Coincidence? American Medical Association CEO quits after Republican victories

Michael Maves, the president of the nation’s largest doctor group announced his resignation today.  He was one of the Obama White House’s top allies in the recent health care battle. During the Clinton administration’s prior attempt to expand the federal government’s role in health care, the AMA’s opposition was often cited as a key point against the legislation.

During Maves’ tenure, that position was reversed. Given the vast and significant public (and physician) discontent with Obamacare, this raises questions about what the AMA will be advocating now that victorious Republicans have signalled their desire to repeal or significantly change many aspects of what’s become popularly known as Obamacare.

Full press release is below. Note that Maves is departing after nine years of service, just short of ten:

CHICAGO, Nov. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — The Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association (AMA) and Michael Maves, MD, MBA, Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer, have mutually decided that Dr. Maves will complete his successful leadership of the AMA when his current contract ends on June 30, 2011. Dr. Maves has served in this role since 2001.

“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,” said Ardis Hoven, MD, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “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.”

During his tenure, Dr. Maves personally led important multi-association efforts such as the “Scope of Practice Partnership,” a coalition of national medical specialty organizations and state medical societies established by the AMA to clarify the roles and capabilities of non-physician health care providers. The AMA’s House of Delegates also took a number of positions related to various aspects of health system reform. Working under the direction of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Maves ably led the management team in carrying out those directives.

“I have proudly served the AMA and its members for nearly nine years. The end of my current contract in June 2011 presents a natural opportunity to transition the leadership of the AMA to a new physician executive,” said Dr. Maves. “I am tremendously thankful for the opportunity to have worked alongside such an exceptional team of professionals. They are unwavering in their commitment to helping doctors help patients, and I intend to remain fully engaged in our shared mission.”

The Board of Trustees will engage an executive search firm to identify the next physician executive to lead the AMA and expects a new Executive Vice President, CEO to be in place by the conclusion of Dr. Maves’ contract. In the interim, Bernard Hengesbaugh, Chief Operating Officer, will partner with Dr. Maves to ensure a seamless transition. No additional executive changes are expected.

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