We gathered last week in Chicago for the annual AMA House of Delegates meeting. As usual, many topics were reviewed and we spoke our concerns. As always, the issues were quite broad and covered a number of clinical practice problems, such as those related to “prior authorization.” Recommendations involving MACRA implementation reducing barriers of adding various APM programs as well as developing a scoring system for high-risk patients were adopted. Opioid addiction and pain management was a big issue. A new task force will be created to complement an existing AMA task force to reduce opioid abuse.
The Cancer Caucus continues to grow in interest and attracts a number of individuals representing a variety of other specialty societies. We are being asked to sponsor or cosponsor a number of ideas and resolutions. I am confident these will be the subject of future delegate meetings.
In addition, the week in Chicago brought a new dimension to ASCO and the cancer community at large. Dr. Barbara McAneny became president-elect of the AMA during this meeting. The favorable outcome of her campaign was the culmination of a number of individual and state society efforts across the United States. ASCO was her lead sponsor. ASCO, along with specialty societies in New Mexico (Barb’s home state), California, and a number of others were at her side throughout all. Of course, Dr. McAneny herself did all the heavy lifting. She is an amazing physician and colleague. Medical oncology and all the medical community look forward to Barbara's presidency. There has never been a more important time than now to have a leader such as Dr. McAneny speaking for so many crucial health care concerns and issues.
We also learned that ASCO’s delegation to the AMA House of Delegates will grow next year. The delegation’s size is determined by the number of AMA members within ASCO. We will look forward to those additions. Each delegate brings to the table a different slant on an idea that makes us all think and makes the delegation subsequently better. I also wish to acknowledge the depature of Ms. Kristin McDonald, one of the ASCO staff. Kristin has helped our delegation in so many ways through these recent years. We are all reminded of the importance that each member of this delegation plays. None of the good work that goes on happens without staff dedication. We wish Ms. McDonald the very best and thank her so much for all she has done.
Stay closely tuned. These are clearly important and impactful times for ASCO within the AMA and the medical community.