PRN separates from AMA, keeps no-strike policy

The labor organization will continue to follow AMA ethical standards.

By Tanya Albert amednews correspondent — Posted April 5, 2004

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Physicians for Responsible Negotiation and the American Medical Association are bidding adieu.

Nearly five years after a controversial vote in the AMA House of Delegates created a physician collective bargaining group and provided funding, the two entities in March announced that PRN will operate "as an entirely independent organization with no connection to the AMA."

Both sides say the split is amicable.

"The AMA and PRN each appreciate and respect the efforts and support of the other during the period of their association," AMA Executive Vice President and CEO Michael D. Maves, MD, said in a statement. "Likewise, they each wish each other success in achieving their continuing common goal of support and assistance to physicians."

PRN is optimistic about its future. At press time, the organization said it was waiting to finalize an agreement to become part of the Service Employees International Union.

PRN has been mulling its options for about a year.

In 2002, the American Medical Association Board of Trustees approved a loan to keep PRN afloat while the National Labor Relations Board considered two appeals involving physicians who PRN represents. Whether the AMA would continue to fund PRN beyond that point was unclear. One decision has already been handed down in PRN's favor and the second decision is expected soon.

"Our board felt it was time to look for funding sources to sustain us and help us grow," said PRN President Mark Fox, MD. "It certainly keeps us alive."

Dr. Fox said that PRN, as part of its constitution, will continue to follow AMA ethical guidelines and will continue to be a no-strike organization.

"That's not changing," Dr. Fox said.

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