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    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Another Good Thing Come to an End: MedGadget notes that the American Medical Association plans to start charging for online access to their newspaper. This is, indeed, a loss for the public. Nowhere else can you learn of such things as New Jersey's cultural competency law (For physicians only. Politicians, lawyers, and judges don't have to be culturally competent.), or that Congress is considering legislation that would effectively put an end to specialty hospitals?

    The AMA's website doesn't mention it, but according to MedGadget the price to read for non-AMA members is quite steep:

    o find out why the decision was made, our very own Dr.O, member of the AMA, contacted Linda Smith, a senior service representative in the Department of Member Relations of the AMA. During the prolonged discussion, Mrs. Smith informed Dr.O that AMA News will now be available for $30 for a 24 hour period.

    It's often a good read, but not that good. While the AMA is doing everything it can to boost its income, this move can only be detrimental to the organization's attempts to get to publicize its causes. Too bad. They must not know about blogs.

    You can tell them how you feel here.

    UPDATE: The American Medical News responds, in a comment that originally appeared at MedGadget:

    I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on the upcoming shift to exclusive AMA member access to the American Medical News online edition (known to many of you as www.amednews.com ).

    American Medical News is principally designed to be a newspaper offering useful news and information for and about physicians. In meeting that commitment to our readers, we report on a wide variety of topics, certainly among them the policies and activities of the AMA. We at AMNews hope that we have a valuable offering that would be of interest to virtually every practicing physician in America.

    That said, the cost of presenting AMNews online is borne almost entirely by AMA members and is offset only somewhat by ad revenue. The decision was made, therefore, that members should benefit from their support by retaining access to the site. In the same spirit of rewarding those who underwrite the publication, paid print subscribers will also be allowed online ! access.

    The target date for this change is June 1. The same access policies will very shortly apply to Avantgo readers of AMNews. Details are available at the AMNews Web site ( www.amednews.com/info ).

    This is at odds with the information that appears on this site - www.MedGadget.com - and is attributed to an AMA service representative. I am looking into that matter now, although what I believe must have happened is that online access information for JAMA was given instead of information for AMNews. As for AMNews, there are no immediate plans for a $30 per day pass, nor will content be put up free after six months. I am sorry that there was apparently some confusion in this matter and will see that steps are taken so that accurate information will be provided to the service center to pass along to callers.

    I should note that the AMA makes its advocacy and public health messages well known in a variety of ways, including a useful Web site. Those activities certainly will not cease.

    One last thing: Those of us who produce AMNews in print and online enormously appreciate the support that AMA member physicians have shown over the years - it has been critical in maintaining the quality and usefulness of this publication. Now is the time to honor that debt in a tangible way.

    I can appreciate the corporate pressures, but I still think the AMA is missing an opporutnity to get their message out. The American Medical News provides more depth of coverage than the press releases at the AMA's website. But, that's their business decision to make - wise or unwise.

    posted by Sydney on 5/17/2005 02:41:00 PM 0 comments


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