by Alicia Reiss, MD, YPS Councilor (General Surgery) and Andrew Rudawsky, MD, YPS Delegate (Emergency Medicine)
At the November Special Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA), the Young Physicians Section (YPS) testified on 17 items of business that were considered by the AMA House of Delegates (HOD). The YPS testified on many significant issues, including structural racism across the nation, expanded telemedicine regulations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and bullying in the practice of medicine.
The AMA adopted policy stating that racism is a serious threat to public health, to the advancement of health equity, and a barrier to appropriate medical care. It was also recognized that race is a social construct and is distinct from ethnicity, genetic ancestry, or biology. The AMA will support ending the practice of using race as a proxy for biology or genetics in medical education, research, and clinical practice.
Telemedicine has expanded dramatically in the past year. The AMA will continue to advocate for adoption of telehealth services. The AMA will also advocate for equitable coverage for telehealth services wherever the patient is located. As this issue may impact licensure, liability and reimbursement, these issues were referred for a report back to the HOD in 2021. In the interim, the AMA will advocate for continuing reimbursement for the expanded telehealth services that arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bullying in the practice of medicine arose from a YPS drafted resolution. The resolution was referred to the Board of Trustees who generated a great report. The AMA will define “workplace bullying” as repeated, emotionally or physically abusive, disrespectful, disruptive, inappropriate, insulting, intimidating, and/or threatening behavior targeted at a specific individual or a group of individuals that manifests from a real or perceived power imbalance and is often, but not always, intended to control, embarrass, undermine, threaten, or otherwise harm the target. The AMA will encourage hospitals and medical staffs to create policies to address bullying. Part of this report also identifies items that should be addressed in these new policies.
A complete list of final HOD actions on items of business can be found on the AMA HOD website: