New governance rules go into effect for CMA

October 19, 2015

With the close of the California Medical Association's (CMA) 144th House of Delegates (HOD) on October 17, new governance reforms take effect. These reforms will allow CMA to be more nimble and effective in making decisions on critical issues that are important to physicians.

In 2013, CMA’s Governance Technical Assistance Committee (GTAC) recommended, and the HOD adopted, a proposal to create a more modern, efficient system of governance and enable more focused and effective advocacy programs. In 2014, HOD approved updates to CMA’s bylaws that enabled these changes.


CMA’s long-standing traditions of democratic participation and representative governance will continue, but HOD will focus on the most pressing matters facing physicians and the practice of medicine. A new HOD structure will focus on a limited number of current major issues—the most important matters facing physicians and the practice of medicine each year, while the Board of Trustees will assume responsibility for policy-making on all other matters.


The new bylaws will also accommodate the submission of resolutions from individuals throughout the year, rather than just once a year, allowing CMA to react quickly—via its democratically-elected Board of Trustees—to critical issues in real time. Any CMA member may author a resolution and have it submitted to the Board of Trustees using the year-round process. This approach preserves the ability of individual members to participate in and influence CMA policy-making in a more timely way, rather than waiting for a once-a-year opportunity at HOD, which had been CMA’s tradition.


In 1856, CMA was established with a mission very similar to the one followed today—promoting the science and art of medicine, the care and well-being of patients, the protection of the public health and the betterment of the medical profession. The new governance structure will allow the membership to maintain its position as a nimble, proactive organization ready to lead the practice of medicine for another 150 years.


In 2016, HOD will become a two-day meeting, during which delegates will discuss and vote on the most important issues facing CMA members and the practice of medicine, including any items that the Board refers to the House. Delegates will also elect officers, receive annual reports on the actions of the standing councils and committees during the previous year, and attend educational sessions on key issues.


CMA would like to thank those members who participated in this three-year process, particularly the GTAC members who worked so hard on this proposal and the trustees and delegates who debated the issues.



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