It’s a Wrap! Final Day of the Virtual Congress of Delegates

By Sarah Woolsey, MD, MPH, FAAFP

Well, we made it through this landmark Congress of Delegates. Knitted together as a Utah Delegation on a busy text chain, logged on safely to a platform brother of Zoom that seemed to keep the business in order, and led by some really awesome Speakers of the Congress that appeared calm as can be—we made it to the end!  My basement office felt fuller and warmer as I connected to this awesome event.

Dr. Sarah Woolsey joins the other delegates and alternate delegates online for the first ever virtual COD.

Some highlights for you.

As a quality improvement fan—I was happy to hear that the AAFP Board asked for a special Task Force to evaluate the 2020 Virtual Congress of Delegates to see what worked and what did not. Our Academy is committed to innovative ways to connect in any circumstance. There may be surprise successes though we all acknowledge we miss being physically together.

The day started with prompt discussions of important topics, first Health of the Public and Science. This committee deals with public health and policy to advocate for our patients. Resolutions regarding development of an AAFP position paper on climate change and member education regarding older driver impairments were passed. Lively discussions on the importance of AAFP developing a comprehensive position paper on police violence was discussed and ultimately, we passed a resolution to develop a position paper that omits specific financing recommendations as the Congress felt it as out of scope. I look forward to seeing what comes of this process and applaud the policy advance.

Our colleagues from Minnesota brought a resolution regarding our Academy joining the scientific movement to end the use of race as a proxy for genetics in the practice of medicine. The New England Journal of Medicine recently wrote about this in an eloquent editorial that opened my eyes to expanse of this issue. The article covers 13 medical algorithms that include race and the article shares examples of places when this adds inaccuracy to diagnosis and categorization of patients, especially of black race. This is an exciting time to see our Academy bring education, guidance, and commit to add to the national dialogue to open our eyes to places where race categorization does not work and hinders our ability to serve our patients. I am proud of this resolution passing boldly and to the amazing testimony of our fellow family physicians that we are scientists, and we are striving as an organization to get this bias out of the science of medicine.

In the Advocacy session we dealt with the way that AAFP will discuss payment policy. The AAFP has done a great job addressing this in past years and the Congress continues to ensure that we are clear that health coverage for all is critical to seeing the advance in health that we desire. The current AAFP policy was reaffirmed as strong by the Congress.

We were supportive of AAFP policy to ask for the X Waiver to be removed for buprenorphine prescribing and hope to see prescribing this life saving medication to be as easy as prescribing insulin. Family physicians ask for barriers to all substance use care be removed to let us do this important work.

Finally, after the work was done, we celebrated I am thrilled to see Ada Stewart take the help as our President! She is articulate, strong, an amazing leader already and we will be well represented. And —-congratulations to our President Elect, Sterling Ransone!! I am lucky enough to serve with him on my Commission and he is great, he knows our world, and I appreciate his specific mention of the importance of Geriatric Care in his speech!

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as a Delegate to the AAFP and I welcome any questions or comments. Be well.