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July 3, 2023

2023 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates Report

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Image of Dr. Ethan Lazarus speaking in front of an audience in a conference room, with a presentation on the screen next to him

Ethan Lazarus, MD, FOMA (Immediate Past-President of the OMA) attended the Annual AMA Meeting as the OMA delegate, and Anthony Auriemma, MD, JD (Trustee, OMA Board of Trustees) attended as the Alternate Delegate. There were many high-priority items debated at this meeting, covering issues such as gun violence, narcotics overdose, female reproductive rights, physician hassles, burdensome prior authorizations, and Medicare payment reform.

Obesity-Related Resolutions

Clarifying the Role of BMI as a Measure in Medicine

With regard to obesity, there were two resolutions of interest. The first was a report from the AMA Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH), examining the pros and cons of BMI. At the Interim AMA Meeting in the Fall of 2022, the Medical Student section submitted a resolution calling on the AMA to recommend the removal of BMI as a standard medical measurement. This was referred to the CSAPH. The AMA adopted the report, now titled “Clarifying the Role of BMI as a Measure in Medicine.”

This report passed, apart from a small part which was referred for more work:

“(6) that in some clinical circumstances, BMI may have utility and that BMI > 35 should continue to be used for risk stratification. (7) that BMI is a useful tool for population-level surveillance of obesity trends due to its ease of use and low risk for application inconsistencies. (8) that BMI is useful as an initial screener for metabolic health risks.”

Advocating for Improved Coverage for Bariatric Surgery

The second obesity-related resolution dealt with assisting states in advocating for improved coverage for bariatric surgery. The OMA co-sponsored this resolution; however, our additions were erroneously not included in this resolution. The ASMBS agrees to cosponsor a future resolution with our concerns due to this oversight by AMA staff. We are considering an additional component of our future resolution requesting the AMA advocate against the use of compounded Semaglutide; however, with the incredible volume of business at this meeting, we chose not to extract the resolution, as this really is a separate and distinct issue from coverage for surgery.

Obesity Caucus at AMA

On 6/11/2023, Drs. Lazarus and Auriemma again hosted an Obesity Caucus. This was widely attended, and a Q&A was held with AMA Board Chair Dr. Sandra Adamson-Fryhofer, Board member Dr. Alexander Ding, and members of the AMA Improving Health Outcomes (IHO) team.

Advances in Obesity Care Presentation

On 6/12/2023, Dr. Lazarus offered a 1-hour CME presentation titled “Advances in Obesity Care.” Despite multiple overlapping meetings, over 50 people attended and asked great questions throughout and after the presentation. CME credit is being awarded to attendees by the OMA.

This presentation was recorded as a webinar and is available now in the OMA Academy.

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Headshot of Ethan Lazarus, MD, FOMA, sitting in front of a gray background with a black suit and purple shirt

Ethan Lazarus, MD, FOMA

Dr. Ethan Lazarus is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, and a Fellow of the Obesity Medicine Association. He runs the Clinical Nutrition Center in Greenwood Village, Colorado, where he has practiced full-time obesity medicine since 2004.

Dr. Lazarus is also a Senior Clinical Instructor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and serves as a preceptor in their Obesity Medicine Fellowship training program.