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PHY-010: Advocacy During Clinical Encounters

Advocacy During Clinical Encounters: The Wisconsin Medical Society supports the following principles related to physicians, patients and advocacy:

  1. It is laudable for physicians to run for political office, to lobby for political positions, parties or candidates, and in every other way to exercise the full scope of their political rights as citizens. These rights may be exercised individually or through organizations such as professional societies and political action committees.
  2. Physicians have a responsibility to keep themselves well-informed as to current political questions regarding needed and proposed change to laws concerning access to health care, quality of health care services, scope of medical research and promotion of public health.
  3. Communications by telephone or other modalities with patients and their families about political matters must be conducted with the utmost sensitivity to patients’ vulnerability and desire for privacy. Conversations about political matters are not appropriate at times when patients or families are emotionally pressured by immediate medical problems. Physicians are best able to judge both the intrusiveness of the discussion and the patient’s level of comfort. In general, when conversation with the patient or family concerning social, civic or recreational matters is acceptable, discussion of items of political import may be appropriate.
  4. Physicians should not allow their differences with patients or their families about political matters to interfere with their delivery of high quality, professional care. (HOD, 0415)