Battling Pandemic, Misinformation Top Issues at AMA Meeting

Navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and battling misinformation were at the top of the agenda at the AMA’s House of Delegates (HOD) meeting held online earlier this week.

The HOD meeting included discussion of how vaccine mandates have impacted the healthcare workforce and the negative effects of COVID-19 disinformation campaigns. The HOD took action to direct the AMA to work with relevant professional societies to combat public health disinformation disseminated by health professionals that undermines public health initiatives.
Minnesota was well-presented at the recent online AMA meeting.

The HOD also approved recommendations from the Council on Science and Public Health to develop an organization-wide strategy to strengthen public health infrastructures. It also supported legal authority of health officials to enact reasonable, evidence-based public health measures, including mandates, when necessary to protect the public. Plus, it advocated for consistent, sustainable funding to support public health infrastructures.

In addition, the HOD adopted a strong position in support of Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum for all pregnant and postpartum women, regardless of their citizenship status.

“While meeting virtually is less than ideal, your Minnesota delegation worked hard to represent Minnesota’s physicians,” said Cindy Firkins Smith, MD, chair of the Minnesota delegation. “We were glad to see the AMA take strong action to support public health and expanding access to care.”

Laurel Ries, MD, an alternate delegate, served on the AMA Committee on Rules and Credentials, and Ashok Patel, MD, another alternate delegate, served on Reference Committee G, which dealt with medical practice issues. In addition, MMA past president, Peter Amadio, MD, representing the American Association of Hand Surgeons, chaired Reference Committee A, which dealt with medical service issues.

Along with Smith, Ries and Patel, the Minnesota delegation included: David Estrin, MD, vice chair; Andrea Hillerud, MD; Dennis O’Hare, MD; David Thorson, MD; MMA president Randy Rice, MD; Lisa Mattson, MD; Dan Pfeifle, MD, (Resident-Fellow Section); and Adrine Kocharian (Medical Student Section).