The AMA House of Delegates is a legislative body. As such, it discusses and debates action items and then adopts them as AMA policy, puts them off for further study, or defeats them. The items include reports prepared by the AMA Board of Trustees or various AMA councils, and resolutions submitted by state or specialty society delegations.
Like other "legislatures," much of the detail work of the House of Delegates is done in committee. Each item of business is assigned to one of eight reference committees for consideration. Each reference committee consists of seven physician or medical student members of the house. They hear testimony, which can come from any AMA member, on each item on the agenda. The reference committees then meet to make recommendations on each item to the full house. Those recommendations serve as the starting point for debate on the reports and resolutions by the full house.
Reference committees met throughout the day on Sunday, June 14. The House of Delegates will begin its debate on the reference committee reports on Monday, June 15.
Four members of the Texas delegation are serving on reference committees at the 2009 annual meeting. All of the remaining members of the Texas delegation are assigned to work groups that study the individual reference committees' agendas in-depth and testify on issues of specific interest to Texas physicians.