AMA wrestles with reform fallout
... membership declines, margin lags ’07: report
A s the American Medical Association prepares for its annual meeting next month in Chicago, its recently released 2009 annual report paints a fairly optimistic picture for the 163-year-old organization.
The AMA experienced a relatively strong financial rebound despite a loss in revenue and a continued decline in membership, which some say was caused in part by the association’s support of healthcare reform.
For the 10th-straight year, the AMA operated in the black and, more significantly, its $16.5 million profit margin was more than six times the $2.5 million it made in 2008. But, to put things in perspective, the 2009 figure is still 32.4% lower than the $24.4 million it made in 2007 and 45.5% lower than the $30.3 million it made in 2006.
It should also be noted that the profit was due to, in large part, spending cuts. Revenue was down by $13.4 million as publishing operations saw a $7.7 million decline in advertising and money from membership dues was $1.7 million less than the year before.
According to the report, membership declined almost 3.4% to 228,000 from the 236,000 reported the previous year—which itself was about a 2% decline from the 241,000 reported for 2007. (The 2007 membership figure is notable in that it marked the first time in seven years that membership increased, to 241,000 from almost 239,000 for about a 1% jump. But that boost was achieved by a giving away 8,577 free memberships for first-year residents who had been student members the previous year.)
Membership dues account for about 16% of AMA revenue, the report stated, and the $42.2 million collected in 2009 was almost 3.9% lower than the $43.9 million collected in 2008.
“The slight dip in the AMA’s 2009 membership is consistent with recent annual trends,” according to an e-mail statement from the AMA, attributed to board member Robert Wah. “We are committed to increasing the AMA’s value to physicians, especially in the