but we can't do it alone. That's why the Academy has been a proud partner of the American Medical Association (AMA) for over a decade. However, AAHPM's representation in the AMA is now in jeopardy – and we need physician members to step forward and help save our seat in the AMA.

AAHPM on Probation
The Academy's representation in the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) is dependent on demonstrating compliance with guidelines established for national medical specialty organizations, including having a minimum number of AAHPM members who belong to the AMA. Following its latest five-year review, AAHPM fell short of the required 20% threshold, with only 15% of eligible Academy members listed as AMA members. As a result, in June 2013 AAHPM was put on a one-year probation, and the Academy's membership status will be re-assessed this Spring. If AAHPM does not increase its numbers, we're at risk of losing our representation in the AMA.

How can you help?

Join the AMA by April 1 to ensure AAHPM meets the requirements for representation in the AMA.
Already a member? Don't forget to renew your membership by April 1!
Review these individual benefits of AMA membership and join or renew today!

Be sure your AMA membership is counted!
Complete this brief survey to ensure you are included when AAHPM's membership status is reassessed.

Why does it make a difference?

Benefits of Representation in the AMA
Through representation in the AMA, AAHPM can actually have a great influence on health care policymaking, relative to our size. Moreover, our presence ensures that the unique needs of patients with serious illness or at the end of life are considered as such policies are crafted. Our involvement also helps the Academy meet strategic goals related to increasing awareness of the field. Nowhere else can AAHPM interact with representatives of so many other areas of medicine or speak directly with medical students to promote careers in the field of hospice and palliative medicine.

Representation in the AMA further provides AAHPM with key opportunities to influence public policy, as Congress and the Administration often look to AMA as "the voice of medicine" and negotiate directly with AMA leadership as federal legislation and regulations are crafted. The AMA has the capacity to target a wide variety of issues that impact physician practice and patient access to high-quality health care, and regularly facilitates state and national medical societies coming together to provide joint comment on matters such as Affordable Care Act implementation, payment and delivery reform, and graduate medical education funding.

Looking ahead, as new CPT codes for complex chronic care management and advance care planning move forward, unless a member in good standing of the AMA, AAHPM will be unable to participate on the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) Advisory Committee and help guide this expert panel in developing relative value recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Highlights of AAHPM Involvement in the AMA
AAHPM's delegate, Chad D. Kollas, MD FACP FCLM FAAHPM, is the chair of the AMA's Pain and Palliative Medicine Section Council (PPMSSC), a group encompassing nine specialty societies from addiction medicine to clinical oncology. AAHPM leads these organizations in their examination of issues before the AMA, working to ensure policies under consideration make sense for the patients their members care for and taking joint positions as warranted. Through the PPMSSC, AAHPM has built relationships across specialties and secured support for matters important to advancing palliative medicine:

• In 2011 the Academy was backed by the PPMSSC in seeking AMA's endorsement of AAHPM's candidate to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's Family Medicine Residency Review Committee (RRC) which reviews and accredits all HPM programs. (Each year, the AMA makes recommendations for appointments to the RRCs.) While there had previously been no RRC member with an HPM background, AAHPM's bid was ultimately successful, thanks in part to support provided by PPMSSC member societies.
• In 2013, the PPMSSC endorsed AAHPM member Richard Pieters, MD MEd FACR, in his run for election to the AMA Council on Medical Education. In his winning campaign, Pieters – a radiation oncologist who became board certified in HPM mid-career – highlighted the need to develop opportunities for mid-career training and certification, especially to address physician workforce shortages.

AAHPM, through active participation in the HOD, has also been able to influence policies related to end-of-life decision-making designed to guide physician practice:

• In 2010, the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs presented a report on the ethics of palliative sedation to unconsciousness, but in turn planned to "sunset" an older policy that addressed decisions at the end of life. This older policy included concise definitions of key terms used in palliative care and clear statements about the ethics of withholding and withdrawing care outside of the realm of palliative sedation to unconsciousness. The Academy's AMA delegation testified about the older policy's enduring relevance and, as a result, the HOD retained it as AMA policy.
• In 2010, AMA invited the Academy to help update nine end-of-life policies contained the AMA Code of Medical Ethics. Members of AAHPM's Ethics Committee joined the Academy's AMA delegates to offer this critical feedback.