This past week the AMA issued formal endorsement of the House Healthcare Bill. According to Sermo, the largest online community of physicians in the US, AMA’s endorsement does not reflect the position of practicing physicians.
The healthcare concerns of US physicians have been well documented in thousands of online discussions on Sermo. Most notably, these concerns were outlined in “An Open Letter from America’s Physicians” which details the physician community’s concerns with the US healthcare system and how these concerns impact physicians’ ability to provide quality care for their patients. The letter, originally published on Sermo, has been signed by over 13,000 US physicians and is now available to the public at www.doctorsunite.org.
“Physicians are the only true advocates for their patients and this bill fails to meet what physicians need to improve the quality of care they deliver,” said Dr. Daniel Palestrant, Sermo CEO. “By endorsing a bill that does not adequately address concerns of physicians in this country, the AMA shows again that it is out of touch with physicians and is conflicted by its own business model. We welcome both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to engage with real physicians who actually practice medicine to get real-time feedback on how to reform healthcare.”
In a recent post on Sermo, Palestrant called for the AMA to resolve its conflicts of interest by shedding its relationships with insurers and abandoning tactics that take advantage of physicians and their patients to generate millions of dollars in revenue. Palestrant continued, “Physicians have voted with their feet with AMA membership now estimated at only 15-20% of US physicians.”
Just last week, Sermo released results of a new survey indicating US physicians—at least a representative sample of the more than 100,000 who use Sermo—no longer want the AMA to represent them and question the conflict of interest the AMA’s current business model creates in this debate (www.sermo.com/blog). More specifically:
- 75% of physicians surveyed are not members of the AMA.*
- 89% of physicians claim, “The AMA does not speak for me.”*
- 91% of physicians surveyed do not believe the AMA accurately reflects their opinion as physicians.*
- 87% of physicians surveyed think it is wrong that the AMA makes more money from insurance companies than it does from membership dues.**
- 93% of physicians surveyed stated that they did not believe that the government should continue to support the AMA’s monopoly on billing codes**
* 4,156 physicians responded to a survey, conducted between July 1 and July 7, 2009; ** 1,957 physicians responded to a survey, conducted between July 8 and July 16, 2009. Respondents to Sermo online surveys span 68 specialties and all 50 states. The average age of physicians is 49 years old, with a median of 13 years experience in practice. The demographics of physician respondents is representative of the US physician population with respect to geographic distribution, most specialties and age. All respondents are verified and credentialed, ensuring they have valid, active licenses to practice medicine in the United States. Physician respondents work in practices of all sizes in all major urban and remote rural locations across the Unites States.