By: Sara Hussey, ACMS Executive Director
On October 27-28, the Pennsylvania Medical Society held its second hybrid House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, allowing attendees to participate both remotely and on-site at the Hershey Lodge. Allegheny County had a great showing, with 23 Delegates & Alternate Delegates attending in person.
This year’s ACMS Delegates in attendance were: Michael Aziz, MD; Vint Blackburn, MD; William Coppula, MD; Patricia Dalby, MD; Amber Elway, DO; Richard Hoffmaster, MD (2023 Chair); Micah Jacobs, MD; Lawrence John, MD; Keith Kanel, MD (2023 Secretary); Bruce MacLeod, MD (2023 Vice-Chair); Michael McDowell, MD; Raymond Pan, MD; Joseph Paviglianiti, MD, and Angela Stupi, MD. Douglas Clough, MD, elected as an Alternate Delegate, stepped in to fill an open Delegate role due to a cancellation. Other Alternate Delegates in attendance were: Alexandra Johnston, DO; Anthony Kovatch, MD; and Stacie McKnight, MD. ACMS Student Delegates in attendance were: Razeen Khan, Cynthia McMahan, Natasha Mayer, Keerthi Samanthapudi, and Marissa Tremoglie-Barkowski. Student Delegates Morgan Bolger and Alessandra Leong, attended virtually. Thank you to all of our Delegates, including those who could not attend, for their support and insight this year.
Several Allegheny County Medical Society members were elected, or re-elected, to leadership positions within PAMED. Todd M. Hertzberg, MD was re-elected as the Speaker, House of Delegates. John P. Williams, MD was elected to a four-year term as the Hospital Based Trustee to the PAMED Board of Trustees. Student Member Arnab Ray was elected to a one-year term as the Medical Student Section Trustee to the PAMED Board of Trustees. Student Member Donald Bourne was elected to a one-year term as AMA Slotted Alternate Delegate Position for the Medical Student Section. Congratulations to our ACMS Members who were elected to these positions!
In addition to robust discussion and commentary online ahead of the HOD, delegates had a lively debate on many of the issues that face health care, patient care and the practice of medicine. Notable highlights from Allegheny County included: several well attended discussions between ACMS delegates to plan which resolutions we would support or reject as a County. There was also strong representation in the written and virtual-oral testimony from ACMS Delegates ahead of the HOD Reference Committee reports. Additionally, the Allegheny County Delegation worked diligently with other counties to attempt to find a solution to the medical student delegation representation issue. Although, in the end, the medical student representation issue was deferred to an ad-hoc task force, the ACMS Chair of the Delegation felt this process has things moving in the right direction.
ACMS Delegation Chair, Richard Hoffmaster, MD says: “Our ACMS Delegates, and our partners across the state, made our view clear: it is critical that our medical student and trainee colleagues be active in organized medicine. At the House of Delegates, we affirmed our commitment to these important members, who are the future of our county and state medical societies, as well as our profession as a whole. We have succeeded in calling for an ad-hoc committee at PAMED that includes all important stakeholders. Members from the Board, the MSS and RFS, and both rural and urban counties have pledged their good faith efforts to resolve this issue fairly. Our focus will be to add value to membership for student and trainee members (as well as all other members), while realigning representation at PAMED to more equitably reflect the ways in which student and trainee members contribute to PAMED, across county lines. I look forward to the hard work necessary to develop a lasting compromise.”
Additionally, the House was able to affirm PAMED’s opposition to censorship in schools regarding sexual health and gender affirming care.
- Protecting Access to Gender-Affirming Care: Delegates voted to Adopt opposition to legislative efforts to criminalize or impose legal penalties against parents and guardians who allow minors to receive gender-affirming care, healthcare facilities, physicians and other healthcare providers, and patients seeking and receiving gender-affirming care.
- Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Delegates voted to reject further study, and rather Adopt a resolution instructing PAMED to ask schools across the state to develop age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education. The resolution called for education on topics including, though not limited to, consent, gender identity, sexual orientation, abuse, STIs, and contraception. Such education has been shown to improve a multitude of important pediatric health outcomes, including teen pregnancy rates, bullying, reporting of sexual abuse, and adolescent HIV transmission.
Below is a sampling of just some of the resolutions that were tackled either ahead of the HOD or extracted at the event for debate. Proceedings and Actions of the 2023 HOD will soon be available online at www.pamedsoc.org/HOD.
- Board Certification: Delegates adopted the recommendation to support a model of board certification through training, exams, and continuing education.
- Food Deserts and Food Insecurity: Delegates adopted a resolution to address food insecurity and promote healthy food access, along with supporting food-related interventions for health conditions.
- Advance Directive Conversations: Delegates adopted policies encouraging physicians to discuss advance directives with patients, incorporate related education into medical schools, and enhance healthcare settings’ ability to talk with patients about advance directives.
- Convergence Insufficiency Testing: Delegates chose not to adopt the addition of Near Point of Convergence screenings to school vision screening programs.
- Supporting Kidney Transplants: Delegates adopted a resolution to support the safety of kidney donations.
- Improving Blood Pressure Monitoring: Delegates referred the resolution for further study due to existing relevant programs and concerns.
- Physician-Nurse Practitioner Prescriptive Authority: Delegates adopted support for requiring physician consent prior to nurse practitioners being assigned to them.
- Equitable Mammographic Technology: Delegates adopted support for advocacy efforts to ensure full access to optimal mammographic technologies.
- Surgical Attire Adaptations: Delegates adopted the removal of barriers for surgical attire adaptations, including wearing religious head coverings like hijabs.
- Addressing Health Literacy: Delegates adopted recommendations to support state legislation for health literacy and promote clear communication in healthcare settings.
The Resolutions Portal will be open for HOD 2024 Resolutions/Bylaws Amendments on Jan. 1, 2024.