Established in 2014, the IMS Policy Forum replaced the IMS House of Delegates as the primary policy-setting body for the Iowa Medical Society. This model is designed to ensure a more transparent and inclusive model for IMS members to call for organizational action. This model offers multiple opportunities for members to provide input in-person during live Policy Forum meetings; electronically via online discussion boards or submitted video testimony; and anonymously via secure email submissions.
Since transitioning to the Policy Forum model, IMS has seen record member engagement and members have seen results. In 2018, the governor signed into law telehealth commercial coverage parity legislation, which was a direct result of PRS 17-2-04 – a Policy Forum submission from a group of University of Iowa medical students and physicians calling for such action.
Policy Request Statements
Policy Request Statements (PRS) are the formal requests submitted for consideration during the Policy Forum process. A PRS may seek to do any of the following:
| Establish or Amend Organizational Policy
||Pursue State or Federal Advocacy, Including Legislative Action
||Submit a Resolution to the AMA House of Delegates
||Amend the IMS Bylaws
|Establish an IMS Task Force or Committee
||Take an Organizational Position
||Pursue Organizational Action
||Submit a Question to the IMS Membership
A PRS may be submitted at any time throughout the year, however, it will only be considered during the official Policy Forum periods each spring and fall. A sample PRS is available to guide authors in development of their requests. Staff and Board Liaisons are also available to assist in developing the strongest possible request for consideration.
Call for Action Period
The official “Call for Action” period begins seven weeks prior to each scheduled Policy Forum meeting and lasts for two weeks. During this time, members are invited to submit their ideas for a Policy Request Statement. Individuals interested submitting an idea should contact staff to begin the process. The Policy Forum Speaker will assign a Board Liaison to each PRS author, based upon the content of the request and individual board members’ areas of expertise. Board Liaisons and staff will work with the PRS author during this phase to develop the strongest Policy Request Statement possible.
The second phase is the Testimony Forum, which begins five weeks prior to each scheduled Policy Forum meeting. PRSs received during the Call for Action period are published on a secure page of the IMS website. Members have two weeks from the opening of the Testimony Forum phase to contribute testimony via members-only discussions on the IMS website or submit feedback privately via email. Members may also submit video testimony to be shared on the Testimony Forum discussion boards or at the Policy Forum meeting.
Policy Forum Meeting
The final phase is the Policy Forum meeting. At the meeting, all PRSs and accompanying Testimony Forum comments are considered by the Policy Forum. All IMS members are invited to attend the Policy Forum to engage in discussion and offer testimony, either live or via video, regarding the PRSs under consideration. Authors are invited to present their PRS to the Policy Forum members either live or via video, and answer members’ questions about their request. Following the Public portion of this meeting, the Policy Forum members will convene in closed session to deliberate on each PRS and take action. PRS authors are notified of the Policy Forum’s decision following the meeting.
While Policy Forums must be held at least once a year, they are regularly scheduled to be held once in the spring in conjunction with the Presidential Installation and again in the Fall. In addition, special sessions of the Policy Forum may be called as needed.
Policy Forum Actions
The Policy Forum may take the following actions with a Policy Request Statement:
1. Adopt the PRS as Written
2. Adopt the PRS with Amendment
3. Not Adopt the PRS
4. Reaffirm Existing IMS or AMA Policy in Lieu of all or Part of the PRS
5. Refer the PRS to a Committee or Task Force for Review & Recommendation to a Future Policy Forum
Anonymous Policy Forum Submissions
Recognizing the sensitive nature of some Policy Request Statements and the possibility that a member may not feel comfortable publicly raising an issue for consideration, in 2020 the IMS Board of Directors approved the development of an anonymous Policy Forum submission process. PRS authors wishing to anonymously submit an issue for consideration may select to have an IMS Board member or an IMS staff member serve as their public proxy during the Policy Forum process. Based upon the member’s preference, the Policy Forum Speaker will assign a board member or staff member to work privately with the author to develop his or her PRS. Staff proxies will coordinate with the Board Liaison assigned to that Policy Request Statement. Board proxies will also serve as the PRS Board Liaison.
In 2020, the IMS Board of Directors approved the designation of Board Liaisons to work with PRS authors throughout the Policy Forum process. Board Liaisons are assigned by the Policy Forum Speaker, based individual board members’ areas of expertise and the subject of the individual PRS. The Board Liaison will work with the PRS author to craft the strongest possible request, answer questions about the process, and advocate on the author’s behalf during the Policy Forum’s consideration.
To learn more about the Policy Forum process and submit your ideas for organizational action by visiting the Policy Forum page on the IMS website.