By Dr. Kirsten Stoesser
Welcome to day two of the AAFP Congress of Delegates (COD)! Today’s discussions focused on resolutions submitted in the areas of Advocacy and of Organization and Finance. Over 250 participants, inclusive of family medicine state academy delegates and alternate delegates from all 50 states, plus representatives from Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, the US Uniformed Services, the Resident Section, and the Medical Student Section, joined in on the Zoom call. Amazingly, the technology was pretty seamless! As much as I miss what otherwise would have been a conference in the fantastic city of Chicago, there are definite benefits to being able to attend a national meeting from the ease and comfort of your own home! (ie, casual clothes and frequent and accessible snack breaks!)
Resolutions presented and discussed today in the area of Advocacy included proposals for reducing regulatory burdens on medical practices, providing vaccine notifications from external administering agencies to primary care physicians, presenting COVID-19 vaccines to the public only once they have been determined to be safe and effective and distributing these vaccines equitably to all populations, having a unified public health response in the face of public health crises, removing the X-waiver requirement for buprenorphine prescribing for opioid use disorder, and developing a system of universal healthcare.
I want to express much gratitude to our UAFP members who were able to fill out the survey on several of the proposed resolutions, including those focused on proposals in the realm of universal healthcare. The majority of our Utah constituent respondents were in favor of not linking healthcare coverage solely to employment, and were in favor of an option for a single payer system. The majority of our Utah members did not support the assertion that a universal healthcare system is the most optimal system, and there were concerns expressed about the effectiveness of such a system. These Utah perspectives were relayed to the national caucus. Your feedback and insights are extremely helpful as we hear and deliberate additional testimony along with other physicians across the country.
Regarding resolutions in the category of Organization and Finance, proposals were heard to better structure the process for submitting resolutions to the AAFP COD, and to reaffirm the role of the COD in setting AAFP policy, especially during public health emergencies, and while utilizing an electronic format.
The actual voting on each of the proposed resolutions will occur next week, when the COD re-convenes (Sunday Oct 11th – Tuesday Oct 13th). The second half of the Congress will also include virtual sessions to meet candidates for AAFP President, election of the next AAFP President, delivery of the Address of the current AAFP President, Dr. Gary LeRoy, installation of the 2021 AAFP President, Dr. Ada Stewart, and announcement of the President-Elect.
More updates to follow!