Healthcare Business News

AMA membership numbers down: report

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: May 3, 2011 - 3:00 pm ET

According to a demographics report on its website, the membership of the American Medical Association fell almost 5.3% last year, to just below 216,000 as of last December. A membership total of 228,000 is listed in the AMA's 2009 annual report.

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The AMA's annual reports typically include financial information and an official membership number. The 2010 report has not been posted yet.

A membership figure of 215,854 is listed several times in the report from the AMA's Council on Long Range Planning and Development, which is posted on the AMA website on a webpage that includes numerous reports and proposed resolutions to be considered during the upcoming annual AMA House of Delegates meeting set for June 18-22 in Chicago.

The report that contains the 215,854 figure, Demographic Characteristics of the House of Delegates and AMA Leadership, compares the demographics of the AMA leadership with the organization's entire membership and with the overall U.S. physician population. (The report notes that race and ethnicity data is missing for almost 20% of AMA members and about 25% for all U.S. physicians, “limiting the ability to draw firm conclusions.”)

It marks the third-straight year of declining membership for the organization, whose roster included 228,000 physicians and medical students in 2009; 236,000 in 2008; and 241,000 in 2007. In 2007, the organization gave away 8,577 free memberships for first-year residents who had been student members the previous year, which resulted in a 1% bump in membership from 239,000 and stopped a seven-year streak of declining membership.

Even with the decline, the AMA is still the nation's largest physician organization. The American College of Physicians, with its 130,000 internal medicine physicians and students, is the largest specialty society and the second-largest group overall.

The Medical Group Management Association and American Medical Group Association belong in a different category. The AMGA has 390 member medical groups in which some 117,000 doctors practice. The MGMA has 22,500 members who lead 13,600 medical groups in which some 280,000 physicians practice.

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