AMA: Chairman To Face Reform Candidate In Presidential Election
In the wake of the American Medical Association's Sunbeam endorsement scandal, a former chairman of the AMA board has been drafted to run for AMA president against current board chair Dr. Thomas Reardon, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Dr. Raymond Scalettar, who was chairman of the AMA board from 1993-1994, cited a "groundswell of support" in his decision to challenge Reardon for the presidency of the nation's most powerful medical group. He said, "The pressure on me to run has been enormous. This is no longer a stealth campaign. I am now an active candidate." Said Reardon: "[T]he fact that there is a challenger demonstrates that this is a democratic organization."
The Long Shadow Of Sunbeam
Reardon, who has what the Sun-Times calls "one of the highest-profile jobs in medicine," has been attacked by critics over the Sunbeam deal, which cost five top AMA executives their jobs. Scalettar alleges that "[t]here was obvious nonfeasance, a failure to deal with the problem (Reardon) should have been aware of." He also says the AMA has been "distracted" by the fallout from the Sunbeam scandal and "has been unable to respond promptly on national health issues, including managed care and drug abuse." While Reardon admits Sunbeam "took a lot of energy out of the board and staff," he cites the AMA's advocacy of the patients' bill of rights, "a patient-safety program and a program to accredit doctors" as achievements the group has accomplished during his term. The election for president-elect will take place June 17, with the winner to take office the following year (Wolinsky, 6/9).