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Resident Forum
February 11, 1998

AMA House of Delegates Adopts Resolutions, Part 2

JAMA. 1998;279(6):428T. doi:10.1001/jama.279.6.428

Last week's Resident Forum summarized resolutions discussed at the 1997 American Medical Association (AMA) Interim Meeting on funding for graduate medical education, resident contracts, and the residency application process. This week's column focuses on the resolutions concerning resident benefits, public health, and related issues. A summary of all the actions recently taken by the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) is available through the AMA web page: http://www.ama-assn.org/meetings/public/int97/.

Educational Leave in Residency Programs calls on the AMA to encourage residency programs across the country to allow residents to attend educational conferences and other professional meetings without requiring the resident to use vacation time.

Extended Leave Policy for Residents asked the AMA to work toward changes in long-term leave policies at residency programs. This resolution was not adopted because the AMA's Council on Medical Education has set up a task force to study all issues related to resident working conditions. The task force will present its report at the AMA's 1998 Annual Meeting.

Chemoprophylaxis for Health Care Workers and Medical Students deals with providing health care workers and students with chemoprophylaxis in case they may have been exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus. The resolution was referred to the AMA Board of Trustees for further study. While the HOD supported the concept of the resolution, there were concerns about who would pay for the chemoprophylaxis and which drugs would be used.

Full Participation of Medical Students and Residents Within the Federation of Medicine concerns resident and medical student representation in the HOD. The resolution calls for the AMA to encourage each state medical society to have at least 1 resident physician delegate and alternate delegate in its delegation to the HOD.

In addition to the resident physician–specific issues presented above, the HOD discussed several resolutions introduced by the RPS on patient care and safety.

Code Status Requirements for Nursing Home Resident s concerns the ability of nursing homes to require that patients or their caretakers sign a do not resuscitate (DNR) order as a stipulation for admission to the facility. Although federal regulations currently prevent this practice, some states are working to overturn those regulations. The RPS's position is that a DNR decision must only be made by patients and their families in consultation with a physician. The AMA voted to oppose any legislative or regulatory attempts that would allow a nursing home facility to require patient consent to a DNR order as a condition of admission, unless that facility is limited to palliative care.

Helmets for Recreational Skiing and Other Winter Sports for Children and Adolescents was a report prepared by the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs in response to an RPS resolution. The report calls for further research into the epidemiology and outcome of head injuries to children and adolescents from recreational skiing and snow-boarding. It also calls on the American Society for Testing and Materials to finalize standards for ski helmets.

Danger of Car Phones requests that the AMA encourage appropriate agencies to assess the use of car phones and their impact on traffic safety.

I want to thank the 35000 members of the AMA-RPS for the opportunity to serve them this year as delegate to the AMA. It is truly an honor to promote issues and resolutions of concern to residents. In addition, I must acknowledge the tremendous contributions made by the many residents who testified at the HOD meeting. We could not continue to be a strong and respected voice in the HOD without them.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or needs regarding this report or other RPS issues. My e-mail address is scottreid1@aol.com.