As some of you know, medical doctors on our editorial board have not been big fans of the American Medical Association (AMA). Some of us even quit this organization. (Medgadget does not have a unified editorial opinion on the AMA, but some of us do have a very negative opinion of the organization.) We’ve been battling the AMA on many fronts: for their obstructive internet practices, for their refusal to serve doctors’ interests, for their waste of money, for their populism of the lowest common denominator, and for their current role of lobbying for the sake of lobbying, hoping to make itself more relevant.
Now comes a stinging editorial from Regina E. Herzlinger, at the Washington Post, that everyone should read:
America’s physicians are the most trusted and valuable resources in our health-care system. Yet doctors’ professionalism and incomes have taken a terrible beating recently. The American Medical Association, which received $286 million in revenue last year to protect the profession, has served physicians poorly.
Physician incomes, when adjusted for inflation, declined 7 percent from 1995 to 2003, while those of professional and technical workers rose. But unlike other professionals — lawyers, architects, authors and economists — doctors’ work is dictated by the policies of insurers and governments. Increasingly, independent physicians, accountable only to their patients and the Hippocratic oath, have been replaced by salaried doctors who are accountable to the hospitals or insurers that employ them…
You might expect that the AMA would fight the insurers, hospitals, government bureaucrats and ivory tower academics who have diminished physicians’ incomes, besmirched their ethical reputations and compromised their professionalism — but you would be wrong. No, instead, at its annual meeting last month, the AMA declared war on retail medical clinics, located in places such as CVS and Wal-Mart.
Read the whole thing, and consider joining some of us in quitting the AMA in protest, for the sake of our profession. Even if you are a medical student, with a free membership, make a statement by rejecting this organization with a great past but a questionable future.
(hat tip: Kevin, M.D.)
Flashbacks: Urgent Action Needed! ; How AMA and Other Societies Abrogate Their Responsibilities; American Medical Association: No Doctors Day Celebrations?