The AMA Can’t Wake Up

Teenage girl (13-14) asleep on sofa

The health care system is failing. The assault on the autonomy and integrity – such as it remains – of U.S. doctors is years underway. Patients have more radical premium jacks to look forward to thanks to the tender mercies of Obamacare, even as access will become more difficult. Our national medical programs for the dependent poor and elderly are strangling our future, even as we invite illegals to participate. Doctors are being assaulted with increasing overhead, increasing liabilities, increasing(ly) wasteful MOC garbage, LELT’s, and angrier, dumber patients, leading to the lawyers, always the lawyers…

Into this swirl of very real crises steps the AMA, to deal directly, swiftly, forcefully, compassionately, professionally, and decisively with the salient threat of teen sleep deprivation. In a heroic response to this existential peril, Dr. William Kobler, an AMA board member, declared at this year’s annual meeting, “Sleep deprivation is a growing public health issue affecting our nation’s adolescents, putting them at risk for mental, physical and emotional distress and disorders. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that allowing adolescents more time for sleep at the appropriate hours results in improvements in health, academic performance, behavior, and general well-being.”

Despite their falling numbers and increasing irrelevancy on matters of substance, the media and government officials keep giving the AMA more recognition than is their due; that organization’s useful idiocy gives the media and government some cover in avoiding problems too tough to tackle.

  6 comments for “The AMA Can’t Wake Up

  1. Chris
    July 1, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Anytime someone mentions the AMA I have to tell them the moment I decided never to renew my membership. I think I was in residency (so this was 1997-2000) and breezing through a copy of JAMA and fell upon a study that was published in this supposedly well respected journal. The conclusion of the study was that college students engaged in binge drinking. I thought to myself that if this is what the AMA wasted my money printing I wasn’t going to support it anymore. Curiously I later found out that the same “researchers” published a followup study in JAMA that concluded that when college kids binge drank they got loud and obnoxious and pissed off their neighbors.

  2. Dr Dave
    June 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I can’t blame the society for supporting the AMA I have to blame US. As long as we see a “Boy’s club” as the leadership in our industry then we get exactly what we deserve. ALL the AMA is in realty a boys club were, way back when, a few docs got together to sit and chat about this and that and called it the AMA. We somehow have allowed this social club to be the voice of the docs. SHAME ON THE DOCS!!! We need an organization that doesn’t have the wide scope of issues in burden. Instead of a club that anything remotely mentioning “health” is spoken about but one that has a limited focus and then we need atleast 50% support. Like any democracy the organization needs to speak for the majority of the industry. Right now a minority of docs actually belong and yet the AMA and society accepts anything that comes out of their pie hole as being the words of the majority.
    We need an organization that doesn’t float on the wallets of the members that floats on the need of the members. Organizations that need to create ways to generate cash are made up of people looking to feather their own beds. NO reason why the head of the Internal Medical Board should be making over $600K per year in salary. There are non-physicians who run organizations for less then half that amount and have bodies in the millions representing huge percentages of their industry.
    We need to wake up and not support organized medicine until organized medicine stops feathering its own bed at our expense. As far as the sleep discussion it is a JOKE that with the important issues that SHOULD have been focused on that the AMA would even ALLOW such a nonsensical discussion to be had at a annual meeting That type of nonsense can be discussed in some sub sub committee.
    Dr D

  3. Perry
    June 18, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Anyone care about sleep deprived doctors ?

  4. William Green III MD
    June 18, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Another excellent discussion of why I am NO longer a member of the AMA. They’re just now recognizing that teens are sleep deprived??? Jeez, I could have told them that back when I was a teen.

    After joining the AMA as an “idealistic and hardworking medical student” in 1981, I finally dropped my membership (around 2010), after feeling as if my “dues” were a complete waste of my (increasingly hard earned) money. They have done VERY little to prevent the gradual erosion of our autonomy as physicians, prevent some of the onerous insurance “crap” that we are now having to go through, as well as the recent surge in “MOC documentation/ paperwork”. I’m also really questioning the “benefits” of my continued membership in the various specialty organizations, especially since all they seem “capable” of doing is raising their fees 5-10% per year. They have yet to really effect any “changes” in the “business of medicine”.

    • Randy
      June 18, 2016 at 10:17 am

      After dropping my AMA membership long ago, I decided I should quit complaining about the AMA and put my money and energy where my mouth is. I rejoined, hoping to get involved with some of the decision-making especially that related to Medicare and CMS.

      What I found was if you are a non-minority male solo physician there is no place for you. I e-mailed AMA asking how to get involved and was encouraged to join one of their sub-committees. These committees included ones for medical students, residents, academics, women and minorities. This is not a slam at the young physicians, woman and minorities – it’s great they have their groups to speak for them, but in my experience the AMA has become a mishmash of special interests at the lower levels, and the upper levels an insular group more concerned with its own self-preservation than the preservation of private physicians.

  5. Steve O'
    June 18, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Sadly, everything is going according to plan. Any chance of opposition to American Retail Medicine is swept away. The chain of modern medicine goes: Pharm Manufacturers to Retail Pharmacies to Customer. Anything else in the way is to be crushed.
    That accounts for giving antibiotics for the sniffles, but not for emergency neurosurgery. Don’t worry, there will be a Stage II solution for that, too!
    As long as you can trust the National Retail Chain to hold your health interests above their business, everything will go well.
    I’m afraid it’s time to read the Harvard Brain Death Criteria (a publication, not a faculty orientation manual) and step out of the way.
    Corporations, not individuals, are the Persons of the 21st century. Persons are like intestinal epithelia – work until you are sloughed. Government and Corporations are pretty much the same gig – CMS and CVS are about the same.

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