Annual Meeting

Highlights from the 2024 AMA Annual Meeting

Kevin B. O'Reilly , Senior News Editor

Catch up with the news and other key moments from the AMA House of Delegates’ meeting in Chicago. The 2024 AMA Annual Meeting concluded June 12. 

The meeting highlights below would not have been possible without writing and reporting by AMA Senior News Writers Sara BergBrendan Murphy and Andis Robeznieks

Special thanks to Ted Grudzinski and Barbara Freeman for their many great shots of the House of Delegates in action. 

The delegates will next meet in November for the 2024 AMA Interim Meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Find out more about AMA virtual and in-person events

Why Medicare pay reform is the AMA’s top advocacy priority

Just months after Congress again failed to stop in its entirety a pay cut that threatens Medicare patients’ access to high-quality physician care, the House of Delegates made crystal clear the imperative to step up the pressure on the nation’s lawmakers and boost patient awareness about the dire need for Medicare payment reform.

This direction from the HOD bolsters the AMA’s aggressive efforts in leading the charge to reform the Medicare payment system.

The AMA is relentless in working to advance comprehensive fixes to the unsustainable Medicare physician payment system. Among the fixes is H.R. 2474, the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act. This bipartisan legislation would provide physicians with an annual, permanent inflationary payment update in Medicare tied to the Medicare Economic Index.

In his final address to the HOD as AMA president, Wisconsin anesthesiologist Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, called out the AMA’s work to reform Medicare payment.

“Reforming our broken Medicare payment system that punishes doctors for being doctors is why we fight. Medicare reimbursement has plummeted 29% [PDF] since I was in medical school,” he said, referring to the impact to the pay rate after adjusting for inflation.

“Medicare reform is our top advocacy priority because it’s crippling the sustainability of physician practices, threatening patient access to care, and choking the pipeline for future physicians."

Learn how the AMA is building momentum toward significant reform of Medicare pay, including MIPS.

AMA steps up to fight scope creep that threatens patient safety

With a raft of actions at the Annual Meeting, delegates built upon the AMA’s longstanding and successful efforts to fight scope creep and defend the practice of medicine against scope of practice expansions that threaten patient safety.

Find out how, with direction from the House of Delegates, the AMA will move to tackle the growing phenomenon of specialty switches among nonphysician providers, support physician-led care in the emergency department, and fight efforts by dentists and dental hygienists to perform medical procedures related to fillers and neurotoxins. Such intravascular injection can carry a higher risk of filler embolization, necrosis, visual abnormalities, blindness and stroke.

Get more detail on how delegates have bolstered the AMA's aggressive advocacy to fight for patients and physicians by stopping scope creep.

You are why we fight

The AMA is your powerful ally, focused on addressing the issues important to you, so you can focus on what matters most—patients.

Make sure telehealth has a strong future

Nearly 70% of physicians want to continue providing telemedicine services. Paying for telemedicine services means greater convenience for patients and less need to use petroleum-powered vehicles for patients’ and doctors’ transit from their homes to physicians’ offices, says a resolution introduced by the Missouri State Medical Association.

But the regulatory flexibilities that have enabled telemedicine to flourish during the COVID-19 public health emergency and continue to play a vital role in delivering high-quality care are set to expire with this calendar year.

To strengthen the AMA’s aggressive advocacy supporting telehealth, delegates adopted new policy to “support removal of the Dec. 31, 2024, ‘sunset’ date currently set for Medicare to cease reimbursement for services provided via telemedicine, such that reimbursement of medical services provided by telemedicine be continued indefinitely into the future, consistent with what would be determined” by the AMA/Specialty Society RVS  Update Committee, commonly known as the RUC.

The RUC is a unique multispecialty committee dedicated to describing the resources required to provide physician services which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services considers in developing relative value units (RVUs).

Learn more with the AMA about seven ways that telehealth is reshaping medicine for the better.

Fix Medicare’s broken “buy and bill” drug reimbursement method

Medicare reimburses physicians and health care organizations for Medicare Part B drugs under the “buy and bill” method, notes a resolution introduced by the California Medical Association. Under this approach, health systems or physicians buy, stock, maintain inventory for and administer drugs, and they are reimbursed by Medicare at an amount equal to the average sales price of the drug, plus 6% of that price.

There are many problems with the buy-and-bill approach, the resolution says, noting that the administration of Medicare Part B drugs is most prevalent in oncology, rheumatology, ophthalmology, dermatology and gastroenterology.

For one thing, buy-and-bill structures reimbursement directly to drug prices, and that discourages physician practices and health systems from choosing the lowest-cost drugs. In addition, Medicare Part B drugs have high levels of patient cost-sharing, as patients are charged a coinsurance of 20% of the cost of the drug rather than a fixed copay. Medicare spends more than $30 billion annually for Part B drugs.

Also, there is a six-month lag in Medicare Part B drug reimbursement to physicians and others. And tying Medicare Part B drug reimbursement to the average sales price may be insufficient to cover the administrative costs for physician practices.

Recognizing these problems, the House of Delegates adopted new policy to support the creation of a new reimbursement model for Part B drugs that:

  • Disentangles reimbursement from the drug price, or any weighted market average of the drug price, by reimbursing physicians for the actual cost of the drug.
  • Ensures adequate compensation for the cost of acquisition, inventory, storage and administration of clinically administered drugs that is based on physician costs, not a percent of the drug price.

Delegates also adopted policy to “maintain the principles that any revised Part B reimbursement models should promote practice viability, especially for small physician practices, practices in rural or underserved areas, and practices with a significant proportion of Medicare patients, to promote continued treatment access for patients.”

The AMA is leading the charge to reform the Medicare payment system.

Payers should cover care ordered by out-of-network doctors

There are now more than 2,000 physician practices using the direct primary care model given that doctors’ ability to serve patients has been narrowed in current payment settings, says a resolution introduced by the AMA Private Practice Physicians Section. There are many other physicians who are out of network with the health plans that cover some of their patients.

These practices using the direct primary care model do not accept insurance and are thus considered out of network for HMOs, Medicare Advantage and other health plans, even though many of their patients have such coverage. Such patients are choosing to pay for their primary care physician services directly while relying on health plans to cover other kinds of care.

The problem, says the resolution, is that “these health plans often will not cover laboratory studies, radiology studies, referral or even prescription medications when ordered” by a direct primary care physician or any other out-of-network doctor.

To address this shortcoming in the nation’s health financing system, delegates directed the AMA to develop model legislation to protect patients managed by out-of-network physicians.

Such model legislation, delegates said, should aim to bar “insurance plans from denying payment for covered services, including imaging, laboratory testing, referrals, medications and other medically necessary services for patients under their commercial insurance while preserving evidence-based, high-quality care and health care affordability.”

Delegates also directed the AMA to “collaborate with other physician organizations to develop resources, tool kits and education to support out-of-network care models.”

Give Indian Health Service physicians a head start on loan forgiveness

Physicians working for Indian Health Service ranked in the bottom-quartile of agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for employee engagement and satisfaction, according to data cited in a resolution introduced by the Oklahoma State Medical Association at the Annual Meeting.

The AMA already has policy supporting loan forgiveness for physicians practicing in a Veterans Administration facility through the public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program and to boost compensation for Indian Health Service (IHS) to a level competitive with other federal agencies and nongovernmental service, as the resolution notes. Now delegates hves strengthened that policy and acted to make PSLF changes to specifically help doctors practicing in the Indian Health Service.

“This is a win-win for medical students and tribal communities,” said AMA Immediate Past President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH. “About 83 million Americans live in areas that don’t have sufficient access to a primary care physician. That is unacceptable. At the same time, students are graduating from medical school with huge financial burdens. Working under the IHS or other similar programs offers a great learning experience for new physicians as they serve communities that so desperately need better access to medical care.”

Learn more about the AMA's action to help physicians serving Native American patient populations, as well as a number of other policies adopted to advance Native American health.

Move USMLE Step 3 to pass-fail to boost residents’ well-being

For resident physicians, time and money are commodities in short supply. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 3 and Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam of the United States (COMLEX-USA) Level 3—most frequently taken during the first year of graduate medical education—can prove costly in both.

The price tag for taking the Step 3 exam—including registration fees and necessary study resources—runs at least $1,400, according to a resolution introduced at the AMA Annual Meeting by the AMA Resident and Fellow Section. In addition, residents often must use their vacation and personal time off to prepare for and take USMLE Step 3 and COMLEX-USA Level 3. The USMLE Step 3 exam itself takes place over two days and includes 16 hours of total test-taking time.

To address these burdens that add to resident physician stress and burnout, the AMA House of Delegates adopted new policy to change the USMLE Step 3 and COMLEX-USA Level 3 from numerically scored examinations to pass-fail.

Learn about the other changes delegates are calling for to make these licensing exams less burdensome for resident physicians.

New AMA president will fight for doctors and their patients

Annual Medicare payment cuts, growing administrative burdens and continued threats to the patient-physician relationship are just some of the challenges contributing to the snowballing problem of physician burnout.

The AMA’s new president, Bruce A. Scott, MD, proclaimed in his inaugural address tonight at the Annual Meeting that he is ready to take them on.

“As a physician in an independent private practice, I live these issues every day,” said Dr. Scott, an otolaryngologist and president of Kentuckiana Ear, Nose & Throat, a private practice based in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

“I see my colleagues struggling,” he added. “I feel the urgency of the moment and I will bring that urgency to my presidency. You better believe I’m ready to fight. Fight for you. Fight for us. Fight for our profession. Fight for our patients.”

Learn how a physician changed the course of Dr. Scott's life as a boy and how he plans to fight for patients and their doctors.

It’s time to reform Medicare Advantage payment policies

More than half of Medicare patients now opt for Medicare Advantage plans, and that figure’s expected to rise to 70% within a few years, says a resolution introduced by the Oklahoma State Medical Association.

This year, Medicare Advantage plans will get $88 billion more than “what is spent for the same number of patients in traditional Medicare,” the resolution adds, noting that money is taken out of the health care arena and into activities that don’t benefit patients such as private profit, stock buybacks or higher compensation for Medicare Advantage executives.

To address outdated Medicare Advantage policies, strengthen traditional Medicare and help patients make more informed choices between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, delegates adopted new AMA policy to:

  • Encourage that risk-adjustment formulas be revised so that claims data is based on the actual cost of providing care.
  • Provide or create educational materials such as an infographic to compare traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans so that patients are able to make informed choices that best meet their health care needs.

In burnout fight, take care with doctors’ personal info

With a majority of physicians reporting symptoms of burnout, there is ongoing research to identify and better understand the workplace and individual stressors that reduce doctors’ well-being.

According to a resolution presented by the AMA Integrated Physician Practice Section, individual doctors’ “health history can provide valuable insights into physical and mental health, and the collection and use of personal and biological data offer potential avenues to support the well-being of health care professionals, including the early identification of burnout and developing prevention strategies.”

But, the resolution notes, “the use of such data must be done in a manner that respects individual privacy rights and ethical considerations.”

To that end, delegates directed the AMA to:

  • Monitor and report on the research regarding technology, measures and effective use of personal and biological data to assess professional workforce wellbeing and inform organizational interventions to mitigate burnout.
  • Develop ethical guidelines on the collection, use and protection of personal and biological data obtained to improve the professional workforce well-being.

As the leader in physician well-being, the AMA is reducing physician burnout by removing administrative burdens and providing real-world solutions to help doctors rediscover the Joy in Medicine™.

Physician burnout has economic and financial costs associated with staff turnover, lost revenue and  decreased productivity. The new House of Delegates action builds on the AMA’s seminal research on physician burnout, which has shaped the collective understanding of burnout’s underlying causes and the effects that it has on physicians, patients and health care organizations. AMA research has highlighted the system-level issues that drive burnout, and the steps organizations can take to coordinate solutions for effective changes.

Don’t tie physicians’ pay to unsustainable Medicare path

While current health care industry trends lean toward larger physician practices, more than half of doctors still work in practices with 10 or fewer physicians. But the viability of these physician practices—as well as those serving patients in rural, economically marginalized or underserved areas—may be at risk because Medicaid pays them even less than Medicare does.

These unsustainable payment rates do not reflect practice costs or the value of the care provided, according to an AMA Council on Medical Service report adopted at the Annual Meeting.

“Small practices are disproportionately affected by payment rates that fall below an ideal benchmark,” says the report. The report adds that, as Medicare physician payment rates continue to either drop or fail to keep up with the rate of inflation, linking private insurance payment rates to the Medicare physician payment schedule puts small practice at a further disadvantage.

“Continuing to tether payment to a Medicare payment rate that has been reduced by almost 10% in four years presents an untenable situation for small practices,” the report says. “As such, uncoupling payment schedules from a Medicare benchmark may allow for a level of payment that reflects the full cost of practice, the value of the care provided, and includes inflation-based updates, thereby sustaining small practices.”

Learn more about the payment changes recommended in newly adopted AMA policy.

Make sure medical staff has key say on health AI tools

Augmented intelligence (AI) tools are growing increasingly common in health care, but sometimes physicians and organized medical staffs are not given the proper say in how they are picked or used. Given the promise of health care AI tools to improve care as well as their potential risks, that status quo is untenable, according to a resolution introduced by the AMA Organized Medical Staff Section.

Accordingly, delegates modified existing AMA principles for strengthening the physician-hospital relationship:

“The organized medical staff and the hospital governing body are responsible for the provision of quality care, providing a safe environment for patients, staff and visitors, protection from interruption of delivery of care, and working continuously to improve patient care and health outcomes—including but not limited to the development, selection and implementation of augmented intelligence—with the primary responsibility for the quality of care rendered and for patient safety vested with the organized medical staff,” the AMA policy now says. “These activities depend on mutual accountability, interdependence and responsibility of the organized medical staff and the hospital governing body for the proper performance of their respective obligations.”

In addition, the HOD adopted policy recognizing “that organized medical staff should be an integral part at the outset of choosing, developing and implementing augmented intelligence and digital health tools in hospital care. That consideration is consistent with organized medical staff’s primacy in overseeing safety of patient care, as well as assessing other negative unintended consequences such as interruption of, or overburdening, the physician in delivery of care.”

This new policy builds on AMA principles (PDF) that address the development, deployment and use of health care AI.

From AI implementation to EHR adoption and usability, the AMA is making technology work or physicians, ensuring that it is an asset to physicians—not a burden.

Learn more with an AMA Leadership Viewpoints column written this month by Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH: “For health AI to work, physicians and patients have to trust it.”

When health plans delay and deny, they must say why

Prior authorization is a complex and often frustrating process that physicians face on a regular basis. Of particular concern is the lack of information included in denial letters, according to an AMA Council on Medical Service report adopted at the Annual Meeting.

That is because appropriate information to understand or appeal the denial itself is not included. For example, patients and physicians may simply be informed that a medication has not been granted prior authorization. Beyond that, no justification as to why the denial took place or an alternative treatment option is provided.

“Health-insurer denials must not be a mystery to patients and physicians,” said AMA Trustee Marilyn J. Heine, MD. “Without clear information from an insurer on how a denial was determined, patients and physicians are often left to the frustrating guesswork of finding a treatment covered by a health plan, resulting in delayed and disrupted care. Transparency in coverage policies needs to be a core value, an essential principle to help patients and physicians make informed choices in a more efficient health care system.”

The AMA is fixing prior authorization by challenging insurance companies to eliminate care delays, patient harms and practice hassles.

Learn how the AMA will push for payers to include detailed information in prior authorization denial letters and improve the use of real-time benefit tools.

Stay updated on the 2024 AMA election results

In addition to Dr. Mukkamala’s election to the office of AMA president-elect, several other AMA member physicians won election to serve in the House of Delegates.

Among them are two familiar names from their catbird seats on the dais at the Annual Meeting: Lisa Bohman Egbert, MD, and John H. Armstrong, MD. They won reelection to their respective offices as speaker and vice speaker of the HOD.

Dr. Egbert is an ob-gyn from Dayton, Ohio, and previously served as the HOD’s vice speaker. Dr. Armstrong is a trauma surgeon, medical educator and Army veteran from Ocala, Florida.

Catch up with the election results so far, and check this AMA webpage as results are updated when voting concludes Tuesday.

Why we fight

At the opening session Friday night, this video was shown to the delegates gathered.

The AMA has achieved recent wins in five critical areas (PDF) for physicians.

Learn more about how the AMA is fighting for physicians.

Expanding test-to-treat policies a harmful Rx

Posted earlier this morning, Dr. Ehrenfeld’s final Leadership Viewpoints column as AMA president outlines how allowing pharmacists to administer tests, diagnose conditions and prescribe medications far exceeds their training and jeopardizes patient health.

“While pharmacists and physicians each play important roles in health care delivery, the length, breadth and focus of their education and training are vastly different and prepare them for separate and distinct roles in patient care Pharmacists are medication experts, but their clinical training does not prepare them to perform physical or mental examinations, diagnose patients, interpret test results or provide primary care services. The independent practice of medicine by pharmacists puts patient health and safety at risk,” Dr. Ehrenfeld wrote.

“That is why the AMA has and will continue to oppose scope of practice expansions for pharmacists who, while admirably trained in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, are not prepared to assume the role physicians play in the health care equation,” he added.

In his column, Dr. Ehrenfeld noted that the AMA has worked with more than 35 state medical associations and national specialty societies on scope of practice issues thus far in 2024 and secured more than 50 wins.

Learn more about how the AMA is fighting scope creep, defending the practice of medicine against scope of practice expansions that threaten patient safety.

Education sessions this morning

Ahead of the House of Delegates’ first day of voting, which starts today at 1 p.m. CDT, there is a wide variety of education sessions available to the delegates in Chicago.

Among the sessions are these (all times CDT):

8:15–9:45 a.m. “Training Physicians in the Art of the Public Forum.”

Hosted by AMA Enterprise Communications, this session will provide physicians with tools and techniques to effectively dispel medical misinformation and engage the public on important issues. This session will help physicians from all backgrounds and specialties become better advocates for themselves and their patients; push back on the rampant spread of medical misinformation; and prepare for public speaking opportunities and interviews with local media. (Grand Hall J, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

8:30–10 a.m. “Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality: Working Together as a House of Medicine.”

More than 80% of maternal deaths are preventable, and the top three causes are mental health, anemia and cardiac disease/hypertension. Reducing maternal morbidity and mortality will require expertise and collaboration across specialties. Delegates attending this session hosted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will learn about evidence-based recommendations to improve maternal health, the latest policy conversations, and opportunities to reduce disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality. (Grand Hall K, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

9:30–11:30 a.m. “Litigation Center Open Meeting.”

This session will feature presentations on litigation efforts to:

  • Compel the Food and Drug Administration to ban the manufacture of menthol-flavored cigarettes.
  • Challenge a West Virginia regulation that would permit optometrists to perform surgery on eyelids.
  • Support state laws that protect physicians from malpractice liability on account of their care for patients during the COVID-19 crisis.

The session is hosted by Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies. (Regency Ballroom A, West Tower, Ballroom Level)

Explore the complete list of education sessions at the Annual Meeting and learn about obtaining CME credit.

Get the latest from AMA experts on Medicare pay reform

The AMA’s senior vice president of advocacy, Todd Askew, appeared on “AMA Update” from the floor of the House of Delegates to offer a midyear update on how the AMA is fighting for doctors on top priorities such as Medicare payment reform, scope of practice and more.

Askew noted that there are “two opportunities a year, with that meeting of the AMA House of Delegates, where all of medicine can come together, build consensus on some of the most important issues, talk about solutions and ... give us our charge, and give us direction, information, feedback as well to keep us on track and to really set the agenda for the coming year for the AMA.”

The AMA is leading the charge to reform the Medicare payment system.

Take a deeper dive with an “AMA Advocacy Insights” webinar posted this week with the latest news on the status of Medicare physician payment reform and what the AMA is doing to advance it. Moderated by AMA President Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, the webinar also features AMA congressional, political and federal affairs experts Jason Marino, Rob Jordan and Margaret Garikes.

The AMA is advocating for you

The AMA has achieved recent wins in 5 critical areas for physicians.

Health equity open forum this afternoon

There is a two-part forum hosted by the AMA Center for Health Equity.

The first hour of today’s event will feature presentations on, and discussion of, the AMA’s health equity accomplishments between 2021 and 2023, as well as planned actions between 2024 and 2025. Part two, in the second hour, will feature special considerations related to IMGs in advancing health equity. Presenters will include leaders from the management team and among physician and medical student AMA members. (1–3 p.m., Grand Ballroom, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

A third segment of this open forum—on moving from ableism to full inclusion—is set for tomorrow, 9:15–10:15 a.m., and will feature special considerations for physicians and medical students with disabilities in advancing health equity. (Grand Hall I, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

Reference committees continue work today

The following reference committees will meet from 8 a.m.–noon CDT:

  • Reference Committee A, which covers medical service. (Regency Ballroom A/B, West Tower, Ballroom Level)
  • Reference Committee C, which covers medical education. (Regency Ballroom C, West Tower, Ballroom Level)
  • Reference Committee D, which covers public health. (Regency Ballroom D, West Tower, Ballroom Level)

Also concluding its work this morning, from 8–11 a.m. CDT, is:

  • Reference Committee A, which covers legislation. (Regency Ballroom B, West Tower, Ballroom Level)

Michigan otolaryngologist chosen as AMA president-elect

The House of Delegates last night elected, by acclimation, Bobby Mukkamala, MD, as the next president-elect of the AMA. He will serve in that role for one year, then become the AMA’s 180th president in June 2025.

Dr. Mukkamala, an otolaryngologist from Flint, Michigan, has been active in the AMA since residency and is chair of the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, serving as a strong voice in advocating for evidence-based policies to end the nation’s overdose epidemic. He also played a central role in response to the Flint water crisis, serving as chair of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, with a focus on funding projects to mitigate the effects of lead in children. 

Bobby Mukkamala, MD
Bobby Mukkamala, MD

“It is a turbulent time to be a physician in this country,” said Dr. Mukkamala. “Challenges like an unsustainable Medicare payment system, excessive prior authorization, and physician burnout have put our health system in a precarious place. But the AMA is fighting these battles in Congress, in state capitals, and in our communities to achieve a better future where physicians can spend more time with their patients. I am honored to be chosen by my peers as the AMA’s president-elect and I am eager to continue fighting for better health care for all our communities.”

The son of two immigrant physicians, Dr. Mukkamala was inspired to go into medicine and return to his hometown of Flint to serve the community that welcomed his family decades before.

Learn more about Dr. Mukkamala’s election and background in this AMA news release.

5 keys to fixing America’s rural health crisis

Ahead of his inauguration Tuesday night as the 179th AMA president, Bruce A. Scott, MD, made remarks last month at the National Rural Health Association Annual Conference in which he outlined how to address the alarming inequities that contribute to rural residents often living sicker and dying younger than their urban counterparts.

Dr. Scott, now the AMA’s president-elect, proposed five strategies that could help turn things around:

  • Fix the Medicare payment system. Adjusted for inflation, Medicare physician payment has fallen 29% since 2001 (JPG).
  • Address workforce burdens that drive burnout and early retirements. This includes the two hours physicians waste on administrative burdens such as prior authorization for every one hour they spend face to face with patients.
  • Enact legislative fixes to grow the physician workforce, including expanding residency and graduate medical education slots, incentivizing physicians to work in rural communities and supporting an expanded role of international medical graduates (IMGs).
  • Permanently remove telehealth restrictions. The pandemic showed that removing restrictions is an essential tool to providing care, especially in rural areas where transportation can be challenging.
  • Tackle chronic disease head-on. This includes bolstering health outreach and education to rebuild trust in science and medical institutions.

“We need Congress, we need the media, to understand that rural health care is American health care and we need to fix the situation before it’s too late,” said Dr. Scott, an otolaryngologist and head-and-neck surgeon in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky.

Learn more with this AMA webinar featuring expert insights on what’s exacerbating the physician shortage crisis and what’s needed to fix it.

Reference committees start this afternoon

AMA delegates will offer testimony today on nearly 200 reports and resolutions up for consideration at the meeting. Delegates draw on their expertise, the best evidence in the medical and health policy literature, and the insights of their state medical associations and national medical specialty societies to weigh in on proposals that run the gamut of issues affecting patients and physicians.

These reference committees will meet from 1:30–5:30 p.m. CDT today:

  • Reference Committee on Amendments to Constitution & Bylaws, which covers the AMA constitution, bylaws and medical ethics matters. (Grand Hall I/J, East Tower, Ballroom Level)
  • Reference Committee B, which covers legislation. (Regency Ballroom A/B, West Tower, Ballroom Level)
  • Reference Committee E, which covers science and technology. (Regency Ballroom C, West Tower, Ballroom Level)
  • Reference Committee F, which covers AMA governance and finance. (Grand Ballroom, East Tower, Ballroom Level)
  • Reference Committee G, which covers medical practice. (Regency Ballroom D, West Tower, Ballroom Level)

Watch a short video, from 2019, to learn more about the nuts and bolts of how AMA policy is made.

Dr. Madara turns focus to effective transition to next AMA CEO

The AMA’s position as the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care “has never been more secure—nor more evident,” AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, said during his speech at tonight's opening session.

The AMA has also achieved “outstanding financial stability” and membership has “climbed to levels not seen for decades.” With this and many more positive factors in mind, Dr. Madara announced that he will not seek to renew his contract when it expires next June and that his focus “now shifts to ensuring a smooth and effective transition to the next CEO.”

Dr. Madara took over as the AMA’s CEO in 2011, succeeding Michael Maves, MD, who he credited for stabilizing the AMA’s finances and operations. This stability allowed Dr. Madara to concentrate on developing a policy-driven strategic plan with focus and impact—one that has allowed the AMA to flourish in recent years.

“Our reach has never been greater,” he said.

Learn more about Dr. Madara's accomplishments as CEO and his plans for the coming year.

Dr. Ehrenfeld: Medicine’s future cannot be left to chance

There is a lot of privilege and responsibility that comes with being a physician advocate, outgoing AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, said in his final remarks to the assembled AMA House of Delegates while holding the highest office in organized medicine.

But it comes with personal costs too, ones Dr. Ehrenfeld hadn’t completely understood before taking office. From late-night meetings and extended travel itineraries crisscrossing time zones and continents to prepping for TV appearances, podcasts and other interviews. Before taking the oath as president, he had a conversation with his husband, Judd, in which they wondered: “Why do this now?”

“It's a question perhaps many of you have asked yourselves over the years as you’ve juggled your work, home and AMA responsibilities with this difficult job of physician advocate—a job that seems to get more complicated and challenging with every passing year,” Dr. Ehrenfeld said. “For me, I keep coming back to the same answer: This moment in health care demands my attention—this is my fight. This moment in health care demands all of our attention. It is all of our fight.”

Days before his term as the AMA’s 178th president comes to a close, Dr. Ehrenfeld outlined the reasons why physicians fight on behalf of their patients and their profession.

Today’s education sessions

Ahead of tonight’s opening session of the AMA House of Delegates there is a wide variety of educational offerings for physicians in practice, medical students, residents and fellows attending in person at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Among them are these sessions (all times CDT):

9–10 a.m. “AI & Your Medical Staff: The Good, The Bad & The Unknown.”

Explore the evolving landscape of augmented intelligence (AI) in health care, often called artificial intelligence. Margaret Lozovatsky, MD, the AMA's vice president of digital health innovations, will offer insights on the current state and future trajectory of AI. This session will look into the ethical considerations surrounding AI implementation, its integration within hospital settings as a complementary tool for physicians, and strategies for optimal preparedness amid the uncertainties of AI in medicine. (Grand Hall K, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

10–11:05 a.m. “Health System Impact—Reducing Physician Burnout.”

Leaders at Marshfield Clinic Health System, in Wisconsin, and Sanford Health, in South Dakota, will explain how they are driving solutions to reduce physician burnout. Both are members of the AMA Health System Program. Also, AMA Senior Physician Adviser Jill Jin, MD, will detail the Association’s work to support physician well-being. (Grand Hall I, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

11:15–11:40 a.m. “Innovation Lightning Rounds: IPPS Physicians Leading Healthcare Transformation.”

Two esteemed AMA Integrated Physician Practice Section (AMA-IPPS) members—Bryan Batson, MD, of Hattiesburg Clinic, and Sidney “Beau” Raymond, MD, from Ochsner Health, will showcase pioneering projects spearheaded within their institutions, both of which also are AMA Health System Program members. Dr. Batson will unveil Hattiesburg Clinic's groundbreaking studies exploring ambient AI, while Dr. Raymond will delve into Ochsner Health’s innovative endeavors in remote patient monitoring. (Grand Hall I, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

Noon–1 p.m. “Navigating Family Planning & Fertility Preservation in Medical Training.”

A panel of medical students and physicians will share firsthand experiences of having children during different stages of medical training as well as the process of fertility preservation. This program will be a space for medical students to ask questions to make informed decisions about family planning. (Toronto, West Tower, Ballroom Level)

2–3 p.m. “The Business of Medicine—Private Equity in Health Care.”

Delve into the intersection of private equity and health care with this session, focusing on egregious lawsuits involving private equity within the health care sector. With a spotlight on cases where the involvement of the AMA has been prominent, attendees will gain insights into the complexities, challenges and ethical considerations surrounding private equity investments in health care. (Grand Hall K, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

4–5:30 p.m. “Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Comprehensive Look from Causes to Treatment.”

Osteoporosis is a preventable disease, and can often be reduced, eliminated or prevented by following healthy lifestyle guidelines. This program will include information on diets that support bone health, review imaging and bone-density studies, and provide differentiated recommendations for women and men. The session also will cover the types of exercise required for optimal bone health. (Crystal Ballroom A, West Tower, Lobby Level)

House of Delegates’ meeting starts tomorrow

Nearly 700 physicians and medical students are gathering in Chicago for the 2024 AMA Annual Meeting to consider proposals across a wide range of clinical practice, payment, medical education and public health topics. The meeting opens Friday and runs through June 12.

The AMA House of Delegates will work in a democratic process to create a national physician consensus on emerging issues in public health, science, ethics, business and government to improve the care and public health of patients and communities. The policies adopted at this meeting will give the AMA direction and act as a driving force on the future of American medicine.

In doing so, the delegates will be building on recent AMA wins in five critical areas (PDF) for physicians.

Explore how the AMA is:

In an episode of “AMA Update” posted this week, outgoing AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, reflected on his year in office and details big victories such as the $15 billion win for physicians on prior authorization.

In a recent AMA Leadership Viewpoints column, Dr. Ehrenfeld outlined the transparency that is required for physicians and their patients to develop trust in health care AI. The Wisconsin anesthesiologist will address the House of Delegates’ opening session Friday night.

Education sessions today

Starting today, the AMA’s member groups and sections are meeting in Chicago. The AMA sections are interest-based groups that offer members the opportunity to shape AMA policy, increase relevant knowledge and skills, and interact with peers with similar interests or backgrounds.

No matter the career stage, practice setting, or background, the AMA sections provide access to resources and colleagues who share topics and concerns.

Among the educational offerings available to delegates at the Hyatt Regency Chicago are these sessions (all times CDT):

1–7:30 p.m. “Business of Medicine for Private Practice Physicians Workshop.”

Physicians are required to complete several years of clinical schooling and training before practicing medicine without supervision. But physicians are taught very little about the business side of medicine. Recent studies show that a majority of the challenges physicians face in practice are related to business, administration, finance and leadership. This workshop will provide business insight for practicing physicians. (Plaza A/B)

3–4:30 p.m. “Navigating Physician Employment: Empowering Medical Staff in a Hospital-Led Environment.”

Physician employment within hospitals presents unique challenges for medical staff self-governance. While medical staff decision-making should ideally prioritize clinical concerns, the authority of hospital administrations to hire and terminate decision-makers is a prevalent reality nationwide. In this workshop, a panel of experts will delve into the complexities of this dynamic, discussing both the problems and potential solutions for maintaining medical staff autonomy in the face of hospital oversight. (Grand Hall K, East Tower, Ballroom Level)

Half the dues, all the AMA benefits!

AMA membership offers unique access to savings and resources tailored to enrich the personal and professional lives of physicians, residents and medical students. 

These essentials will help you get the most out of the meeting.

Highlights of the meeting’s key moments and House of Delegates policy actions will be posted daily at the AMA website, the 2024 AMA Annual Meeting webpage, and the AMA’s Facebook pageInstagram and X account using #AMAmtg.

Addresses from leadership and more will be featured on the AMA’s YouTube channel. After the meeting, be sure to follow the AMA on LinkedIn for additional updates as well.