Tuesday Aug 27, 2013

AAFP Members Set Academy's Course at Congress of Delegates

Saturday was the deadline for state chapters to submit resolutions to be considered next month during the Congress of Delegates.

Based on the more than 50 resolutions submitted, it's going to be an interesting meeting. Those resolutions cover topics ranging from clinical issues to education, payment and more. Some, without a doubt, will generate spirited debate.

The Congress of Delegates is the ultimate policy making body for the Academy, which functions as a representative democracy. Each chapter can select two delegates and two alternates. These family physicians then represent the interests of their chapters during reference committee hearings and business sessions at the Congress.

Although only delegates may vote during the proceedings, did you know that any Academy member present during the September 23-25 event may speak and give testimony during the reference committee hearings? Academy members have the right to be heard and voice their opinions on the issues we address during the reference committees, and our rules actually allow any member to introduce pertinent resolutions (see rule No. 9to the Congress of Delegates during the opening session.

The Academy has swelled to more than 110,000 members in recent years, and we are a diverse bunch. We are Republicans, Democrats and independents; liberal and conservative; old, young and in between. We come from different backgrounds, different religions and different practice types, and we practice medicine in a wide variety of settings that come with their own unique needs and provide us with our own unique perspectives.

That diversity makes for some compelling discussions. Although we have many common passions and interests, there also are issues that divide us. We will not agree on everything.

But we will hear all the voices of those who want to be heard, and we will have an informed debate during the Congress. I look forward to it.

Delegates also will choose a president-elect, a new class of officers and Board members during the Congress. You can check out all the candidates online

For those who can't join us in San Diego, you can follow the business sessions of the Congress via streaming video on aafp.org. More details about that will be published in AAFP News Now prior to the start of the Congress.

John Meigs, M.D.is speaker of the Congress of Delegates, the governing body of the AAFP.

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