The Physician Association is the World’s Largest Politically Powerful Organization

doctor association

AMA — American Medical Association

The AMA is the world’s largest doctor association. It’s also one of the most politically powerful, giving more than $3.4 million to US congressional candidates between 1990 and 2020. The organization sponsors a number of groups that provide advice on everything from government regulations to continuing medical education to medical economics to peer review. Its doctors also make up the majority of the members of the influential Relative Value Scale Update Committee, which helps determine how much Medicare pays for different physicians’ labor.

But some say the AMA has lost its way. Its backing of Obamacare and support for mandatory health insurance may have cost it some members. And younger doctors are less likely than their elders to consider medicine as a defining career choice, which can mean fewer votes for the AMA when it comes to shaping legislation and policy.

In the meantime, specialty societies have gained traction, with some suggesting they have more political power than the AMA. But Tenery believes it’s important for doctors to have a national umbrella group that carries a unified voice. “This country needs a physician organization that can speak on behalf of all the specialties and all the individual doctors,” he says.

The Federation of State Medical Associations was founded in 1928 as a forum for state medical associations to discuss issues and coordinate efforts on matters of common interest, including professional ethics, public health, medical education, physician and patient rights, and physician recruitment. Today, the FSMA has more than 260 member states and territories. The Federation’s goal is to serve its members, patients and the community at large.

In addition to offering discounted medical malpractice insurance, the AAFP provides tools and resources for its members, like billing and coding help, reimbursement support, and clinical engagement resources. It also supports its members through legislative advocacy. And its members-only online community, AAFP Connection, allows them to share information and experiences.

The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has been a powerful force for promoting women in medicine for over a century. Its advocacy work includes leadership development programs, mentorship and sponsorship, research on gender equality and career parity in medicine, and policy reform.

The AAFP has a Congress of Delegates that meets annually, and is composed of two delegates from each constituent chapter plus alternates from resident and student groups, new physicians, and member constituencies such as international medical graduates and women. The Congress elects a Board of Directors, which in turn appoints commission and committee members. The delegates are responsible for the development of policies and principles that govern the AAFP. They also set dues and fund the AAFP Foundation, the charitable arm of the AAFP.