In addition to a policy on recreational marijuana, several proposals were adopted as new policies by the members of MMS House of Delegates at the Interim Meeting, held on December 3, 2016. These included aid-in-dying, climate change, drug pricing, epinephrine auto-injectors, and concussions:
Aid-in-Dying — Delegates approved a resolution directing the MMS to conduct a survey of its members to determine the attitudes of physicians and physicians-in-training in Massachusetts toward medical aid-in-dying. The survey is scheduled to be conducted in 2017.
Climate Change — Physicians approved a policy adapted from the American Medical Association (AMA) stating that the MMS agrees with the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report that states that “human influence on the climate system is clear, that recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems, that climate change will amplify existing risks and create new risks for natural and human systems, and that risks are unevenly distributed and greater for disadvantaged people and communities.” The policy also states that the MMS recognizes the importance of physician involvement in policymaking at all levels and supports efforts to mitigate climate change to protect human health.
Drug Pricing — Acknowledging the soaring prices of drugs and attempting to increase transparency surrounding drug pricing, MMS delegates adopted a policy to advocate to the appropriate Federal agencies that regulate direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs that such advertising be required to state the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
Epinephrine Auto-Injectors — Delegates approved a resolution declaring MMS support of schools that use their own emergency supply of epinephrine auto-injectors instead of requiring parents to purchase individually labeled auto-injectors for each child and that each student and employee who has life-threatening allergies be required to provide their school with an individualized health care plan. The resolution stated that the MMS communicate its policy regarding support for school-supplied epinephrine auto-injectors and the required health care plans to school organizations throughout the state.
Concussions — MMS physicians adapted policies from the AMA and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons on concussions, stating that the MMS would continue to work with other organizations to increase athletic safety by promoting concussion awareness; developing a program of public education stressing the importance of prevention, diagnosis, and proper treatment of concussion and brain-related injuries; and ensuring that an athlete exhibiting symptoms is properly evaluated, treated and cleared before returning to play. The policy also included the support of the adoption of evidence-based, age-specific guidelines on the evaluation and management of concussions for use by physicians, health professionals, and athletic organizations.
Among other policies were those covering electronic health records, reimbursement for telemedicine services, and the organization’s bylaws and administrative procedures, including diversity within the organization and committee and leadership representation.
For additional information visit www.massmed.org/hod/#IndexOfHouseVotes.