“WAFP and AAFP Policy Updates”
The AAFP Congress of Delegates recently met in Philadelphia. Wisconsin was well represented with Andrea Gavin, Suzanne Gehl, Mike Mazzone, and Robert Sedlacek as our team of Delegates and Alternate Delegates, along with Alan Schwarzstein, AAFP Speaker, and other WAFP leaders. The Congress took up resolutions and discussion in the broad areas of:
- Focus on Physician Well-being
- Health of the Public
- Practice and Professional Issues
And Some highlights and important resolutions discussed and acted on include:
- Resolutions addressing the closure of Family Medicine Residency programs and incentives for entering family medicine and other primary care specialties. This is particularly important as we move aggressively to achieve the goals of the 25 X 2030 campaign, aiming for 25% of US medical students entering family medicine within the next decade. (Current numbers are less than 10% nationwide). There is a lot of work to be done in this area.
- Important discussions with the ABFM on alternative methods to the one-day certification for satisfying the cognitive component of our continuing certification requirement. The Family Medicine Certification Longitudinal Assessment has largely been a success and will be expanded in the future, but there was a very healthy discussion with ABFM officials regarding continuing to look at additional methods of documenting currency, more CME on healthcare systems, economics and policy, and other growth beyond traditional CME and testing. This was a productive discussion and I think we can look forward to increasing options and flexibility as we move forward.
- Public health and inclusiveness issues also featured prominently in discussions and resolutions. Resolutions addressing stigma and bias associated with obesity, family separation and detention conditions at the southern border, and efforts to improve health care for formerly incarcerated people after their release were all debated, as were several measures related to environmental health.
- As is common at the AAFP Congress, several controversial measures were again taken up. Abortion care, Medical Aid in Dying, care of immigrants and other topics come up each year. The Congress of Delegates did not vote for any major changes of policy in these areas during this session.
Additional details can be found a the AAFP website.
As always, I am continually impressed by the breadth and depth of our specialty, by the variety of thoughtful opinions and by the civility with which differing opinions can be openly discussed and debated within the main deliberative body for our specialty. We are a heterogeneous specialty, representing the full gamut of beliefs, practice styles, generations and geography, and yet we annually come together and seem to keep our eye on the ball: Advocating to ensure that family doctors continue to be the physicians best trained, best informed, and most capable of leading the care transformation needed to improve America’s health. I am more convinced than ever that we are just what the doctor ordered: Family Medicine for America’s Health.
Thanks for all you do for our patients and our state.