Posted on | January 31, 2017 | 4 Comments
The AMA and AAMC two months ago offered a full throated endorsement of primo anti-immigrant Tom Price to lead HHS. But this weekend’s radical actions by Price’s potential boss, Donald Trump and his chief political adviser and National Security Council member, Stephen Bannon, apparently was a bridge to far.
AAMC CEO went public today proclaiming the organization’s opposition to the lock out of immigrants from 7 Muslim majority countries. Darrell Kirch, MD said, “We are deeply concerned that the Jan. 27 executive order will disrupt education and research and have a damaging long-term impact on patients and health care…The United States is facing a serious shortage of physicians. International graduates play an important role in U.S. health care, representing roughly 25 percent of the workforce…Because disease knows no geographic boundaries, it is essential to ensure that we continue to foster, rather than impede, scientific cooperation with physicians and researchers of all nationalities, as we strive to keep our country healthy.
The AMA response was considerably more anemic and wobbly. AMA president, Andrew Gurman, MD said, “The American Medical Association is assessing the administration’s executive order and how it may affect physicians, medical students, residents and patient care. Guidance is urgently needed from the administration to clarify that this order will not impact patient care or prevent travelers’ access to timely medical treatment.” In a profession known for decisiveness, even when challenged by sleeplessness and life or death urgency, this seems a strange and needy plea for outside help.
Both organizations federation followers have begun to find their own voices. American College of Cardiology president Richard Chazal, MD said, “The ability to share ideas and knowledge necessary to address this epidemic is imperative. Policies that impede this free-flow of ideas will have a detrimental impact on scientific discovery, as well as the lives of patients around the world.”
The American College of Physicians (ACP) president Nitlin Damle, MD said “In 2016, 3,769 non U.S. citizen international medical graduates obtained first-year residency positions. If the executive order prevents medical residents from being able to come to the U.S., this could potentially affect the care for thousands of patients. The College is greatly concerned about the devastating impact on public health of a ban on refugees from war-torn countries that are most at risk of injury, death, persecution, and deprivation.”
Tufts University president Tony Monaco said “We are deeply concerned about the impact of this Executive Order. We take great pride in the global nature of our community and have always embraced and valued our international members from around the world. As we have stated previously … we will not provide information or assist in the enforcement of immigration laws except as mandated by a subpoena, warrant, or court order.”
The American Hospital Association president Rich Pollack said “…we are concerned that, without modification, President (Donald) Trump’s executive order on immigration could adversely impact patient care, education and research. We are hopeful that the administration will find solutions to preserve patient access to medical and nursing expertise from across the globe, ensuring care is not disrupted.”
Now it is time to connect the dots. Some of the above, notably the AAMC and AMA, stood down or supported Tom Price’s nomination for HHS. He is a driving force behind the anti-immigrant movement in America. If you are against Trump and Bannon’s weekend assault, it is time to stand up and oppose Tom Price.