AMA May Join Move To Cut Residents' Hours

  1. ama may join move to cut residents' hours
    doctors group begins annual meeting

    associated press
    sunday, june 16, 2002; page a12

    chicago, june 15 -- the nation's largest doctors group will consider joining the push to limit the hours of overworked medical residents, amid reports of physicians-in-training falling asleep during surgery and prescribing the wrong drugs.

    the effort to improve work conditions for aspiring doctors is one of several issues facing the american medical association as it gathers here sunday for its annual convention over six days.

    endorsing specific work-week limits for residents would be a first for the ama. the proposal follows the june 11 action by the accreditation body that oversees teaching hospitals involving 100,000 doctors-in-training.

    this year's agenda also includes reports suggesting the ama needs to heal itself to retain influence over shaping medical issues. the organization lost more than 12,000 members last year, one of its steepest recent declines and a continuation of a nearly 20-year exodus.

    ama leaders' average age is nearly 60, a decade older than that of doctors they claim to represent. many younger physicians choose instead to join specialty medical societies if they want any part of what the ama calls "organized medicine."

    the latest figures show 278,302 ama members, fewer than one-third of the 928,036 u.s. physicians and medical students.

    ama delegates from texas are proposing action to address that. in a resolution, the delegates warn that the ama "will not be able to sustain its viability if it continues to function as a 'status-quo' organization, poorly positioned for success in the future."

    the resolution says the ama should spend less time tackling social issues indirectly related to medicine and refocus on core values such as malpractice reform, doctors' reimbursements and issues directly affecting the doctor-patient relationship.

    the group appears prepared to do that with donald palmisano, a louisiana physician, who, as expected, was named ama president-elect during the meeting today. palmisano's risk-management company, intrepid resources, advises doctors on legal issues, including how to minimize their chances of being sued for malpractice.

    william plested iii, the ama's finance chairman, said gaining members also remains a top priority. "it is still imperative that all physicians join us in our fight for meaningful changes in our nation's health-care system," he said.

    still, there are social policy proposals up for debate, ranging from global warming to gun safety. such topics have come up at previous conventions, but the usually cautious group rarely acts on them.

    at last year's meeting, the group declined to endorse medical use of marijuana or a moratorium on executions.

    the more than 250 proposals up for debate could be revised or voted on by the policy-making house of delegates during the meeting's final three days.

    one proposal on medical residents' work hours recommends a weekly limit of 84 hours, with consecutive hours limited to 24. many residents exceed 100 hours weekly.

    that proposal is similar to standards adopted by the accreditation council for graduate medical education. those rules take effect in 2003, and hospitals that do not follow them risk losing accreditation. as an advocacy group, the ama could help educate hospitals about the issue's importance, said david leach, the council's executive director.

    2002 the washington post company

    see related articles at post site:

    * "report of the acgme work group on resident duty hours" from the accreditation council for graduate medical education (pdf file)
    * "do medical residents experience burnout?" summary of study by the university of washington in the annals of internal medicine
    * association american medical colleges applauds new standards for resident hours
    * public citizen's petition to the osha for limits on medical residents' hours
    * primer on resident work hours by the american medical student association null
    * patient and physician safety and protection act of 2001

    _____related articles_____

    * shorter hours mandated for young doctors (the washington post, jun 13, 2002)
    * low experience, high expectations (the washington post, mar 27, 2001)
    * a day (and a half) in the life of an intern (the washington post, mar 27, 2001)

    so the ama membership significantly shrinking too....hum...guess cost affecting docs too. karen
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  3. by   -jt
    <AMA leaders' average age is nearly 60, a decade older than that of doctors they claim to represent. Many younger physicians choose instead to join specialty medical societies if they want any part of what the AMA calls "organized medicine."
    The latest figures show 278,302 AMA members, fewer than one-third of the 928,036 U.S. physicians and medical students.>

  4. by   fergus51
    Still, that's more than the ANA can seem to get.
  5. by   fedupnurse
    As a nurse in a teaching hospital, I feel they MUST cut back on residents hours. SOme are smart enough to say "I can't even tell you my name right now cause I am so tired" and they will take your advice and write the orders you need. The arrogant ones just make stupid mistakes and then get called on the carpet when we then have to go over their heads. With all the new nurses we have now in my unit, sometimes the nurses don't catch these fatigue mistakes. SCARY!!!