Author: Rebekah Bernard MD
Physicians experienced a roller coaster of emotions when the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest association of physicians and medical students, posted and then quickly retracted a tweet supporting physician-led care.
The tweet, which depicted a graphic of Scrabble tiles spelling out the letters “PA,” “NP,” and “CRNA,” and the words, “because patient safety isn’t a game,” stated:
“Patients deserve care led by physicians. Read how #OurAMA fights to #StopScopeCreep and defend patient safety through research, advocacy, and education.”
Although the AMA has been using the social media slogan “#StopScopeCreep” for some time, this particular post stirred up a firestorm in the Twitterverse, with physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and even some physicians criticizing the AMA and demanding that the post be taken down. Commenters complained that the tone was “divisive” and inappropriate during a pandemic. Several physician influencers called on the AMA to “do better” and to “elevate our colleagues.”
But the tweet was not without its supporters.
Many physicians took to social media to applaud the AMA for its stance supporting physician-led care.
In response to the criticism that the post was “divisive,” advocates pointed out that nurse practitioner and physician assistants have used the pandemic as an opportunity to advocate for increased practice independence.
To the disappointment of many physicians, the AMA abruptly removed its post without comment. Some doctors have perceived this retraction as evidence that the AMA caved to pressure from non-physician entities. “It’s shocking and discouraging to see medical organizations being bullied by nonphysician providers,” said Vrunda Pandya, MD, an anesthesiologist.
Carmen Kavali, MD, an AMA member and board member of Physicians for Patient Protection said that, “it’s disheartening that the truth is offensive to some. The truth is that patients deserve physician-led care because everyone on the healthcare team is important, but not interchangeable.
When cancel culture comes for truth, we should all be afraid.”
But all is not lost. In a private message, AMA president Susan Bailey MD assured physicians that the AMA is not backing down and will continue to fight. As the AMA regroups, physicians can always look to Physicians for Patient Protection, a group with the sole mission of advocating for physician-led care and truth and transparency among healthcare practitioners.
We will not be intimidated or bullied.
We will not back down from our mission of ensuring patient safety.
Has the AMA done anything since to publicly advocate against independent mid-levels? I don’t see steady support coming from them on social media platforms. In contrast, it feels like almost weekly we hear of other organizations pushing for legislation of unsafe prescribing rights. Where is our representation?
As a NP I as well as the majority of NP’s do not provide unsafe or substandard care. We are educated in the same colleges and universities and take credentialling exams as MD’s. We have the ANA which is our national organization which again have similar goals as AMA of population health outcomes. There are Nursing Boards in every state to ensure public safety and professional accountability. As a member to the team that is task with public health having assistance in that completing the duty should be a relief for physician and populations that are underserved. Now the ability to safely and efficiently give the patients and their families evidence based care we have to have access to the tools to provide this care. For families requiring care the inability to access medication/therapies because of lack of MD presents a time delay/lack of care. Most NPs do not want to be MDs but have immense respect for MD’s and see ourselves as trained advocates for the quest for excellence in providing health for all US families.