Aggrivated DocSurg: A(nathe)MA

Just in case you thought I was the only doc who occasionally has an on-point rant, here’s a beauty: A(nathe)MA: ”

The AMA does not speak for me. In fact, it does not speak for the majority of physicians in this country, with only about 28% of actively practicing US doctors counted in their membership rolls. It is an organization that has repeatedly shown that it is far out of touch with the average physician and patient. It was midwife and mother to the current RBRVS system that has distorted our reimbursement system into something only the IRS could love.

With the kind of ‘success’ that the RBRVS system has achieved, only arrogance can explain the AMA’s most recent decision to develop yet another Rube Goldberg apparatus with the government. This week it was announced that the AMA has contracted with the government to develop ‘Measures of Quality of Medical Care’.

Have a quick read, and appreciate why the AMA continues to lose physician membership, and why I think we’re going to have to rely on our professional societies over the AMA.

Oh, and it’s a beautiful rant.


  1. Goat Whacker says:

    It ties into the merit badge discussion below – more crap to keep us busy without any evidence it will improve patient care. One thing that stands out is this will put the non-electronic records doctors at a serious disadvantage. Trying to pull out the relevant info to forward to the government will be extremely time and labor intensive without EMR (I’m speaking more of office-based docs here, I suspect the hospitals will tie it into their existing QA programs).

  2. Our hospital has us in such a tizzy about some of these measures such as ASA for MI’s and antibiotics within four hours for pneumonia that we are basically handing out an ASA and Levaquin 750mg to anyone presenting with triage who ever had chest pain, SOB, or a cough at any point in their life so we are covered.

    Each month we get a rundown with percentages as to how we did individually and as a group. When are we all going to just lose it like the guy in the movie Falling Down???

  3. TheNewGuy says:

    Not a member… no plans to be a member.

    IMO, the only reason the AMA has any membership whatsoever is because they aggressively recruit medical students very early in the game… before those students know anything about medicine.

    We got the hard-sell my first year of medical school, complete with a party, and promised bennies (“you’ll get discounts on your membership, and discounts on purchase of a stethoscope”). My roommates and I, being the bomb-throwers that we were, decided to question some members regarding the AMA’s stance on several important issues. When we were greeted with blank stares and nebulous replies, we walked away.

    I don’t think a single one of us ended up joining.

  4. I am a medical student.

    I am in AMA.

    It was free…or…rather, someone paid for my 4 years of membership. I’m sure I got something out of the deal. Like a membership card or something.

    I also got a free Harrison’s…maybe the AMA paid for that–not sure.

    At any rate, I’ll take my free 4 years and then reconsider at a later date (ya know, when I have to PAY).

  5. And by “someone” I mean the medical school paid. I think they pay for everyone for 4 years.

  6. I too am a former member of the AMA, who resigned a decade or more ago when it demonstrated its true allegiance by givng a contribution to Ted Kennedy. I almost vowed that I would consider rejoining if it was successful in rolling back the 2006 Medicare payment cut, which did actually pass (we will get paid at 2005 rates in 2006). I still can’t make myself do it-on balance it has done more to destroy the private practice system than anything else beside the federal government.

  7. Just for the record, the American Bar Association is in the same boat. Only about 40% of lawyers belong. I quit after 30 years when I read a piece by an ethics counsel who didn’t know who the client was (she thought it was the insurance carrier, not the doc).


  1. symtym says:


    Good rant at Aggravated DocSurg via GruntDoc.

    The AMA does not speak for me. In fact, it does not speak for the majority of physicians in this country, with only about 28% of actively practicing US doctors counted in their membership rolls. It is an …