Today, the US population 65 years of age and older represents 16% of the population but is expected to grow to be 21.6% by 2040 [U.S. Census Bureau, Population Projections]. The progressive growth in the over 65 and above cohort will continue to require lifelong learning and re‐careering for many people, including physicians. Senior physicians therefore will experience second careers, and the AMA‐SPS is helping to foster healthy aging and lifelong learning.
A senior physician organization has been affiliated with the AMA for over 40 years. The AMA senior group was originally founded in 1975 as the American Retired Physicians Association (ARPA). From 2006‐2012, senior physician issues were addressed by an AMA Board of Trustees‐appointed Senior Physicians Group. The Committee members responded to questions from the Board as requested. However, there was no voice in the AMA’s House of Delegates and no meaningful way to impact policy. While state or specialty societies have senior physician delegates, the geographic or specialty‐related topics often overtook proposing business on senior physician issues.
The AMA’s Senior Physicians Section (SPS) was established as a Section at the Interim Meeting in 2012. The SPS has been a Section now for over ten years and is allotted a Delegate and Alternate Delegate in the House of Delegates. The mission of the SPS is to engage physicians 65 years of age and above, both active and retired, to introduce and promote ideas, policies, products, and services that are of relevance to senior physicians. The AMA Senior Physicians Section was recently reviewed by the AMA Council on Long Range Planning and Development (CLRPD) and recommended that that the American Medical Association renew delineated section status for the Senior Physicians Section through 2027.
The Senior Physicians Section looks forward to providing the AMA with a centralized structure to ensure focus, particularly in the areas of lifelong learning and healthy aging. The data makes it clear that seniors need to remain responsive to effectively address the needs of the evolving physician demographics in the United States.
The Section provides leadership in addressing the issues germane to the seniors. By presenting these ideas in the form of resolutions to the HOD, it has helped to ignite a change in the policies for the senior constituency in the AMA.
The following resolutions were presented by the Senior Physicians Section to the HOD at the 2022 Interim Meeting in Hawaii and were approved by the HOD.
- Res. 809: Uniformity & Enforcement of Medicare Advantage Plans and Regulations– adopted as amended
- Res. 810: Medicare Drug Pricing and Pharmacy Costs–reaffirmation of current AMA policy
- Res. 811: Covering Vaccinations for Seniors through Medicare Part B–adopted as amended
- Res. 908: Older Adults and the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline–adopted as amended
- Res. 909: Decreasing Gun Violence and Suicide in Seniors–adopted as amended
The Section also provides education programs to physicians on a variety of topics. The SPS chooses to present CME programs, as most senior physicians who attend the meeting are still in active practice or wish to maintain their licensure. A sampling of these titles is listed below.
- 2017: Keeping Your Brain Fit
- 2018: How to Successfully Transition Out of Medicine and Into Retirement
- 2019: Down a road and back again: Making a late‐life transition into a meaningful retirement
- 2020: Understanding Ageism and Strategies to Reduce its Negative Impact
- 2021: The future of aging and its impact on health care: If we live heathier, can we live longer?
- 2022: Surgery in Older Adults, A Risky Undertaking: Learn More About Optimizing Perioperative Brain Health
Why a senior group at the Michigan State Medical Society
Physician leadership will continue to play an important role in addressing the changes in an aging society. These issues are important for physicians in all states, including my state of Michigan. The current members of the AMA Governing Council of the AMA‐SPS feel strongly that every state Medical Society should have a senior physician group and be able to advocate on behalf of senior physicians, senior patients, and their needs.
Ved V. Gossain, MD
Chair, AMA Senior Physicians Section
Michigan State University
Swartz Professor of Medicine
Chief Division of Endocrinology (Emeritus active)