The financial picture at the American Medical Association is brightening, according to the auditor's report submitted for the AMA House of Delegates meeting, which takes place this week in Chicago.
The association ended 1995 with $214.9 million in assets, an increase of $21 million from the year before.
The AMA's operating revenues totaled $199.2 million in 1995. Operating expenses were $188.6 million, leaving after-tax profit of $6.9 million. Equity-the difference between the group's assets and liabilities-grew to $93.4 million from $91.2 million. That began to reverse the decline in equity from $104.7 million at the start of 1994.
The handbook prepared for delegates reports that female membership in the AMA continues to grow. It increased 8% from 1993 to 1995, while male membership decreased 1.3%.
As of June 18, the AMA had 265,821 members, down 2,773 from June 18, 1995. The AMA lost 4,000 members when Pennsylvania "deunified." This year, for the first time, that state didn't require state medical association members to belong to the national association.
The board of trustees is recommending no dues increase this year, holding the line at $420 for a regular membership. The AMA expects profit margins from business operations to "grow nicely" while its internal re-engineering restrains spending. In addition, the association vacated and leased out two floors in its Chicago headquarters. "Maintaining dues at the current levels will further AMA's objective of maximizing membership market share," the trustees wrote.
A report of the council on medical service says physicians are working fewer hours than they used to and seeing fewer patients. Doctors who work for institutional employers work the fewest hours, followed by doctors in physician groups. Self-employed doctors work the most hours. The AMA is analyzing the reasons doctors are working less.
Per custom, the board of trustees has issued a spate of reports with recommendations for action, and state delegations have proposed scores of resolutions to the House of Delegates. There is the usual raft of proposals to restrain managed-care companies and restore "balance" between physicians and payers. In addition, members suggest the AMA should:
Create a new membership category for medical group administrators.
Launch an education campaign to promote medical savings accounts.
Review the advisability of letting not-for-profit organizations create for-profit subsidiaries that compete with taxpaying companies.
Increase the AMA's influence in the National Committee for Quality Assurance and its HEDIS accreditation process for managed-care plans.
Require managed-care companies to provide uncompensated care.
Raise the pressure on insurance companies and HMOs to ban "gag clauses."
Lobby to have boxing banned.
Study the ethical implications of capitation.
Prohibit noncompete agreements when physicians sell their practices to managed-care companies.
Require insurers to contract with any willing provider.