I hope that headline is not a message that I have to deliver at the 50th Annual Meeting. However, right now we are headed in that direction. Why? Our seat in the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) is critical to our ability to represent neuroradiology in critical work of the AMA. The Association is at the heart of the U.S. healthcare system and is integrated into coverage and reimbursement decisions. Through the CPT Editorial Panel and the Relative Value Update Committee, the AMA is instrumental in determining which studies will be paid by Medicare, and at what levels. If the ASNR loses its seat in the HOD, then we lose our input into these critical decisions. This could make important studies unavailable to patients who need them.
How could this happen? The AMA requires affiliate societies, such as the ASNR, to have at least 25% of its voting members (in our case, ASNR Senior members) also hold membership in the AMA. At the moment, the ASNR does not meet this standard. The AMA will hold a census in April 2012, before our Annual Meeting. If we do not meet the 25% standard at that time, then we lose our seat.
How can you help avoid this outcome? Simple. Join the AMA. If you are already an AMA member, make sure your dues are up to date when you receive your 2012 renewal notice.
Some have objected that they “do not support the political orientation” of the AMA. If you feel this way, I submit that this is beside the point. Joining the AMA does not mean you agree with everything it does. Joining the AMA means you recognize its unique role in the American healthcare system, and you want the ASNR to maintain its voice.
Keep neuroradiology’s seat at the table. Please join the AMA today.
To join the AMA, log onto http://www.ama-assn.org/go/join.
David B. Hackney, M.D., FACR