Archive for Official Statement

Medical Association Unveils ‘Your Care is at Our Core,’ Emphasizing Personal Connection in Health Care

Medical Association Unveils ‘Your Care is at Our Core,’ Emphasizing Personal Connection in Health Care

83% of Alabamians Agree: Doctor-Patient Relationship is ‘Central’ to Health

A strong bond between doctors and patients leads to better health care, say Alabama doctors. A new awareness campaign launched by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama called “Your Care is at Our Core” reinforces this important message.

A doctor-patient relationship based on mutual trust allows doctors to help patients navigate what can be complex health challenges. It is a responsibility doctors say they don’t take lightly.

“From the moment that you begin training to become a doctor, it’s made very clear and apparent to you that people are going to place their trust in you. They’re placing their lives in your hands so you have to take that very seriously,” said Dr. Hernando Carter, a doctor of internal medicine in Birmingham. “It has to be the most important thing to you.”

Building Trust
Trust is essential because patients are more inclined to share crucial information about their health concerns and personal circumstances when they feel a genuine connection with their doctor.

This honest exchange of information enables doctors to make informed decisions, tailor treatment plans and provide care that aligns with each patient’s unique needs and preferences.

A Collaborative Approach to Wellness
Moreover, a strong doctor-patient relationship fosters a supportive environment where patients feel empowered and engaged in their healthcare journey. When patients feel heard and valued, they are more likely to adhere to treatment regimens, follow medical advice and actively participate in the shared decision-making process.

“I tell my patients all the time that I can’t make you well on my own. It’s a team effort, something that we have to work together on and I think that resonates well with patients,” said Dr. Brittney Anderson, a family physician in Demopolis.

‘Be a Good Listener’

Physicians recognize that effective communication and empathy are vital in fostering positive patient outcomes. By building rapport and understanding their patients’ concerns, doctors deliver patient-centered care and uphold the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship as a cornerstone of healthcare excellence.

“One of the most important things when I train medical students and residents is I teach them to sit down with the patient,” said Dr. William Admire, a doctor of internal medicine in Mobile. “The most important thing about being a doctor is to be a good listener, show respect, show empathy, compassion.”

Statewide Consensus
According to a statewide survey conducted in March on behalf of the Medical Association, 83 percent of Alabamians agree “the doctor-patient relationship is central to health care.” The poll also showed that 83 percent agree with the statement: “It is crucial for physicians to be involved in my care so that I have the best outcomes.”

To watch a video of Alabama physicians discussing why they view the doctor-patient
relationship as sacred, click here.

To view the “Your Care is at Our Core” video message, click here.

Posted in: Advocacy, Health, Official Statement

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Gov. Ivey Declares March 30 “Doctors Day” in Alabama, Doctors Share Stories of Why They Became Physicians

Gov. Ivey Declares March 30 “Doctors Day” in Alabama, Doctors Share Stories of Why They Became Physicians

Gov. Kay Ivey has proclaimed March 30 as “Doctors Day” in Alabama and doctors are celebrating the occasion by sharing personal stories about why they chose medicine for their profession.

In a video released by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, several doctors say as they were growing up it was their own doctors who inspired them.

Dr. Hernando Carter, a doctor of internal medicine in Birmingham: “I was a preemie when I was born and spent a lot of time at the doctor with asthma and bronchitis. I know when I went to the doctor she would give me a breathing treatment, help me feel better and she’d give me a lollipop. So when I was 4 years old I said, ‘That’s a cool job. You get to help people feel better and give them candy’…I give my patients a lollipop at the end of every visit just as kind of an homage to her.”

Dr. Tonya Bradley, a primary care doctor in Auburn: “I grew up in a rural area of Alabama where our family doctor is the person who took care of us. When I was around five my dad was diagnosed with cancer and spent a whole summer in the hospital and I was there a lot, and I was really just touched by the physicians and the way they cared for our family.”

Dr. Brittney Anderson, a family medicine physician in Demopolis: “My parents say that I’ve been saying I wanted to be a doctor since I was six years old and I never changed my mind…Really the desire to help people and to make people feel well and be well is at the core of why I practice medicine and I think why I’ve always wanted to practice medicine.”

For these and other Alabama physicians, caring for patients is at their core. Physicians entered the practice of medicine to care for patients, to be their patients’ strongest ally, and to give personal attention to those they are honored to treat. 

Doctors Day is observed annually as a time to honor and recognize the physicians who care for Alabamians every day of the year.

Gov. Ivey’s proclamation notes that about 17,000 physicians are licensed to practice medicine in the state, and “those who have chosen the medical profession serve their communities with reverence for human life and individual dignity.” 

To read the Governor’s proclamation, click here.

To watch the video, click here.

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Statement by the Medical Association of Alabama on the Recent Alabama Supreme Court Ruling on the Legal Status of Embryos

Statement by the Medical Association of Alabama on the Recent Alabama Supreme Court Ruling on the Legal Status of Embryos

The Medical Association of the State of Alabama expresses concern over the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision regarding the legal status of embryos, as it relates to In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures that may result in a woman becoming pregnant. 

The significance of this decision impacts all Alabamians and will likely lead to fewer babies—children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins—as fertility options become limited for those who want to have a family.

In addition, the ruling has already forced UAB, the largest healthcare system in the State of Alabama, to stop providing IVF services to Alabama couples. Others will likely do the same, leaving little to no alternatives for reproductive assistance. IVF is oftentimes the only option for couples wanting to conceive.

In closing, we ask that the Alabama Supreme Court stay or revisit their ruling to ensure continued access to IVF care in Alabama.

Posted in: Legal Watch, Official Statement

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Opioid Prescriptions in Alabama Fall for 8th Consecutive Year

Opioid Prescriptions in Alabama Fall for 8th Consecutive Year

Contact: Jeff Emerson, 205-540-2247

MONTGOMERY – Alabama physicians are taking action to reduce the number and
potency of opioid prescriptions and to increase access to medication that rapidly
reverses opioid overdoses, according to a new report released Thursday from the
American Medical Association.

The report shows:
Opioid prescriptions in Alabama decreased 41.6 percent from 2012-2021. From
2020-2021, opioid prescriptions in the state declined 1.6 percent, marking the
eighth consecutive year the number of opioid prescriptions in Alabama has
The dosage strength of opioid prescriptions fell 52.7 percent from 2012-2021 and
dropped 6.5 percent between 2020-2021.
Prescriptions of naloxone to treat patients at risk of an opioid overdose rose 851
percent between 2012-2021 and 35.4 from 2020-2021.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals accessed the state’s Prescription
Drug Monitoring Program
more than 5.5 million times in 2021, an increase of
three percent from 2020. Healthcare providers who dispense opioids in Alabama
must report the information to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to help
physicians detect the abuse and misuse of prescriptions.

The Medical Association of the State of Alabama was one of the first medical
associations in the country to offer a continuing education course to train physicians on
safely and effectively prescribing opioids. Since 2009, more than 8,000 prescribers in
Alabama have completed the course.

“Alabama physicians are advancing the fight against the opioid crisis by continuing to
reduce the number and potency of prescribed opioids in our state, and by furthering our
education on opioids,” said Dr. Julia Boothe, President of the Medical Association of the
State of Alabama. “While we are making good progress in these areas under a
physician’s control, Alabama is in a worsening overdose epidemic due primarily to
illicitly manufactured fentanyl, which is found in more than 75 percent of counterfeit pills
and other substances. No community is safe from this poison.”

Fentanyl overdose deaths in Alabama increased a staggering 135.9 percent from 2020
to 2021, (453 deaths in 2020 to 1,069 in 2021).

Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, chair of the American Medical Association’s Substance Use and
Pain Care Task Force, said fentanyl is “supercharging” the increase in fatal drug

“What is becoming painfully evident is that there are limits to what physicians can do.
We have dramatically increased training and changed our prescribing habits, reducing
the number of opioids prescribed while increasing access to naloxone, buprenorphine
and methadone. But illicitly manufactured fentanyl is supercharging this epidemic,” said
Dr. Mukkamala.

Resources for Help: Alabamians looking for a list of substance abuse treatment
services can go online to

To read the full report:

Posted in: Official Statement, Opioid

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Medical Association Supports Continued Funding for Maternal Death Investigations

Medical Association Supports Continued Funding for Maternal Death Investigations

‘Shocking’ Nearly 70% of Deaths Are Preventable, Experts Say      

MONTGOMERY – The Medical Association of the State of Alabama today joined Alabama legislators in calling for continued state funding to investigate why Alabama mothers die from childbirth and pregnancy complications at more than double the rate of women nationally.

The funding for this research, which was first appropriated by Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature just last year, enables the Alabama Maternal Mortality Review Committee (AL-MMRC) to pay for additional autopsies and costs associated with compiling case files and reviewing medical records of Alabama mothers who died up to a year after giving birth. While the AL-MMRC was launched in 2018, it relied solely on the work of volunteers to undertake such reviews until last year.

Appearing at a press conference in Montgomery today, Aruna Arora, MD, MPH, President of the Medical Association, applauded Senator Linda Coleman-Madison for sponsoring a resolution spotlighting the findings of the first AL-MMRC report and acknowledging continued funding of the program is critical to saving Alabama mothers.

“The recent report of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee was both shocking and informative,” said Dr. Arora. “That nearly 70 percent of the deaths could have possibly been prevented highlights the inequities of our current health system and underscores the need for the continued annual review to determine why these high numbers of deaths are occurring. Funding the review committee provides invaluable insight into the deaths of Alabama mothers and will enable the experts to develop specific strategies to save lives in the future.”

For its initial report, the AL-MMRC undertook a review of all maternal deaths in the state from 2016. Highlights from that report include:

  • 36 mothers lost their lives within one year of the end of pregnancy and 36 percent of those deaths were directly related to the pregnancy.
  • Nearly 70 percent of deaths were determined to be preventable.
  • Mental health and substance use disorders were identified as key contributors in almost 50 percent of deaths.
  • 67 percent of deaths occurred 43 to 365 days after the end of pregnancy.

Additionally, the AL-MMRC also made more than 100 recommendations to improve maternal health. Chief among those recommendations is for the state to expand Medicaid. 

“Right now, amid a global pandemic, affordable and accessible health care is more important than ever,” continued Dr. Arora. “Just last week, new research found the risk of maternal mortality to be 22 times higher in women who tested positive for COVID-19 during pregnancy. Thus, with other research showing reduced maternal mortality rates and positive maternal health outcomes in states that expanded Medicaid, the decision to expand here in Alabama is abundantly clear.”

The Medical Association appreciates Governor Ivey’s recommendation for initial funding for the review committee for 2020-21 as well as the continued efforts from legislative leaders like Senator Coleman-Madison, Rep. Laura Hall, and others.                                                                                 

The Medical Association also launched an online social media effort aimed at increasing awareness of maternal health needs with #SaveAlMoms and a website:

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Partnering with ALAHA to Celebrate 2021 Doctors’ Day

Partnering with ALAHA to Celebrate 2021 Doctors’ Day

Today is a day set aside nationwide to honor the physicians who care for us every day of the year.  Doctors’ Day was established on March 30 in 1934, and later in 1991, President George H.W. Bush proclaimed National Doctors’ Day as a time for the nation to celebrate the dedication and leadership of physicians.  In Alabama, today is a time to formally recognize our state’s nearly 17,000 licensed physicians serving millions of residents through private practice, in hospitals, in research, and in other health care facilities.

“Physicians often lead their patients and communities through some of life’s most challenging moments and the past year has proved to be even more demanding,” said John S. Meigs, Jr., MD, President of the Medical Association. “On behalf of the Medical Association, I wanted to express my appreciation for the thousands of physicians throughout Alabama who have sacrificed so much during the COVID-19 pandemic. A simple ‘thank you’ cannot convey the gratitude that we feel towards Alabama’s healthcare providers. Physicians have been and continue to be on the front lines and have demonstrated unparalleled selflessness, dedication, and courage. This pandemic has exposed shortcomings in our healthcare system but has also highlighted many opportunities for growth. I am confident that as we enter a new year, we can work together to reach a new normal. If you want to know how you can thank your physician, continue to wear your mask, socially distance, and use other precautionary measures.”

“Healthcare today is more complex than ever,” said Alabama Hospital Association President, Dr. Don Williamson, MD. “Even without the disruption of a global pandemic, physicians are faced with more challenges and pressure than ever before. What our healthcare professionals have endured over the past year has been monumental, and we could never adequately express how thankful we are for them. Physicians have faced a giant this year, and countless Alabamians are still with us today because of the dedication, selflessness, and expertise of a local physician. While we can end the month of March 2021 with a much more positive outlook than March 2020, let’s not forget that there is still much risk for our healthcare workers. Please continue to wear a mask and use precautions. It’s the right and responsible thing to do.”

We all understand the critical role our doctors and other health professionals have played in leading us through this past year. Help us thank our doctors today for what they do for the health of all Alabamians!

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Report: 34 Percent Decline in Opioid Prescribing since 2014

Report: 34 Percent Decline in Opioid Prescribing since 2014


CONTACT: Mark Jackson, Executive Director (334) 954-2500

CONTACT: Mallory Camerio, Director of Communications (334) 954-2580

Report: 34 Percent Decline in Opioid Prescribing since 2014

According to a new report released by the American Medical Association, Alabama physicians have reduced opioid prescribing by 34.4% since 2014, increased the use of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) and decreased the total morphine milligram equivalents by 46.6% since 2014. Our physicians also have continued to educate themselves on safe prescribing, pain management and recognizing signs of addiction. 

“Everyone can agree there is no quick fix to the country’s opioid epidemic. In Alabama, our physicians took a leadership role many years ago by taking a hard look at where we were and where we needed to be,” said Mark Jackson, executive director of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. “As an association, we created the first educational program to train our physicians, and we passed legislation to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion. Even though Alabama has come a long way in the fight against opioids, we have a long way yet to go.”

Key points from the 2020 report:

  • Opioid prescribing decreases for the sixth year in a row. Between 2013 and 2019, the number of opioid prescriptions decreased by more than 90 million — a 37.1 percent decrease nationally.
  • Total morphine milligram equivalents has decreased by 46.6% since 2014 in Alabama.
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) registrations and use continue to increase. In 2019, health care professionals in Alabama accessed state PDMPs more than 4 million times – a 20 percent increase from 2018. More than 22,500 physicians and other health care professionals are registered to use state PDMPs.
  • The Medical Association was one of the first states to offer an opioid prescribing education course in the country in 2009. The main course is offered three times each year and has reached more than 5,000 prescribers to date.
  • Access to naloxone increasing. More than 1 million naloxone prescriptions were dispensed in 2019—nearly double the amount in 2018, and a 649 percent increase from 2017. In 2016 the Medical Association helped pass legislation in Alabama authorizing the State Health Officer to sign a standing order to allow Alabama’s pharmacists to dispense naloxone to people in a position to assist others at risk of an overdose as well as to an individual at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose.


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Statement from the Medical Association on Statewide Mask Requirement

Statement from the Medical Association on Statewide Mask Requirement

The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths throughout the state have been increasing at a dangerous rate. We now have over 58,225 cases and approximately 1,183 deaths from COVID-19 in our state. With physicians on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Medical Association of Alabama, the state’s largest professional organization of physicians, announced their support of Governor Kay Ivey’s new amended ‘Safer at Home’ order.

The order states that a face covering must be worn in public. More specifically, it stipulates masks must be worn when within 6 feet of a person from another household. The order will go into effect Thursday, July 16 and will remain in effect until July 31.

“For a contagious respiratory infection for which we have no treatment, masking, isolation and social distancing are our only effective means to slow down the spread of this disease and save lives,” said Dr. Meigs. “Governor Ivey and State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, are to be commended for having the courage to make this difficult decision and to do what is right, what was needed, in the face of the political pressure against these measures.”

“We want the economy open. We want businesses open. We want schools open. The best way to do this is to wash your hands, socially distance, and wear a mask/face covering over the mouth and nose to lower the spread of droplets that contain the virus,” said Dr. Arora. “The evidence is clear – masks and face coverings significantly reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and we believe that we should take care of ourselves as a responsible community.”

Until we have a vaccine and effective treatments for COVID-19, our only option is to wear a mask, exercise safe social distancing, and wash your hands/use hand sanitizer regularly. We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19. We all have the power to protect ourselves, our fellow Alabamians, and the most vulnerable among us. Be informed, stay healthy, and please wear your mask.

John S. Meigs, MD

Medical Association President

Centreville, Alabama

Aruna Arora, MD

Medical Association President-Elect

Huntsville, Alabama

Posted in: Coronavirus, Official Statement

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Statement in response to Ivey’s Safer at Home order

Statement in response to Ivey’s Safer at Home order

Statement applauding the decision to continue the Safer at Home Order and encouraging increased safety precautions from citizens

Alabama’s healthcare provider organizations were pleased to see the Safer at Home order extended this morning and to hear from local and state leaders about the importance of staying the course on the precautions being taken.

While all of us are suffering from quarantine and mask fatigue, now is not the time to let up. Over the past week, Alabama has added almost 6000 new COVID-19 cases, the highest 7-day total during the course of the pandemic. The number of hospitalizations are increasing, and the state has now had more than 900 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Things are not getting better. They are getting worse.

Physicians, hospitals, nursing homes and other providers have treated those with the virus while continuing to provide care to other non-COVID patients who need their help. They have worked long hours and remain dedicated to their mission of healing.

If you want to find a way to thank these selfless men and women, then do your part to stop the community spread of this disease. It’s as easy as these four steps:

· Stay at home as much as possible.

· Wear a mask when you leave your house.

· Wash your hands frequently.

· Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and others, avoiding crowds at all costs.

We would also urge local governments in counties with rising numbers of cases to consider mask ordinances, and we thank those leaders who have already taken action to require masking.

Basically, as the Governor and others noted in the news conference this morning, it all boils down to using our common sense. The virus is real; it’s serious, and it will take all of us doing our part to control its spread.

Stated on behalf of the Alabama Hospital Association, the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and the Alabama Nursing Home Association

Posted in: Coronavirus, Official Statement

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President’s Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19

President’s Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19

We now have thirty-two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus infection in Alabama.  We have all seen how this new virus has spread around the world from its beginning in China just a few months ago.  The World Health Organization has now classified this as a pandemic.  However, please remember that compared to the flu, the number of cases in Alabama, in this country and worldwide are still quite small.  I am hopeful that folks will not panic and let common sense dictate their response to this situation.  Our state and federal governments, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Medical Association and others are all working to implement reasonable responses to this evolving situation.  Everyone’s health and safety is our primary concern.

Some important things to remember:

  1.  Over 90% of the cases of COVID-19 have been mild and resemble the common cold.
  2. Half of the people worldwide that have contracted this disease have now completely recovered.
  3. Folks most at risk for this disease include the elderly and especially those with underlying medical conditions such as COPD, diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
  4. Not everyone needs to be tested for the coronavirus, those needing to be tested need to meet certain criteria that suggest they may be at risk for this disease.

How can you best protect yourself and avoid becoming ill from the coronavirus:

  1. If you are sick, stay home.  If you have a cough and fever, stay home.
  2. If you are sick, call your family physician or primary care provider and let them help you determine if you need to be tested or seen. 
  3. During any kind of pandemic, you should avoid going to the Emergency Room or the Doctors’ Office for routine things that could be handled after the pandemic passes.  Remember: that is where the sick folks are and that is who you need to avoid.
  4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.  Hand sanitizers should only be used when soap and water are not available.
  5. Cover your cough, cough into your elbow.
  6. Keep your hands away from your face.
  7. Avoid large crowds and crowded spaces.  Social distancing, which means staying at least 6 feet from the nearest person, is the best way to avoid coming in contact with this and other infectious diseases.

We need to all work together to meet the challenge of this new coronavirus disease.  Avoiding panic and using good common sense measures can help us all stay safe and healthy.

John S. Meigs, MD, FAAFP

President, Medical Association of the State of Alabama

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