CMA: Rejects Plan to Slim Down
The California Medical Association at its annual meeting declined to cut the size of its board and house, a move some members had hoped would "give the association more money to use toward advocacy." American Medical News reports that "[d]windling membership and the corresponding drop in dues revenues are forcing state and county medical societies across the country to cut back, and the CMA -- which lost 1,200 members last year -- is no exception." Although the recommendation to reduce the number of delegates by 123 would have made a dent in CMA's $230,000 cost of hosting its annual event, the measure "met with stiff opposition from those who felt the house was the 'heart and soul' of the association." CMA House Speaker Dr. Gary Krieger said, "This is an opportunity for the physicians of our state to come together, get to know one another and learn each other's views. ... If we go to a pared-down house we might lose that." Dr. Jack Lewin, executive vice president of the CMA, said he supported directing more money toward advocacy programs, but that the most efficient way to do that would be to "convene the house every other year and to reduce the number of issues that come before it." Lewin said the CMA has already cut 60 staff members in the last 10 years from a staff of 145 and that further cuts would hurt advocacy programs. Advocates for change "are now pinning their hopes on a Re-engineering Task Force," which consists of Lewin and other executives, board representatives, specialty societies and other facets of CMA's membership. "We need to define functions before structure and we need to do it one time -- once and for all," said Dr. James Hay, an Encitas physician who will head the task force (Booth, 4/12 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.