Well, another Virtual AMA Meeting has come and gone…and most of us are glad that it’s finished. This was our second virtual meeting and we now know that both the 2021 State Legislative Meeting and the National Advocacy Conference will be virtual.
The meeting was long and awkward, but we all survived and some even thrived in this uneasy environment. We congratulate the Speakers for their long hours and great work, both on and off camera. On camera, they were superb at projecting a pleasant and mostly inscrutable demeanor. Floor speeches often took forever and debate seemed interminable. Even though only about 15 Resolutions were actually debated, the process took over 16 hours. Good thing the Speaker, our own Dr. Bruce Scott, had the wisdom and foresight to appoint an oversight Resolution Committee that screened the about 130 Resolutions submitted, so that only the most important and/or the most urgent were accepted. The Resolution Committee did very well, as NONE of their recommendations were overturned by the House. The Reference Committees also did well as only a few of their decisions were extracted for debate.
Your leadership believes the SED has learned much about computer meetings and can thrive going forward. In particular, we encourage more use of the Reference Committee online forums (https://www.ama-assn.org/house-delegates/special-meeting/business-november-2020-special-meeting-ama-house-delegates#online-forums-reports-resolutions-and-testimony) as both the AMA staff and Reference Committees gave these forums more attention and influence than in times past. Consider, after careful edits, entering your state resolution reports, probably restricted to key Resolutions, into these forums for future meetings. For verbal on camera testimony or debate, we encourage written prepared remarks unless you are a very experienced speaker. We encourage attention to technical camera details such as position, dress and appearance, lighting, etc.
We also firmly believe that the AMA is better served, as a whole, by in person meetings that allow both for personal and political interaction, and for direct policy dialog with face-to-face discussion and compromise. We further believe we cannot keep electing key AMA leadership on the basis of internet appearance and well scripted biographies. However, we probably are entering a world of hybrid meetings, with combined in-person and computer dynamic. Our chair-elect, Dr. John Poole, is on the Speakers' Elections Task Force that will sort through much of this.
This meeting the major emphasis of New House Policy was focused on the social aspects of health, on Telehealth issues, on COVID-19 issues, and on Health System Reform under the new DC Administration. The time spent was well worth the effort; we finally delineated a list of important AMA policy positions for the AMA staff and lobbyists to promote in DC, and elsewhere. See https://www.ama-assn.org/house-delegates/special-meeting for debated issues and official AMA Press releases on these and other policy decisions.
The SED also was ably represented by our Resolutions Committee chaired by Drs. Christopher Gribben and Bill Reha; most SED Resolutions were successful, accepted on Consent Calendars or amended. View their Report on SED Resolutions here.
We credit our SED colleagues serving on the actual Reference Committees: Drs. Jorge Alsip, Luis Alvarado, John Antalis, Ankush Bansal (Chair of Reference Committee D), David Bensema, Karen Dionesotes, Tracey Henry, Woody Jenkins, Thomas Peters, Bill Reha, Peter Reinstein, John David Scott, and Raymond Tu. They have the patience, and now the experience, of Job!
We hope to see you in June in Chicago. BUT BE AWARE the June meeting is subject to the policies of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois and that the AMA has to make location decisions months and sometimes years in advance. SO….we might be fated to another Virtual Annual AMA Meeting. The usual financial report has little to show since the last two meetings were both Virtual, but you can certainly make enquires to Dr. Janice Tildon-Burton or Karen Foy.
Stay safe and enjoy the yearend Holidays with family and friends; even travel a bit, if you can.
Claudette Dalton, MD, Chair (VA)
John Poole, MD, Chair-elect (NJ)
Bill Clark, MD, Immediate Past Chair (GA)
Clay Hays, MD, Vice Chair (MS)
Stephen Imbeau, MD, SED Newsletter Editor (SC)