The Chicago-based American Medical Association, still struggling to develop a strategy to attract new members after steady declines stretching back to 1998, has lost at least 3,000 dues-paying members over the last year, according to a new report.
A report to be released at the AMA's annual advocacy meeting early next month in Atlanta reveals that membership in the nation's biggest doctors' group has now fallen to about 247,000, or about 2% lower than the total in 2003. The 2003 figure, meantime, was lower than the decline of about 4% in the previous year.
That preliminary total, which has plunged from a high of nearly 294,000 members as recently as 1997, could drop below the 247,000 figure, according to the report submitted by J. James Rohack, M.D., a member of the AMA's board of trustees and the chairman of the group's membership committee. However, "As of Sept. 16, 2004," Rohack wrote, "the AMA is on target to meet 247,000 members by the end of the year."
Rohack saw some positive signs despite the drop-off in dues-paying members, noting in his report that the drop "represents another year in which the rate of decline is less than previous years." The AMA hasn't been able to stem the continued declines in membership despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last few years on consultants, focus groups, studies and strategic initiatives.