I want to urge you to consider membership in the AMA because your membership in AMA gives us a voice.
The American Medical Association is one organization that the AAOA works through to advocate for issues related to the AAOA. As a national specialty society, your membership in the AMA is what gives us our seat — which gives us a voice on your behalf. This seat goes beyond our AMA House of Delegates delegation. It gives us a seat at CPT, RUC, and PERC as well. Without a seat in the AMA, we would not be able to participate in these other regulatory bodies.
Through our involvement in the AMA, we have been able to collaborate with AAAAI and ACAAI to oppose change in the proposed changes to USP 797 concerning physician allergy compounding that was put forth 2 years ago. Those joint efforts resulted in halting the change in USP policy and causing USP to revamp recommendations. USP 797 and issues around physician compounding at the FDA are key examples of issues where AAOA’s participation in national coalitions and working with AMA have been instrumental in helping to assure you can deliver quality care.
Through this advocacy effort and the work of our Socioeconomic Committee, we were invited two years ago by the ACAAI leadership to participate on its Advocacy Council of the ACAAI. Again, broadening our voice and impact on allergy patient care.
Our AMA seat does broaden our opportunities in the House of Medicine. Networking is key in managing issues at the AMA. Your AAOA delegation is actively involved in the Chest/Allergy Caucus. In fact, we will chair this caucus beginning in 2019. This caucus brings together all the specialties involved in airway management — Chest, Thoracic, Sleep, Allergy, Critical Care, and Pulmonology. In the House, this caucus has been instrumental in joining forces on issues around physician compounding, tobacco, allergy, food allergy and labeling, over-the-counter medications, and many others.
We also sit on the Otolaryngology Section Council with our peer societies within otolaryngology — AAOHNS, AAFPRS, Triologic, and now ARS — as well as all the otolaryngologists who represent their states in the House of Medicine. Coalescing these key delegates helps assure specialty interests and state interests are considered together to help achieve better results.
As a specialty society in the AMA House, we have a seat in the Specialty and Service Section, which gives us the opportunity for multiple specialty societies to unite on issues.
The AMA 2018 Interim House of Delegates meeting is just ending in Washington, DC. Several key issues tied to tobacco, food allergy, CMS, E/M coding, CHIP reauthorization, and more were considered. The Chest/Allergy caucus was effective in bringing an emergency resolution regarding the FDA’s recent (11/6) decision to put Primatene Mist, an antiquated medication, back on the market as an over-the-counter product to treat mild and intermittent asthma. While originally pulled due to its delivery mechanism impacting the ozone layer, Primatene Mist, a nonspecific beta agonist or epinephrine, has not been defined as a therapeutic pathway of choice for the management of asthma in any national or international asthma guideline. Risk of patient self medication, cardio-vascular risk, and payor issues were all flagged as potential bad, unintended outcomes of pushing Primatene Mist back on the market. Additionally, issues were raised regarding the FDA process and lack of a public comment period to allow for input, and the AMA will take action with the FDA to urge them to reconsider their decision.
So while you may not always agree with the AMA on issues or want to add yet another dues to your professional costs, our seat is tied to our membership numbers in AMA. Specialty societies are required to have at least a 20% AMA membership to have a seat. Your membership in AMA gives us a voice — both on issues with which we agree with AMA and those with which we do not. Please consider becoming a member of the AMA so we can maintain our seat in the AMA in 2019.
Wes VanderArk, MD, FAAOA
AAOA AMA Delegate