If I were a doctor, I'd belong to my state or local medical society and a specialist organization or two.
I mention this because the American Academy of Family Physicians reported that, as of Dec. 31, 2010, it had 97,600 members, or almost 3,000 more than it had the year before. This 3.2% increase is significant, according to the AAFP, because, membership is now at a record high—even though, like the American Medical Association, it has some vocal members who disagreed with the group's leadership on healthcare reform and over the "Consumer Alliance Program" it entered into with Coca-Cola.
Meanwhile, the AMA saw a 3.4% decline, down to 228,000 members from 236,000 at last count and saw a 3.9% reduction in dues to $42.2 million from $43.9 million, according to its 2009 report.
The Medical Group Management Association reported that its membership has been "flat" after years of steady growth around 3.5%, resulting in a 0.7% decline in dues to just below $8.4 million from almost $8.5 million. The MGMA's 21,500 members lead some 13,700 medical groups where about 275,000 doctors practice. How the trends toward practice consolidation and physician employment will ultimately affect MGMA membership remains unclear.
The American Medical Group Association, whose ranks include some of the major medical organizations that smaller groups may be consolidating into, continues to grow. The AMGA reports that it now has some 375 member organizations where more than 113,000 doctors practice. This includes 44 groups—comprising 14,800 physicians—that joined last year and 11 groups with 2,200 doctors that have signed on already in 2011.
Also showing growth is the American College of Physicians, the nation's second-largest doctor group behind the AMA and the largest specialty society with some 130,000 internal-medicine physician, resident and student members.
According to information on archived ACP news releases, membership stayed steady at 115,000 between 2000 and 2004, and then it jumped to 116,000 in 2005; followed by a leap to 119,000 in 2006. In an e-mail, ACP spokesman Steve Majewski said that membership, which is recorded each June 30, grew to 124,000 in 2007; 128,000 in 2008; 129,000 in 2009; and 130,000 in 2010 (or 130,490 to be exact), totaling a 13% increase for the decade.
For state physician organizations, the largest remains the Texas Medical Association with about 45,000 members, followed by the California Medical Association with 35,000; Medical Society of the State of New York, 30,000; and the Florida Medical Association and Ohio State Medical Association each with around 20,000.
While all operate under unique circumstances, they all face the same dire economic conditions and divisive political forces. I can't say why some are growing while others are not, but I'm keeping an eye on the situation.
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