Physicians represent a group with diverse opinions. UNITED PHYSICIANS will only advocate for beliefs held in common by an overwhelming majority of physicians.
Step one – introduction of projects: Potential advocacy “Projects” will be identified by UNITED PHYSICIANS members and submitted to the “petition” section of the portal. The submitting member will clearly describe the problem to be addressed, potential specific goals, methods of achieving the specific goals and estimated budget (preferably in phases). The web portal will ask for a Project Summary and provide access to uploads of more detailed information and evidence. Members will then submit viewpoints and vote to sign the petition. If the petition garners signatures from more than 15% of members, the Project will move to the formal voting phase. Voting will continue for 14 days. Ongoing vote tallies will be published. Members can change their vote during the voting phase, until the voting phase concludes. The President will have the power to extend the voting phase for up to two months. No project will move forward unless at least a SUPERMAJORITY of voting members vote to undertake that project.
A strong minority will have veto power: To deter UNITED PHYSICIANS from being identified as supporting any one political perspective, a mechanism is needed to ensure minority expression. If a Project receives a SUPERMAJORITY vote, dissenters have two weeks to circulate a petition calling for a veto of that Project. If, within two weeks, more than 30% of all UNITED PHYSICIANS members sign the petition, the Project will be rejected. This ensures UNITED PHYSICIANS projects are supported by an overwhelming majority of U.S. physicians.
Step two- identify specific goals: If a project is voted in by a SUPERMAJORITY of voting members, a list of specific desired goals will be presented by the submitting member. There may be one or more desired goals. Each desired goal will be listed individually. Members will have 7 days to discuss and suggest additional and /or alternative desired goals. After 7 days, a list of potential desired goals will be compiled and voted upon. Voting will begin on day 8 and last 7 days. Each potential desired goal will be voted on separately. Members will be able to change their vote during the voting phase, until the voting phase concludes. The President will have the power to extend the voting phase for up to two weeks. No goal will move forward unless at least a SUPERMAJORITY of voting members vote to advocate for that specific goal.
Step three – identify a plan of action to obtain desired goal(s): After specific goals are voted upon, the submitting member will provide a specific action plan with an estimated budget, i.e. lobbying state governments, lobbying congress, lobbying medical societies, advocating for research, directly supporting research, public awareness campaigns etc. Members will have 7 days to discuss and submit additional and /or alternative action plans, along with associated estimated budgets. After 7 days, a list of potential action plans will be compiled and voted upon. Voting will begin on day 8 and last 7 days. Each potential action plan will be voted on separately. Members can change their vote during the voting phase, until the voting phase concludes. The president will have the power to extend the voting phase for up to two weeks. No action plan will move forward unless at least 50% of all votes cast approve that specific action plan.
Step four – fund raising: It is anticipated that some projects will require specific funding, additional to the UNITED PHYSICIANS annual budget. The estimated total additional funding as well as the suggested funding per member will be specified during Step 3. It is advisable to break funding requirements into project phases. If a project can be funded via UNITED PHYSICIANS, a portion of contributions will likely be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. To the extent a project involves lobbying elected representatives, a portion of the contribution will be made to UNITED PHYSICIANS Advocacy and are unlikely to be tax deductible. If a project requires funding in addition to the annual member dues, it will not be started until at least 50% of the estimated required funding for phase one has been raised. Subsequent phases will not be initiated until at least 50% of the estimated required funding for that phase has been raised.