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Meeting overview

Pursuant to the unanimous action of the AMA Board of Trustees (BOT) on April 25, 2020, a Special Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) is being held June 7, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Central. This special meeting will be convened on a virtual platform.

This special meeting will only include the presidential inauguration, elections and essential business of the House.

Meeting participation

Delegates and alternate delegates will be contacted via email with instructions on how to participate in the meeting.

Business of meeting

View Board and council reports, the handbook and other items being considered by the House during the special meeting.

Reference committee hearing via online member forum

The robust discussion and debate seen at every House of Delegates meeting is not possible at this time with a strictly virtual format. Consequently, we have developed an online forum that will function as the reference committee hearing.

The online forum can be accessed beginning May 12, 2020. Aside from entering your comments as text, it should be treated as any other reference committee hearing. The forum will remain open until the afternoon of June 3, after which the reference committee will prepare a report for presentation to the House. That report will be posted on the meeting website, probably on June 4, and the consent calendar will be the subject of discussion during our House of Delegates Special Meeting June 7.

For more details, download the Speakers’ Letter.

Speakers' Letter

Download the speakers' letter (PDF) for details about the special meeting, including information on how to participate fully on the virtual platform.


Access the election manual for information on the candidates for the Board and for councils. The manual also provides information regarding the election process including AMA guiding principles and campaign rules and conduct.

Speakers' official call

Official call to Special Meeting of the House of Delegates

To:    Delegates and Alternate Delegates

From:    Bruce A. Scott, MD, Speaker; and Lisa Bohman Egbert, MD, Vice Speaker

Pursuant to the unanimous action of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees (BOT) on April 25, 2020, this notice will serve as the official call to convene a Special Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) on June 7, 2020 at 2:00 pm CT. This Special Meeting will be convened on a virtual platform.

The purpose of this meeting as defined by the request of the BOT is to inaugurate our new president, to elect officers and members of councils, and to conduct essential business that would otherwise be required to be addressed at an annual meeting of the HOD.

Essential business and process

— Business to be considered will be limited to the essential items as above. At the current time it appears this will be about 10 items. Per our bylaws (2.12.2) for Special Meetings of the HOD, no other business will be considered. 

— No other resolutions or reports beyond these required items will be considered. Extensive consideration has been given in reaching the decision to limit the items of business. While the desire of many members to discuss certain items that may be felt to be urgent or pertinent to our current national situation is understood, our rules have no mechanism which allows us to screen or limit items of business other than the motion to object to consideration, which itself is subject to debate for each item of business. For this reason and in keeping with Bylaws 2.12.2, the business of the Special Meeting has been narrowly defined as described. 

— Given this meeting’s narrow focus, your speakers will work with the Resolution Committee at our November HOD meeting to accept items of business beyond those related to advocacy and legislation.

— Reference Committee F will be convened online to allow testimony on the limited business of this Special Meeting. The online reference committee will remain open for several days to allow delegates ample opportunity to comment. The HOD will be notified when the reference committee is open for testimony.

— As in “live” reference committee testimony, those testifying will be asked to identify their role (Delegate/Alternate from State/Specialty or member representing sections etc.) and whether they are commenting on behalf of a delegation or on behalf of themselves as individuals. Conflicts of interest, if any, should also be declared with each comment. Online testimony may include amendment suggestions, with specific wording clearly delineated. 

— Following the close of the virtual reference committee “hearing,” the members of Reference Committee F will prepare a reference committee report which will be presented to the HOD as a consent calendar. 

— This consent calendar will then be the business of the HOD at the Special Meeting.

— A handbook with business to be considered and useful information will be sent as soon as assembled. This will include the roster of delegates and alternate delegates.

— If the credential information for your delegation has changed please contact [email protected]

— Delegates and Alternate Delegates please confirm your contact information, specifically confirm an email address (if this email arrived at your preferred address, you may consider this accomplished), as much of our meeting will be dependent on the ability to reach delegates electronically. In addition credentialing information for secure voting will be sent by email.

— A notice will be sent shortly announcing the Board’s nominations for Councils. Active campaigning for officer and council candidates will be allowed at this point.

Being respectful of the challenges we all face during this pandemic, the limitation to essential business only, combined with some additional efficiencies your speakers plan, will expedite our meeting allowing us to hopefully complete our Special Meeting within  2 hours. Your speakers want to assure you that we are planning a virtual meeting with secure voting and  protection of participants’ rights. Having just received the request to “call” the Special Meeting we wanted to get this notice out to you as soon as possible. Further details will be forthcoming. We request and very much appreciate your patience and cooperation as we journey into new territory for us and our AMA. We look forward to virtually connecting with you on June 7th.

Speakers' April 21 update

Recognizing it has been several weeks since our last communication to the HOD (FAQs about a Special Meeting of the House of Delegates emailed April 8), your speakers would like to update you regarding plans for a special meeting to be called pursuant to by-laws §2.12.2 and the action of your board on April 3. Our goal has been, and continues to be, to plan a virtual meeting with secure voting that protects participants’ rights and to have it ready to implement once the Board of Trustees (BOT) requests a call be made for a special meeting.

While we await the BOT’s determination of when the special meeting should be called, your speakers have made plans based on the following criteria regarding the meeting. The April 3 BOT action specified that the purpose of the special meeting would include the inauguration, elections and “essential business” only. As such, your speakers present the following details about the special meeting that we have at this time. Please note that final details will be provided at the time of the official “call” for the special meeting.

Conduct of the meeting

-In recognition of the demands that many physicians face with their patients and practices during these challenging times, we anticipate holding the special meeting on a weekend day (likely a Sunday afternoon to avoid religious observances).

-Given the anticipated narrow focus of the special meeting, we are planning for the meeting to last no more than two hours.

-Delegates will be given a secure, unique identifier credential in advance that will be needed for voting.

-Only delegates will be allowed to vote in the elections, but alternates may vote on other business items (note, only the delegate or the alternate will be able cast a vote on any given item).

-Delegates who fear they will be unable to participate in the virtual special meeting are reminded of the opportunity to recredential their alternate delegate to serve as a delegate during this special meeting. Details in this regard will be shared in the “call.” This temporary credentialing will not affect the delegate’s status going forward.

2020 election information

Conduct of the elections

-As previously communicated, the inauguration of our president-elect and elections will be held during the special meeting of the HOD.

-In accordance with our bylaws, nominations for president-elect, speaker and vice speaker will be made “from the floor,” after which nominations will be closed. Elections will then be held for these offices.

-Contingent upon the election of Gerald Harmon, MD as president-elect, four seats will be open for election to the BOT. The BOT candidates’ pre-recorded self-nominating speeches will be aired and all previously nominated council candidates will be announced. There will be an opportunity for further nominations from the floor. After the close of nominations, voting will be conducted live via smartphone or computer using a secure platform. 

-Voting will be done in a secure manner by a vendor that can accommodate our requirement that multiple candidates must be selected on one ballot and that only the specified number of candidates can be selected for the ballot to be cast.

-Run-off elections, if necessary, will be held once results are available.

Newly opened positions on councils

-Given that several candidates for the BOT are in unexpired terms on councils (CMS and CSAPH), newly opened positions could be created on these councils.

-Any individual considering being nominated for a newly opened council position will be required to submit a conflict of interest form to the HOD office prior to the deadline of 48 hours before the commencement of the special meeting.

-All potential candidates are encouraged, although not required, to submit a photo to be shown during the virtual meeting at the time of elections.

-In the event of new nominations for any race, all candidates’ conflict of interest statements will be posted on the HOD website and displayed during the virtual meeting, along with photos if available.

-Each candidate, including all remaining previously announced candidates, will be allowed to give a 2-minute speech via a phone line (no video). All potential candidates will receive advance instructions on how to call in for this speech.

Campaign information

-In conjunction with the request of the BOT to call for a special meeting, the BOT will announce its nominations for council races. This announcement officially allows candidates to begin their campaigns.

-This announcement has not yet been made and active campaigning remains embargoed at this time.

-Given the shortened time frame from this notice until the special meeting and the constraints inherent to a virtual meeting, your speakers have reviewed our campaign processes and have developed a plan to best simulate these processes for the special meeting. This plan has been shared with all announced candidates.

-Our goal is to assure that all candidates will have equal opportunity to present their campaign and that all delegates will have equal opportunity to vet each candidate to their satisfaction.

-To simulate the in-person interview process as much as possible, interviews of the candidates will be offered live and pre-recorded.

-“Live” virtual interviews may be arranged with delegations or caucuses. See the notice below.

-“Pre-recorded” interviews will be available on the HOD website as soon as they are completed along with the election manual for all delegates to review.

Notice to delegation and caucus chairs for  virtual candidate interviews

-Please determine if your delegation or caucus would like to set up virtual interviews with the candidates in contested races. If so, please consider whether you wish to interview the BOT candidates, the council (CMS) candidates, or both.

-Delegations/caucuses desiring to interview must provide the HOD office at [email protected] with contact information for the person responsible for scheduling interviews and which races they wish to interview.

-Please submit your delegation/caucus interview information as soon as possible. A deadline for submitting your intention to interview candidates will be included in the official “call” for the special meeting.

-The HOD office will collate the list for each race and send it to the candidates, who will schedule directly with the designated contact person.

-Delegations/caucuses are required to provide equal opportunity for all candidates in a particular race. Each candidate should be allotted equal time.

-Delegations/caucuses may select any platform (telephone only, Zoom, Teams, etc.) they wish for their interviews, but the same platform should be offered to all candidates.

-It will be the responsibility of the individual candidates to contact the designated person to arrange an interview.

Special meeting FAQs

On Friday April 3, 2020, your AMA Board of Trustees (BOT) made the very difficult decision to suspend the 2020 Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD). Many uncertainties remain as we move into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is likely to put continued extraordinary stress on our patients, practices, training programs and the entire health care system. Visit the COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus) resource center for physicians for pertinent AMA information and advocacy regarding this pandemic.
While your BOT and speakers are continuing to monitor the situation, we anticipate convening a Special Meeting of the House of Delegates, to be conducted virtually, when conditions have improved and a quorum can reasonably be achieved. We are working with the management team to design a meeting that will ensure secure voting and protect participants’ rights. While details have yet to be finalized, and are to some extent dependent upon evolving circumstances, we wish to provide as much information as possible, as early as available.

Who made this decision? 

The decision to suspend a regular meeting of the HOD rests with our BOT (Bylaws 13.1.1). The decision was made April 3, 2020, after much deliberation during a virtual meeting of the BOT.  The decision was based upon the continuing Covid-19 pandemic and the demands upon our physicians and health care system, combined with government mandates prohibiting large-scale gatherings in Chicago and continuing restrictions on travel throughout the country.

Does this mean there will be no HOD meeting until November?

The BOT will continue to monitor the evolving situation and anticipates convening a “Special Meeting” of the House of Delegates when conditions have improved. The date, time and purpose of the meeting will be determined by the Board. In the meantime, your speakers and the Board are working with the AMA management team to understand how best to execute a meeting that will ensure secure voting and protect participants’ rights. Those details will be finalized over the next several weeks.

What is intended to be included in the special meeting?

The Special Meeting of the HOD will be a limited virtual meeting to conduct only essential business and transition leadership. The meeting will include the inauguration of our president-elect and election of new officers. Other business to be included has not yet been determined. Once the date and format of the special meeting are determined, the HOD will receive an official call to the meeting which will include the planned agenda and order of business. 

What about resolutions?

Given the limited nature of the special meeting to consider only essential business, your speakers ask that delegations and individuals hold off on submitting resolutions at this time. For those wishing to submit resolutions, please be assured it is our intention to expand the scope of the planned November meeting of the House of Delegates to allow consideration of items beyond our usual focus at interim meetings on advocacy and legislation.

When will the special meeting occur?

These are uncertain times and the date of the special meeting has not been determined, but it will not be any earlier than June 6, 2020. The inflection point of the pandemic is unknown and we recognize that even once the worst of the pandemic is behind us that physicians need time to care for their patients and restore their practices. Planning for a special meeting has just begun, and our AMA has never held such a meeting before. We wish we could give you more details at this time, but that is simply not possible. The Bylaws require 20 days notice for the meeting, but it is our intention to provide at least 4-6 weeks notice. As we explore options for a virtual meeting, it is unlikely that travel would be necessary so we hope this shorter than usual notice  will be adequate. 

Should I keep June 6-10 blocked on my calendar?

Your speakers are aware that all of you have had June 6-10 blocked on your calendar for some time. While the details are not yet determined, given the limited nature of the intended virtual meeting we anticipate only portions of one or maybe two days will be needed. To limit disruption to your professional duties as much as possible for as many of you as possible, it is our intention to hold the meeting on a weekend. Given this, you should be able to reopen your calendar for Monday, June 8 through Wednesday, June 10 with confidence. In addition, no travel days need be blocked.  As noted above, it would be premature for us to schedule the virtual meeting on the weekend of June 6-7 at this time, but if your schedule allows you may want to keep those dates open on your calendar in the event that it appears conditions are improving sufficiently that your BOT determines that we can anticipate convening the special meeting on that weekend. We will keep you informed and provide as much notice as possible once your BOT makes their decision regarding the date of the special meeting.

Should I cancel my travel plans for Chicago?

Yes, the in-person meeting scheduled for June 6-10, 2020 in Chicago will not take place. Most airlines and hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies. Individuals should contact their airlines and the hotel to cancel any reservations. If your hotel reservation was at the Hyatt Regency, meeting-related reservations have been cancelled by the hotel, and you should have received an email to that effect from the Hyatt. If you have concerns or questions, contact [email protected].  

What impact does this have upon pending HOD elections and current leadership?

AMA Bylaws (Chapter 13) provide that all elections be suspended and that those currently in office remain in their positions until the next meeting of the House of Delegates. This includes all officers and council members. Terms of office and maximum tenure are extended until the next meeting of the HOD.

Our rules disallow active campaigning by or on behalf of all candidates until your BOT announces its nominations, a step that has not yet been taken. The BOT felt that our profession and particularly our delegates and alternate delegates, the leaders within their medical communities, need to be focused on the Covid-19 pandemic rather than AMA campaigns. Pending Board action to call the special meeting, active campaigning by candidates—whether announced or not—is not permitted. Nominations will be announced, and active campaigning will be allowed several weeks before the date of the special meeting. All candidates will be notified and be given equal opportunity.

The extension of terms also applies to appointed councils. Current members’ terms that are scheduled to end after 2020 Annual will continue until the end of the special meeting. Newly appointed members will begin their term at that time. Appointments will be announced at a later date, with the exception of certain medical student appointments to HOD councils which will be announced in the near future.