• Academy Members, Priorities Earn Support at AMA Delegates Meeting 

    The Academy’s voice continues to be heard at the American Medical Association (AMA), as the AMA House of Delegates recently elected Academy members to key council positions and adopted Academy-sponsored resolutions impacting physician pay and corneal tissue donation 

    The House of Delegates, the AMA’s policy-making body, wrapped up its annual meeting June 15, after electing two Academy members to positions on key councils: 

    • Ravi Goel, MD, chair of the Academy’s delegation to the House of Delegates and member of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, was elected to the AMA Council on Medical Service. The council studies socioeconomic aspects that influence the practice of medicine. 
    • Academy member Steven Thornquist, MD, a delegate for the Connecticut State Medical Society, was elected to the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws.   

    Drs. Goel and Thornquist join California ophthalmologist David Aizuss, MD, in the AMA’s physician leadership structure. Dr. Aizuss is on the AMA Board of Trustees. 

    The House of Delegates also enacted several policies that affect ophthalmology, including resolutions to develop a comprehensive advocacy campaign around physician payment reform, as well as adopting an Academy-backed resolution to update criteria related to cornea and tissue donation involving men who had sex with men.  

    Medicare Physician Payment System Reform Advocacy Campaign 

    The AMA House passed new policy, co-sponsored by the Academy, directing the AMA to develop a comprehensive advocacy campaign to reform the Medicare physician payment system based on the principles recently endorsed by over 120 state and medical specialties. 

    The Academy’s delegation argued that the AMA needs to build public awareness of the problems in the current Medicare physician payment system. 

    In May, state and specialty members of the Federation of Medicine — 120 national medical societies that include the Academy — endorsed a set of principles for establishing a rational Medicare physician payment system.  

    That system should create financial stability through positive annual payment updates that reflect inflation in practice costs and eliminate, replace or revise problematic budget neutrality requirements. 

    Evidence-Based Deferral Periods for Cornea and Tissue Donations From Men Who Have Sex With Men 

    The House of Delegates updated its policy (PDF) on involving men who have sex with men, often referred to as MSM. 

    The Academy delegation highlighted the low risk of HIV transmission within corneal donations and the importance of these donations in restoring vision. 

    The updated policy declares that the AMA supports the use of rational, scientifically based donation deferral periods for donation of corneas that are fairly and consistently applied to donors according to their individual risk. 

    The prior AMA policy was limited to MSM blood and other tissue donors but excluded MSM corneal donors. The new policy directs the AMA to lobby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use modern medical knowledge to revise its decades-old deferral criteria for MSM donors of corneas and other tissues.