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Governor's Newsletter, Spring 2002

William E. Dismukes, MD, MACP
Governor, Alabama Chapter

Annual Scientific Meeting of Alabama Chapter

Bill Dismukes, MD, FACP

Our upcoming annual meeting will be held once again at Perdido Beach Resort, Orange Beach, AL, on May 30-31-June 1, 2002. An outstanding program and group of speakers have been assembled by Jim Bonner, MD., program chairman.

Clinical topics will be:

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Pro and Con
  • Diabetic Nephropathy: A Preventable Disease
  • Bioterrorism - What You Must Know
  • Update on Osteoporosis
  • The Anxious Patient
  • Six Clinical Vignettes by Associate members.

Other features will include 1) report from Washington, 2) update from the College, and 3) Clinical Skills Workshop on Pelvic Examination including Endometrial Biopsy.

Special activities are also planned:

  • Two receptions, one on Thursday evening and another on Friday evening to honor Laureate awardees
  • A Town Hall Meeting and a Business Meeting
  • Golf tournament
  • Deep sea fishing outing

Please join us for an informative meeting as well as fun, relaxation and visits with friends. For more information on registration and hotel reservations, please call Charlotte Brown at 205-934-5191 or visit the ACP-ASIM website at www.acponline.org and click on Chapters, Alabama.

Alabama Chapter, ACP-ASIM Annual Past Leaders Breakfast

Saturday, June 1, 2002
7:00 a.m. - Perdido Beach Resort
Held during Chapter ACP-ASIM Annual Meeting

All past Governors of the Alabama Chapter, ACP and all Past Presidents of Alabama ASIM are invited to attend.

Congratulations to Alabama Chapter Members Advanced to Fellowship July 2001 - January 2002

Ali Ahmed, Birmingham
Raymond L. Benza, Birmingham
John C. Blythe, Alexander City
Emily A. Boohaker, Birmingham
Philip J. Butera, Mobile
John G.G. Canto, Birmingham
Beverly Carraway-Handley, Birmingham
William J. Dailey, Montgomery
P. Scott Harris, Decatur
Jeffrey W. Hawkins, Birmingham
J. Michael Kilby, Birmingham
Marcia J. Littles, Mobile
Brendan M. McGuire, Birmingham
Richard L. Oehler, Union Grove
Tumkur S. Shivashankara, Tuscaloosa
James M. Smelser, Huntsville
Lydia A. Stefanescu, Tuscaloosa
Thomas K. Taylor, Selma
Ross B. Vaughn, Tuscaloosa

During this same time period, our Chapter gained 84 new members and 66 new Associates. We are delighted by our continued growth in membership.

Tenth Annual Literature and Medicine Retreat

Reports indicate that the Retreat held in Montgomery in January '02 was again a huge success. Lively discussions among over forty participants about the works of Robertson Davies (novel - The Cunning Man), John Dunne (poems), Issac Bashevis Singer (short stories), and Margaret Edson (play - Wit) were led by Dr. Randy Davis of Jacksonville University. Thanks to co-chairs, Dr. Bob Lokey and Dr. John Bass, for their continued leadership of this exciting activity of our Chapter. Drs. Lokey and Bass are considering a new venue for the winter 2003 retreat. Stay tuned for reading list and location.

Congratulations!

James R. Bonner, MD, FACP Governor-Elect for Alabama Chapter, ACP-ASIM - Effective April 2002; takes over as Governor April 2003

Alabama Chapter Associates Activities

David Ennis, MD, FACP, Chair, Associates Program

Congratulations to Phil Hemstreet, IV, MD, resident in Baptist Birmingham Residency Program, has been elected to the ACP-ASIM National Council of Associates - a first for our Chapter and a well deserved honor for Phil. We are most proud.

Three Alabama Associates will present clinical vignettes at the National Associates Competition, 2002 Annual Meeting of ACP-ASIM in Philadelphia. These three are Missy Dilmon, MD, UAB; Victor Chen, MD, UAB; and Veronica Franco, MD, UAB. Congratulations to these Alabama residents whose abstracts were selected from a large pool of abstracts submitted nationwide.

Two interesting and well attended Associates Programs have been held in Birmingham thus far during this academic year: 1) Introduction to Financial Planning - now and in the future; and 2) How to by a House.

Miscellaneous News Items

  • Our Alabama Chapter dues are $100/year, distributed as follows: $70 to Chapter (501 c3) and $30 to AL Health Services (501 c6). One hundred percent of your dues is tax deductible since AL Health Services does not directly lobby our state legislators or congressmen, but rather works through the already established MASA committees and contacts.

  • Dr. Nancy Dunlap (Birmingham, 205-801-7900) and Dr. Richard Esham (Mobile, 251-435-5762) are the two Internal Medicine members of the PMD Physician Advisory Committee, Blue Cross-Blue Shield. You are urged to contact either Dr. Dunlap or Dr. Esham regarding pertinent issues or concerns.

  • Physician Key Contact Program is being resurrected by MASA to facilitate interactions with our state legislators regarding health care issues. If you are the personal physician to one of our legislators and willing to participate, please contact Dr. Richard Esham, 251-435-5762 or eshamrh@pol.net. Thanks for your assistance.

Internists Join Masa Group in Washington

Richard H. Esham, MD, FACP, and Peter W. Morris, MD, FACP AL ACP-ASIM Health Services

The Alabama Chapter of the ACP-ASIM was represented at the 25th Annual Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA) Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. on February 2-5, 2002 by Stephen A. Davis, MD, FACP, (Mobile), Richard H. Esham, MD, FACP, (Mobile), Allan R. Goldstein, MD, FACP, (Birmingham), and Peter W. Morris, MD, FACP, (Birmingham). As in years past, the meeting was held at the historic Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue one block from the White House.

On Sunday afternoon the physicians in attendance gathered for the semiannual Inter-specialty Council Meeting. State Chapter leaders of most specialties were present and for two hours discussed issues of common concern to Alabama physicians regardless of specialty. Medicaid funding was the dominate topic during this conference and occupied a considerable portion of the Inter-specialty agenda. Should the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under new Administrator, Tom Skully, persist in its efforts to disallow the formula for funding Alabama's Medicaid program and terminate the Federal portion of funding for the Alabama Medicaid Program, a major shortfall of millions of dollars would occur. This could result in tragic consequences for many of the over 600,000 poor Alabamians dependent on this program for a portion or all of their health care needs. With the assistance of Representative Spencer Bachus, the proposed termination date was delayed from February 28, 2002 to April 30, 2002.

The four-hour didactic portion of the Washington meeting was held on Monday morning beginning with welcoming greetings from George C. Benjamin, MD, Secretary of Health for the State of Maryland. Julius W. Hobson, Jr. followed with the American Medical Association's perspective on Federal Legislative issues, in particular the AMA's efforts to reverse the announced Medicare payment rate cut of 5.4% to physicians effective January 1, 2002. Ruben King-Shaw, Jr., Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Administrator for CMS, articulated the agency's position on a number of issues and responded to a volley of tough questions from the physician group. Stuart Rothenberg provided his unique and sometimes humorous view of the present and upcoming political national landscape. The morning session concluded with an in-depth examination of the Medicaid woes in Alabama led by pediatricians, Dr. Marsha Raulerson (Brewton) and Dr. Bob Beshear (Montgomery).

Monday afternoon, Senator Jeff Sessions met, in a town hall format, with the MASA physicians and guests at the Russell Senate Office Building, providing the opportunity for dialogue about those issues of concern to Alabama physicians. Later that evening, members and/or staff from the entire Alabama legislative delegation dined with attendees in the Ballroom of the Willard Hotel and were entertained by the Capitol Steps. Tuesday morning physicians were invited to meet with their congressmen and senators in their offices for further discussions. As in years past, the Washington meeting continues to provide physicians first hand opportunity for input with our legislators, their staffs and our organizational representatives in the nation's capital.

State of the Union's Health Care Reviewed

In a January 15, 2002 press briefing in Washington, D.C., William Hall, MD, FACP, President of ACP-ASIM, presented the College's legislative agenda for 2002. He urged President Bush and Congress to:

  • Expand access to affordable health insurance
  • Modernize Medicare benefits to include prescription drug coverage, preventive and screening services
  • Provide adequate funding for health care professionals, hospitals, and public health departments who are poorly equipped to face bio- or chemical terrorism
  • Ensure adequate funding of Medicare safety net providers and teaching institutions, and physician reimbursements that reflect the rising cost of delivering health care
  • Pass Medicare regulatory reform legislation and a strong patient bill of rights to alleviate the complex and overlapping regulations imposed on physicians and patients by payers
  • Develop a uniform, voluntary reporting requirement for medical errors
  • Develop comprehensive final rules for the Health Insurance and Accountability Act (HIPAA), with a single deadline for implementation and clear directives to safeguard privacy

Insurers Urged to Continue Mammography Coverage

Based on the evidence that mammography can detect cancers at an earlier stage and improve outcomes, ACP-ASIM has urged all health insurers to continue to provide health insurance coverage for screening mammography despite an isolated study that questioned mammography's effectiveness in preventing deaths.