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Governor's Newsletter, Summer 2000

Donald C. Balfour III, MD, FACP
Governor, S. California Region III

Washington Leadership Day

Last month, Drs. LaFata, Speckart and myself attended the annual ACP-ASIM Washington Leadership Day. This year, there were about 100 participants representing the ACP-ASIM. We were fortunate to meet with Senator Jeffores, who spoke to us about current activities in Washington, touching on the current hot buttons of pharmacy benefit for Medicare patients, the patient bill of rights, pending legislation on patient safety and universal health coverage. Senators Jeffores and Kennedy are sponsoring a bill on the Error Reduction and Improvement of Patient Safety Act. The ACP-ASIM is concerned about the confidentiality protections that would apply to mandatory reporting and wants to ensure that any bill passed achieves the goal of reducing medical errors in a non-punitive manner.

Bob Doherty, the Director of the ACP-ASIM Washington office, gave us an update on the Health and Public Policy Committee's position on the current hot topics. He also supplied us with excellent handouts to present to our legislative representatives on those topics.

In preparation for our meetings with the legislators, we attended breakout sessions on how to maximize our time with the legislator, or his/her "staffer," including mock interviews. To give us an overview, Mr. Cook, a well-known political analyst, spoke to us about the political scene in Washington for the past several decades. He mentioned that the 2000 election is critical for both the Republicans and Democrats because the Democrats could take back the House. If Gore wins the Presidency, he would be able to appoint two or three new Supreme Court Justices during his term. The Senate will most likely remain in control of the Republicans, although their 55/45 majority may dwindle to about 52/48. The Republicans want the White House back and the Democrats want the House back. The stakes this year are much higher than they have been in years.

During our visits on "the hill," our group saw Henry Waxman (Santa Monica/Beverly Hills), Pete Stark (Southeast San Francisco/ Hayward/ Fremont), Brian Bilbray (San Diego) and Senators Feinstein and Boxer (California). Unfortunately Senator Boxer canceled our meeting and she had no staff people that were available to meet with us. Senator Feinstein was also unable to meet with us personally, but did have four of her staff people that met with us on all of our health care issues.

We all felt that this was a very worthwhile event allowing us quality time with our representatives. Dr. Speckart and I spent 40 minutes with Pete Stark and we spent almost the same amount of time talking with Henry Waxman. This is the third year in a row that we have been able to meet personally with Brian Bilbray and this not only builds personal relationships that can be followed up here in San Diego, but it also increases the visibility of ACP-ASIM.

Dr. Speckart was particularly insightful since during his past year as Regent, he was chairman of the Health and Public Policy Committee for ACP-ASIM.

Supporting Your Chapter Through Chapter Dues

Chapter dues are the backbone of local activities and vital to the success of our chapter. While we are provided some financial support from the national office, the chapter dues collected provide the majority of financial support for local activities. Educational meetings (such as our Annual Associates Dinner and Scientific Meeting), mentoring programs for medical students, advocacy with state legislators and participation by chapter leaders in Sacramento and Washington Leadership Day are just some of the activities supported by your chapter dues.

Unpaid volunteer leaders in our chapter orchestrate many of these activities. However, some activities, including the administration of the newly formed C6 Statewide Organization, rely on a portion of chapter dues for their financial support. As many of you know, our chapter dues were raised $10 per year, which was specifically earmarked to help fund the cost of this statewide ACP-ASIM organization, including lobbying efforts on behalf of all of the Chapters in our state. At $35 per year, our Chapter dues are still among the lowest in the nation, with many other chapters raising their annual dues by $20 per year.

The Regional Council thanks you for your participation and support of our chapter.

Ken Herbst, MD, FACP, Elected Governor-Elect of Our Chapter

Congratulations to Kenneth D. Herbst, MD, FACP, the new Governor-Elect of the Southern California Region III Chapter. Dr. Herbst is a full time Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSD in the Division of Hematology and Oncology. He is also the Director of the Comprehensive Hemophilia Treatment Center and the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Center, as well as having active General Oncology clinics. For the past two years, Dr. Herbst has commanded the 870th Medical Brigade out of Dallas, Texas, as a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserve. Dr. Herbst will assume the role of our Chapter's Governor at the ACP-ASIM Annual Session to be held March 29-April 1, 2001, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Annual Session 2000

The National ACP-ASIM Annual Session was held in Philadelphia, April 13-16, 2000. The meeting was attended by over 10,000 physicians, residents, medical students and non-physicians and included a wide variety of pre-meeting mini courses, as well as formal scientific sessions for the National Association of In-Patient Physicians. Update sessions in general internal medicine and subspecialty sections were presented by well-known experts, who did a masterful job of reviewing the year's literature and presented the most significant data published in 1999. The University of Virginia continued with three presentations of its innovative approach to evidence based medicine in the series entitled, "Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind." Common clinical questions or problems are phrased and the answers are sought by doing a rules based approach to evaluate the pertinent literature. These sessions were highly acclaimed.

The opening ceremonies were punctuated by a discussion of the medical system and the problems faced in Great Britain by Professor Sir George Alberti, President of the Royal College of the Physicians of London. Later, 750 new Fellows - including two from our chapter, Dr. Joyce Chung and Dr. Gregory Hood - were presented at the Convocation program where new Masters and other awardees were also honored. The keynote address was delivered by President Whitney Addington, MD, MACP. His presentation focused on the positive aspects of practicing medicine in the United States, as well as the need to support universal access to health care. His words set the tone for our present challenges as physicians and struck those in attendance as honest, open and clearly provocative. Dr. Sandra Fryhofer presided over the closing ceremonies.

Welcome to Our New President

The new ACP-ASIM President, Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, FACP, a General Internist from Atlanta, GA, took office at the end of the 2000 Annual Session in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Fryhofer has spent much of her career as an advocate for general internal medicine with a special interest in women's health issues. She is engaged in a private group practice with the Piedmont Medical Care Foundation at Piedmont Hospital, a division of PROMINA Health Systems in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Fryhofer is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University school of Medicine in Atlanta.

Prior to the merger of the ACP and ASIM in 1998, Dr. Fryhofer was chair of the ACP Committee on Women's Health. She has served as an active member of both the Educational Policy Committee and the Board of Regents since 1994. She also serves the College as the national spokesperson for the "Internist Today," a national identity campaign designed to educate the public about the role of internists in today's primary care environment.

Dr. Fryhofer has made television appearances on NBC's Today, CNN, FOX News Network, Peachtree Morning on Atlanta's WXIA-NBC, WXIA-NBC News, Atlanta's WSB-ABC News and Georgia Public Television. Topics include "Baby Boomers: Hidden Implications of Turning Forty," women's health, stress management, thyroid disease, flu shots, low-carbohydrate diets, menopause and folic acid. She has been a member of the Woman's Day Magazine and Fitness Advisory Board since 1998 and has been featured in the publication discussing various health issues.

Announcements

Annual Scientific Meeting - February 23-25, 2001

Contact Information

Donald C. Balfour III, MD, FACP
2001 Fourth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 446-1655
Fax: (619) 233-4730
E-mail: donald.balfour@sharp.com