AMA Offers COVID-19 Webinar

On Thursday, December 3, at 1:00 p.m. Central Time, the AMA will present the fourth webinar in its series, “COVID-19: What physicians need to know.”

Register here

AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD, will host the webinar, and she will be joined by guest Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Marks will discuss the latest developments on the road to effective COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Marks will do a deep dive into the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process, specifically explaining how the timeline has been shortened from a matter of years to a matter of months. Physicians will learn the similarities and differences between routine vaccine development and the EUA process and understand how accelerated approval is being arrived at safely. 

Registration is limited to physicians, residents, medical students and Federation staff.

Let Doctors Be Doctors

By Susan Bailey, MD

Dr. Susan Bailey, AMA President, presented this speech on June 7, 2020, when she was installed as the 2020-2021 president of the American Medical Association:

The inauguration of a new AMA president is typically a very formal, black-tie affair with great celebration and fanfare. In my case, my family and close friends were all excited and ready to fly to Chicago to celebrate with me. 

I had a beautiful gown and Broadway entertainment and red velvet cake for dessert all picked out.  

My grandson was going to look so adorable in his tux . . .  just like his daddy and his uncle did at his age when I became president of the Tarrant County Medical Society.

I was planning one final bow with my predecessors, Drs. Patrice Harris and Barbara McAneny, capping our historic year with three consecutive women presidents.

But the coronavirus had other plans. And seemingly overnight, our world changed.

So here I stand, in a nearly empty studio, talking to you through a video screen. 

And that’s okay. As physicians we understand better than anyone how a health emergency can disrupt even the most carefully thought out plans. 

No matter the circumstance, I am grateful to address you for the first time as AMA president, and I am so honored to carry the mantle of leadership for this organization I have been proud to serve for 40 years.

On this journey to become AMA president, I’ve been asked who my heroes were growing up. We hear about heroes every day now, it seems. 

But what IS a hero? 

Who were my heroes?

I was never particularly into make-believe superheroes as a kid. It was real people in my life whom I most admired and emulated; the people who inspired me and pushed me to a life beyond anything I could have imagined for myself.  

My heroes were my physicians. 

They were my first heroes . . . and they’re still my heroes. 

I had significant allergies and asthma as a little girl, and my allergists were a guiding light in our family. In fact, the McGovern Allergy Clinic in my hometown practically raised me, instilling in me a passion for medicine and teaching me the basics about working in a medical office—how to take a patient’s history, perform allergy testing . . . and how to give a damn good shot.

I grew up in the shadow of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, and many of my friends’ dads were physicians. At that time, in the 1960s, it was always the dads. Thankfully now, it’s moms too.

Although I rarely saw those physicians, I idolized them. After my father had double cardiac bypass surgery in the early ‘70s, one thing that sped his recovery was taking daily walks by the home of his surgeon, Dr. Jimmy Howell, in the hope that one day the doctor would see him and be proud of him.

One day he did see my dad, and he was indeed proud of him . . .  and that kept daddy walking the rest of his life. Oh, how daddy—and our hero Dr. Howell—would be proud today.

What we’ve witnessed in this pandemic and what we know from history is that heroes are defined by their ability to adapt to a changing world, to follow a righteous cause, to overcome immense challenges, and to be changed by it forever.  

The author Joseph Campbell discusses this in his book, Hero with a Thousand Faces, which describes the mythological hero’s journey in 12 stages, establishing the classic story line in everything from the original Star Wars trilogy and Harry Potter to The Wizard of Oz.  

As Campbell describes it, a hero starts off in the ordinary, familiar world, but gets a call to adventure. Think of a humble farm boy on Tatooine getting the call from Obi Wan Kenobi to help save Princess Leia.

At first, our hero is reluctant, even fearful. But a supernatural force or mentor comes along and brings out the most in them. A threshold is crossed, and the adventure begins. Dorothy skips down the Yellow Brick Road. 

On the way, our hero encounters challenges, finds allies, and makes enemies.  

Eventually, our he or she arrives at the ultimate test. Harry Potter confronts Voldemort face to face. This is a dangerous place . . . a dark place . . .  a place where survival is as important as the ultimate goal. There is a fight to the death.

Somehow, someway, the hero prevails, but the story is far from over. Going back to ordinary life is not easy, and there are many bumps in the road. But in the end, our hero emerges, transformed.

Luke is a Jedi Master. Dorothy returns to Kansas. Harry lives out his life as a benevolent wizard.  

That’s the hero’s journey . . .  and it’s been told a million times in a million different ways.

A hero’s journey is our journey . . .  a physician’s journey.  

You start off as a young student, maybe already in another career, but at some point you hear the call of medical school.

Somebody gives you a hand, maybe a teacher or a co-worker, and miraculously you’ve arrived as a first-year medical student. You feel like an imposter at first, and you wonder if you have made the biggest mistake of your life.

Through wit and resourcefulness, you figure out how to be successful. You don the white coat and you make lifelong friends, all the while confronting clinical challenges that you fear might break you. 

At some point you confront the ultimate test. Maybe it’s having a relationship suffer because your priorities have changed. Maybe it’s not matching into the specialty or program you thought you wanted. Maybe it’s losing your first patient.

You’re in a dark place and it seems there is no way out. But you keep going.

You find your way out of the darkness and you emerge a better physician and a stronger person for having endured these trials. You realize that you are making a difference in people’s lives. You are saving lives.

You’re not the same person you were before you went to medical school. You are a physician . . . and you’re following the hero’s journey.

But here’s the thing – even heroes need allies on their sides. Luke needed R2D2. Harry Potter needed Hermione and Ron. Dorothy needed her ragtag crew.

There isn’t a single person I know who walks this journey alone.

My own allies are far too many to mention and thank in my limited time, but they include my husband Doug, who has been my greatest supporter and partner on this journey. They include my sons Michael and Stephen Wynn and Michael’s partner, Hannah Guel, my precious grandson Jackson, my sister Sally Rudd Ross, and her beautiful family.

They include my wonderful partners, Drs. Robert Rogers and Drew Beaty, my medical assistant Joyce Hayes, and all of their families, and my lifelong friends from Texas A&M University and the Disciples of Christ church.

And it of course includes my family in organized medicine; the Tarrant County Medical Society where I got my start, the Texas Medical Association, and my allergy and pediatric specialty societies the ACAAI, QuadAI, and the AAP. Special thanks to Dr. Melissa Garretson for your friendship, hard work, and dedication to help me make this journey possible.

It also includes my family at the AMA, and all of those colleagues, confidants and executives along the way who have mentored me and become dear friends. I have not named you all by name, but please know you are forever in my heart.

And like any hero’s journey, ours in medicine is simple:

Let doctors be doctors.

After more than 30 years in a small, private practice, I’m a passionate defender of the independent physician, and, like the AMA, I’m determined to remove all those obstacles that have come between us and our patients.

Insurer and government mandates. Decreasing payments and increasing demands. Burnout and physician suicide. And the coronavirus pandemic has made all of these problems more acute. 

We need the power of the AMA on this journey.

I believe involvement in organized medicine is a professional obligation—taking good care of our patients requires much more from us than the time we spend with them in an exam room.

It requires advocacy at the highest levels to fight against the quagmire of regulation and for the support we need to sustain private practice during a pandemic that is threatening its very survival.

It requires us to confront insurance companies and all their familiar tricks that seem to raise insurance premiums year after year without spending a dime more on patient care.  

At times I fear that our nation’s dysfunctional health system is held together only by the oath that we take when we graduate medical school . . .  the pledge to always put the needs and interests of our patients first. 

Whether you took the Hippocratic Oath or, as in my case, recited the Prayer of Maimonides, these words demonstrate our loyalty to public service, to the pursuit of science and knowledge. 

These words bring purpose and meaning to our work, elevating it from a vocation to a profession.

We are on a new quest that none of us expected – living and working in a world that may be changed forever in an angry, divided nation that needs our leadership. But we need not fear the dark times on our journey.

We need only to lean on one another, to take care of each other, and to keep our eyes fixed on the horizon.  

We will get through this pandemic. 

We will continue to fight for our patients and for the practice of medicine. 

This is our journey . . . and we will walk it together.

Thank you.

Sue Bailey, MD, Takes Office as AMA President; “Let Doctors Be Doctors”

By Steve Levine

Originally published on the Texas Medical Association website.

Watch her inaugural address above

Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, is American physicians’ new leader in the battles against COVID-19 and outside interference in patient care. The Fort Worth allergist took the oath of office as president of the American Medical Association on Sunday, becoming the sixth Texas physician to lead the organization.

“After more than 30 years in a small, private practice, I’m a passionate defender of the independent physician and, like the AMA, I’m determined to remove all those obstacles that have come between us and our patients,” Dr. Bailey said in her online installation address, delivered from a Fort Worth video studio.

Dr. Bailey’s organized medicine resume includes stints as presidents of the Texas Medical Association and Tarrant County Medical Society as well as speaker of the TMA and AMA House of Delegates.

“It’s been a joy to watch her negotiate this path,” said Robert Rogers, MD, who has been Dr. Bailey’s partner in Fort Worth Allergy & Asthma Associates for more than 30 years. “I was 100% convinced that she would be president of the AMA. Watching her do this, I know that she had that as a goal. There was nothing in her that said there’s going to be a limit, a ceiling that she couldn’t break through.”

Dr. Bailey said she didn’t have her “eye on that prize” early in her career.

“At that point in time, there had never been a female president,” she said. But Richmond family physician Nancy Dickey, MD, winning the office in 1997 “made all the difference for me. That made it all real for me.”

Texas physician leaders say they are proud of their colleague’s accomplishment and very comfortable with her being the face of American medicine in these difficult times.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

From the AMA President-Elect

by Susan Rudd Bailey, MD

A few months ago, I was on airplane heading to a meeting.  As we started taxiing toward the runway, safely fastened into my window seat on a full flight, I overheard a conversation in the row in front of me.  The woman in the center seat was conversing with a gentleman in the aisle seat.  It became apparent that he was a physician, and she asked him if he were a member of the AMA.  

“The AMA?” he replied. “What’s the point?”

Since I was immobilized in my seat, I did not get the chance to answer his question (that he really didn’t want an answer to, anyway).  

So, what is the point of being a member of the AMA? 

The American Medical Association is the nation’s largest and most influential medical society in the U.S. and is a powerful ally of physicians and medical students. Our mission is “to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.”  AMA’s work across healthcare is organized in three ways:

  1. Removing obstacles that interfere with patient care; 
  1. Driving the future of medicine by reimagining medical education, training, and lifelong learning, and by promoting innovation to tackle the biggest challenges in healthcare; and 
  1. Improving the health of the nation by leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront health crises.

The AMA has changed a great deal in the last decade – it is definitely no longer your granddaddy’s AMA!  When I was elected AMA President-elect in June 2019, I joined President Patrice Harris, MD, and Past President Barbara McAneny, MD, as the first trio of women leaders the organization has ever had.  The Board of Trustees of the AMA (BOT), who provides governance of the organization and carries out the will of the House of Delegates, is comprised of actively practicing physicians, a resident physician, and a medical student as well as a public member.  Most of us are in private practice; some are in academia and some in large medical systems.  We come from primary care and specialties.  I have no idea what political party each belongs to. Texas has always been strongly represented on the BOT, and I am currently joined there by Russ Kridel, MD, a facial plastic surgeon from Houston. 

AMA policy is set by the representative process of the House of Delegates (HOD), which meets twice a year to debate health policy ranging from medical ethics to economics to advocacy to education to science and public health.  Half of the HOD, which now has more than 600 delegates, are from state medical societies and half are from specialty societies.  Resolutions on health policy are brought from states or specialty societies, debated, and eventually voted on by the HOD.  

Tarrant County has long had an active cadre of physicians and students who were active in the AMA.  Currently, Gary Floyd, MD, serves on the AMA Council on Legislation, and Sealy Massingill, MD, is on the AMA Council on Long Range Planning and Development.  I served on the AMA Council on Medical Education before I became Vice-Speaker.  Steve Brotherton, MD, has recently served as Chair of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Other Tarrant County physicians serving on the TMA delegation to the AMA are Greg Fuller, MD, and Larry Reaves, MD.  Ty Childs, MD, serves in the HOD as a delegate from the American College of Radiology, and Melissa Garretson, MD, serves in the American Academy of Pediatrics delegation.  Our TCOM chapter has produced many student leaders, and I know our TCU and UNTHSC students will, as well.  

I have believed since medical school at Texas A&M College of Medicine that being involved in organized medicine was a professional obligation and that taking the best care of my patients at the micro level also meant taking care of them at the macro level in Austin and Washington, DC.  It’s hard to get health policy adopted on your own. 
Big changes require big groups of people working together, and the more diverse the groups, the better the policy.  

The AMA has a robust Washington, DC, office with talented staffers who are constantly in touch with the three branches of government, HHS, CMS, and the CDC.  When a legislator wants to know what doctors think, they call the AMA.  When CMS needs help with emergency telemedicine rules, they call the AMA.  The heroes of the White House COVID-19 Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx, Surgeon General Jerome Adams (who was an AMA Delegate before he became Surgeon General), and Dr. Anthony Fauci are all AMA members, and all reach out to the AMA when they want physician involvement. 

The AMA is deeply involved in medical education; they make up half of the LCME which accredits medical schools.  They are active in the accreditation of residency training, CME, physician office laboratories, and the Joint Commission. They help appoint members of ABMS boards.  They have worked on getting rid of Maintenance of Certification as we knew it, especially the high stakes exams and changing to a system more reflective of a physician’s practice needs (and more respectful of our time and money). 

This year I will be sharing my travels around the U.S. and the world as AMA President with Tarrant County Physician and discussing the issues that are so vital to all of us.  It will take the whole year to explain all the points of how important our AMA is, and I am eternally thankful for TCMS and TMA for supporting me throughout my career and helping me achieve this incredible honor.  

AMA President-Elect Dr. Susan Bailey on PPE Shoratges and Social Distancing

Watch NBC5’s interview with TCMS member Dr. Susan Bailey, AMA’s president-elect, about PPE shortages, how they may impact our local community, and the importance of staying at home. Dr. Bailey is an allergist/immunologist practicing in Fort Worth, TX. This was originally posted on 3/25/20.

AMA’s ROLE IN COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The following is a message from American Medical Association EVP/CEO James L. Madara, MD. 

The COVID-19 pandemic represents an enormous threat to public health and an extreme challenge to physicians. Now, more than ever, physicians need a powerful ally in patient care. The AMA’s COVID-19 response strategy, attached, provides a road map for our initiatives in an unprecedented pandemic scenario. The strategy frames the AMA’s response in three key areas:

  • Providing clear, evidence-based guidance from trusted resources, including JAMA Network, the CDC, WHO, state and local agencies and AMA subject matter experts.
  • Building an interface with physicians on the front line, allowing them to share their experience with other physicians, the government and key health agencies.
  • Removing obstacles to diagnosis and treatment through our Advocacy, CPT, PS2 and other initiatives.

We are acquiring many ideas and we filter them through the above three strategic channels (keeping in mind the overarching view of what it is the AMA does well). Since early January, we have closely monitored the global outbreak of COVID-19 and compiled up-to-the-moment information for physicians. Here are some examples of what we’ve done recently viewed through the lens of our COVID-19 response strategy:

  • Building an interface with physicians on the front lines
    • Speaking directly to power on behalf of physicians
    • Conversations and updates with our Federation partners and AMA Ambassadors
    • Learning from and sharing first-hand accounts of physicians on the front lines. Listen to JAMA Editor Howard Bauchner, MD interview Maurizio Cecconi, MD in Italy and NIAID’s Anthony Fauci, MD;  read how the Permanente Medical Group developed new approaches to preserve PPE. 
    • Listening to and answering questions from physicians on twitter, leveraging ambassadors to engage and spread the word, and will be conducting Twitter chats to answer physician questions and share experiences. 
    • Called on the Administration for $100 billion dollars to support front line health care personnel and providers.
  • Removing obstacles to diagnosis and treatment
  • AMA Head: Lack of protective gear for health care workers is ‘unacceptable’
  • AMA Calls on Administration to Use Every Lever to Address Protective Equipment Needs, Lack of Tests in COVID-19 Fight
  • Mobilizing a dramatic increase in the nation’s telemedicine capacity through its advocacy and publication of the Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice, a new resource to help physicians implement remote care.
  • Developed new CPT code for coronavirus.
  • Eased restrictions on the use of laboratory developed tests for COVID-19 testing to expand local access. 
  • Administration exercising flexibility in reducing regulatory burdens by allowing physicians to care for Medicare beneficiaries in States other than where they are licensed, waiving enrollment requirements and expediting enrollment, and waiving the requirement for Medicare patients for a 3-day hospitalization prior to covering skilled nursing facility care.  
  • Worked with HHS on the development of new recommendations for deferring non-urgent elective procedures that are consistent with recommendations of the American College of Surgeons. 

The AMA’s COVID-19 news and video coverage is promoted across the AMA website, email, Morning Rounds, all social platforms and Apple News. Since COVID-19 coverage began through March 18, nearly 390,000 users have consumed COVID-19 content from the AMA website, including nearly 17,000 clicks/referrals to JAMA and EdHub resources.

Resources

AMA Letters:

  • March 19  Letter to Congressional Leaders re: urgent steps to help preserve viability of physician practices due to the demands of COVID-19.
  • March 18  Letter to Seema Verma re: CPT code clarification in light of COVID-19 with remote physiologic monitoring and telephone evaluation and management.
  • March 16  Letter to Michael Pence re: Request for assistance with shortage of personal protective equipment for health care professionals.
  • March 13  Letter to Alex Azar re: Medicare assistance for solutions facing the nation with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sign-On Letters:

Press releases to date:

March 20:

March 19:

March 18:

March 17:

March 13:

March 10:

March 5:AMA statement on Congress passing supplemental COVID-19 appropriations

Great Women of Texas – December 2019

By Paul K. Harral

Originally published in the Fort Worth Business Press. Reprinted with permission.

Susan R. Bailey, MD, an allergist/immunologist, has a long history of service in helping guide organized medicine at the local, state and national level. She has served as board chair and president of the Tarrant County Medical Society, and as vice speaker, speaker and president of the Texas Medical Association.

Bailey was elected president-elect of the American Medical Association in June 2019, and will officially take office in June 2020 as the third consecutive woman to hold the position.

Previously, she served as speaker of the AMA House of Delegates for four years and as vice speaker for four years. She has been active in the AMA since medical school when she served as chair of the AMA Medical Student Section.

Bailey has been in practice in Fort Worth for more than 30 years.

She completed her residency in general pediatrics and a fellowship in allergy/immunology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, and is board certified in allergy and immunology, and pediatrics and has been awarded the title of Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Bailey received her medical degree with honors from the Texas A&M University College of Medicine as a member of its charter class, and was later appointed to the Texas A&M System Board of Regents by then Gov. George W. Bush, the first female former student to become a regent.

She has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University and of Texas A&M University College of Medicine.

“With her leadership and tenacity, she has fought for patients and physicians at all levels to get the best care possible,” said nominator Kathryn Narumiya of the Tarrant County Medical Society. “In addition to running a practice, Dr. Bailey is passionate about creating policies that benefit our citizens and make our communities healthier. Bailey has received nationwide recognition for her efforts and is truly a Great Woman of Texas.”

Bailey is married to W. Douglas Bailey, has two sons and one grandson, and is an elder and longtime choir member of University Christian Church.


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