AMA CEO to Step Down Following Furor Over Its Stance on Reform

American Medical Association CEO Michael Maves, MD, who has been facing angry physicians following the organization's support of the healthcare reform bill, will step down as CEO of the AMA when his contract ends this coming June, according to a release from the AMA.

The release did not give a precise reason for the resignation but provided some hints. "As we enter into a new era that is redefining the way health care is delivered, both Dr. Maves and the Board of Trustees share the belief that new top leadership is required to address these challenges and to ensure the rights of patients and physicians are passionately and effectively protected," according to a statement by Ardis Hoven, MD, chair of the AMA board.

AMA presidents, each with a one-year term, are the face of the organization, but the AMA CEO, commonly known as the executive vice president, runs the AMA and has a great deal of authority over AMA policy, though it is ultimately decided by the board.

News of Dr. Maves' departure was a surprise to Donald Cinotti, MD, president of the New Jersey Medical Society and leader of the New Jersey delegation at the AMA. The delegation introduced no confidence resolution on the AMA at its June meeting, which was later withdrawn. "I'm very sad to hear this," he told Becker's. "We had a lot of differences, but he always had the best interests of doctors in mind." He added, however, that perhaps it is time to make a change because of physicians' anger toward the AMA's positions.

As the search for Dr. Maves' successor begins, AMA COO Bernard Hengesbaugh will partner with Dr. Maves to the run organization during the transition. Dr. Maves has been the AMA CEO since 2001. Previously he was executive vice president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-HNS from 1994-1999.

"Under Dr. Maves' leadership, the American Medical Association restored its financial stability, weathered the recession and implemented a number of critical initiatives to improve quality of care, increase access to care and establish a fair system of payment for physicians within the Medicare program. We thank him for his many years of distinguished service," Dr. Hoven said.

Read the AMA release on Dr. Michael Maves' resignation.

Read more coverage of the AMA's stance on healthcare reform.

- As AMA Embraced Health Reform, Membership Fell 3.5% in 2009

- Is the AMA the Worst Trade Association Ever?

- AMA Leader: Failure to Avert Looming Fee Cut Would be 'Catastrophe'

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