After decline, AMA reports small rise in membership

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The American Medical Association has seen a small rise in membership after a decade of decline in their ranks. This is good news in light of recent reports that the United States could be faced with a physician shortage in coming years.

The organization has reported a 2.5 percent increase in 2005 over the previous year, which translates into 3,300 more physicians. As a result, AMA dues revenue increased for the first time in a decade. Overall, the AMA reported a $28.1 million operating profit for the year, the organization said.

Nearly a quarter of all medical doctors and osteopathic physicians in the United States are AMA members — and including medical students, the organization had 244,005 members in 2005.

Part of the reason behind the small rise could be a shift in the way the organization markets in all 50 states, with a new logo, sponsorship of national roundtable discussions, membership polling, and other programs.

"The re-branding campaign we launched last June along with renewed focus on membership and member outreach has already begun to show positive results," said Michael D. Maves, MD, executive VP and CEO, AMA "We are particularly thrilled to report membership increases among female physicians, international medical graduates and 'young physicians' as these physicians are key to the future of medicine."

Another organization change that could be drawing more members is the organization’s shift towards taking stands on topics that the AMA believes matter more to practicing physicians.

"We made progress on several key legislative priorities in 2005, but our work is far from done," said Maves. "We need to build on these successes in 2006 as we continue to work to pass federal medical liability reforms and secure a more fair and equitable Medicare payment system that will protect seniors' access to care."