August 30, 1958


JAMA. 1958;167(18):2206. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990350044009

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LL THREE branches of the organizational democracy of the A. M. A. have functioned separately but harmoniously in resolving a disagreement between some medical educators and medical practitioners.

The disunity arose when the Richmond County Medical Society hesitated to accept into membership any physicians who treated fee-paying patients at the University of Georgia's Talmadge Memorial Hospital while serving as faculty members of the university medical school. The society argued that these physicians were unable to control disposition of the fees and therefore they were taking part in the corporate practice of medicine. The hospital, in turn, contended that all fees went into its research fund and that compensation from patients able to pay was preferable to free service for them.

What makes this situation significant is that its handling by the medical profession illustrates the strength of the A. M. A.'s "three branches of government" as an effective constitutional democracy.

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