The 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates took place June 12 to 17 in Chicago. Composed of representatives from state and county medical societies as well as medical specialty societies, the House of Delegates is the policy-setting body of the AMA. The American Academy of Neurology has four voting delegates and several representatives.
At this meeting, the AMA considered proposed resolutions ranging from science and technology to legislation to medical education. The highlight of the meeting, however, was a timely address by President Barack Obama on health system reform. Though many presidents have taken on this challenge, none have succeeded. He said that coming together to find real solutions is imperative to avoid financial insolvency as a country. In his speech, he vowed to work with physicians and patients to find solutions and move past stalemate. He spoke highly of the role of evidence-based guidelines in the delivery of high quality, patient-centered care, a position also shared by the Academy. President Obama said he wanted to return to a system that allows physicians to practice medicine and care for patients without being undermined by paper pushing and bean-counting. He also acknowledged the cost of defensive medicine in the health system.
The AMA House of Delegates voted to adopt new policy in several areas of interest to general medical practice as well as neurologists. Highlights included:
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