ASRA's AMA Participation Already Making a Difference

Aug 20, 2018

Earlier this summer, ASRA participated in the American Medical Association (AMA) Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates as one of the newest members of the Specialty and Service Society (SSS). ASRA has one vote in this caucus. If ASRA maintains a strong representation at the SSS and a strong percentage of membership in the AMA, ASRA will earn a seat in the AMA House of Delegates and be considered for councils and committees in five years.

However, in the meantime, being involved has already made a difference. In partnership with the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, and the Spine Intervention Society, language in an AMA resolution regarding timely referral to pain management specialists was amended to include interventional pain. This resolution advocates for access to multiple analgesic strategies, including non-opioid and other modalities, to improve function and activities of daily living.

The resolution also highlights that the AMA supports full coverage for appropriate chronic pain modalities and the expansion of physician-led, multidisciplinary pain treatment programs.

Other issues discussed within the AMA House of Delegates that might be of interest to our members included drug shortages, adding naloxone to commercial airline emergency kits, opposing independent practice language in the Advance Practice Register Nurse Compact, legalizing interpharmacy transfer of electronic controlled substance prescriptions, and investigating the role private equity/venture capital and other publicly traded companies and health systems have on physician practice.

Anesthesiologists and pain specialists were well represented at the AMA meeting held June 9-13, 2018. U.S. Surgeon General and anesthesiologist Dr. Jerome Adams gave an inspiring speech to the AMA House of Delegates. Anesthesiologist Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld was re-elected to a second term on the AMA Board and was named chair-elect of the AMA Board. Dr. Asa Lockhart, an anesthesiologist from Tyler, TX, was re-elected to the Council on Medical Service. ASRA President Dr. Asokumar Buvanendran was also appointed to the AMA Pain Care Taskforce, along with 14 other physicians.

Also of note, Dr. Patrice Harris, an Atlanta psychiatrist, was elected AMA president-elect and will take office next June in Chicago. Dr Harris most recently served as chair of the AMA Opioid Taskforce. She will be the first female African-American president of the AMA.

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