Monday, March 19, 2007

Our Latest Letter to the AMA

March 19, 2007

Dr. Michael D. Maves, Executive Vice President, CEO
American Medical Association
515 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Dear Dr. Maves:

Thank you for your letter dated March 8, 2007. The meeting we had was historic – the first the disability community has held with the American Medical Association. We want to keep the dialogue alive.

We do appreciate that you will send Senate Bill 799, the Community Choices Act of 2007, to your legislative staff in Washington, DC to review. As we have stated before, we want the American Medical Association to support the bill as soon as possible. Toward that end, we would like to offer our expertise in assisting your staff to learn about this bill and its co-sponsors.

Please reconsider our request to meet members of the Ethics Group, at least on a quarterly basis or to have representation on an advisory committee, similar to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Advisory Committee that already exists within your organization.

You may not think it is “fruitful” to establish such meetings, but as an organization whose members treat so many people with disabilities (and receive payment for the services) the responsible thing to do is communicate with the people you serve, as a whole. Especially in light of your recent discussions about pediatric decision-making, how will you know what our perspective is without or representation in your organization’s structure?

We, as women with disabilities, have a very real stake in the decisions you and your members make and we deserve to be heard, at the table. By continuing to refuse to bring us into you committees, you will be maintaining the status quo, a standard of unregulated experimentation and devaluation of people with disabilities. We want to change this standard but we need your help to do that.

We look forward to your reply by April 2 about setting up regular meetings with the Ethics Group or, in the alternative, setting up a disability advisory committee. Thank you very much for your continued response.


FRIDA, in coalition with ADAPT and Not Dead Yet

Many thanks to those who helped draft and edit this letter.