Governor's Newsletter, Winter 2001
James L. Bernene, MD, FACP
Governor, Connecticut Chapter
Season's Greetings from the Governor's Office. Much has occurred since our last correspondence. The most important item of note was a very successful Annual Meeting with over 200 attendees which occurred in October. For those of you who attended, we were treated to an excellent overview of the human genome project and its potential impact on medicine. Laureate Award winners Sherri Clayton, MD, FACP, and Robert McLean, MD, FACP, received their awards as did the Thornton Award winners Drs. Henry Schneiderman, MD, FACP, and Peter Herbert, MD, FACP. Mahendr Kochar, our College representative, attended the entire meeting and gave us a superb update on what the ACP was doing with respect to its legislative activities and educational endeavors. A principal point of discussion was the concern about the ABIM and its approach to recertification and, since the College has been asked to serve as the educational arm for the ABIM, how this would affect us. In the Town Meeting session, several members recounted how lengthy and onerous this process could be and expressed concern about how this would affect them. Many described it as costly, requiring a great deal of time spent away from patient care, and not entirely relevant to the practice of day-to-day medicine and the care of their patients. Lastly, suffice it to say, we have not heard the end of this discussion. I want to sincerely thank David Podell and his Program Committee for all of their efforts in organizing this session.
In this issue of the newsletter, you will read of the many activities the Chapter is now involved in with respect to our Associate and student members, our Health and Public Policy activities, the development of our Web page, and a proposed new endeavor to promote better and more rapid communication between the Governor's Council and our members. We need to "jump" start this communication process with an effort to obtain e-mail addresses for most of our membership. This would allow for rapid communication between our members which becomes vital for quick action in terms of health legislation in the state legislature. Like it or not, we do need to continue to be vigilant in this regard. Not only are we viewed as an organization which is concerned with educational issues, but also as a political arm which can collectively speak for our membership in a rapid and definitive manner. We will need to be prepared to weigh in on many issues which affect us greatly, including the funding of graduate medical education, access to health care, issues affecting the physician "hassle factor," and reimbursement of internists for services, particularly cognitive ones. In many ways, we have to guard against trying to do too many things, but our Chapter and the entire ACP organization has surfaced as the principal organization speaking for internists. I can only see our activities increasing in this regard in the future.
Lastly, as my term as your Governor winds down, I would like to thank all of the many people throughout the state whom I have worked with, particularly members of the Governor's Council who have devoted their time and effort making the performance of my job possible. I believe that the "ship is in order" as we all transition to our new Governor, David Podell, in the spring.
I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season and new year. As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve as your Governor.
James L. Bernene, MD, FACP
Governor, Connecticut Chapter ACP
ACP's Decision 2000 Campaign Seeks Member Involvement
This summer, ACP launched a new initiative, the Decision 2000 Campaign, to elevate the problem of the uninsured on the national agenda. Through Decision 2000, the College is working to secure presidential and congressional commitments to address the issue of the uninsured and to educate decision-makers about the impact of health insurance on health status.
Throughout the past 18 months, the College has placed advertisements in the Washington Post and other publications highlighting the evidence that the uninsured have worse health outcomes. Each ad featured the tag line of "No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick." ACP has also sponsored a briefing for Capitol Hill staff on universal access with House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-26-TX); partnered with the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in a petition drive to highlight the need to make accessible and affordable healthcare a national priority; and held a press conference to release a new white paper, "No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick Scientific Research Linking the Lack of Health Coverage to Poor Health," which demonstrates the link between a lack of health insurance and poor health.
The success of ACP's Decision 2000 campaign depends on the participation of Chapter members. For more information on what you can do to help, contact Jenn Jenkins, Associate for Grassroots Advocacy, in the Washington Office at 800-338-2746, ext. 4536.
By: Robert McLean, MD, FACP
In trying to represent the interests of the physicians of the state at the political level, the Health & Public Policy Committee recognizes the crucial need to have more physician voices heard. WE NEED YOUR HELP. A major goal we have established is to make it much easier for our ACP colleagues to express our important viewpoints to our politicians on the multiple issues which affect our patients and our medical practices.
Politicians respond to their local voters, and so we need ACP physicians to help us send letters or call the offices of their local representatives when necessary. The voice of reason in many of these health-related topics increasingly driven by impact on the bottom line of either a company's profits or of the state's budget is frequently drowned out by the loudest voices. We physicians cannot sit back.
Please become a regular reader of our Chapter web site and specifically the Health & Public Policy subsection. Other Chapters have compiled e-mail addresses of concerned physicians who receive e-mail alerts about urgent needs to contact politicians when issues or votes arise. It is a very efficient way to communicate, and we must do this as well. Please send your address to me at email@example.com.
At our latest meeting in late November, the H&PP Committee reviewed issues which will be important in the upcoming state legislative session:
Improving funding of Medicaid in the state budget through provider rate increases and funding for dual eligible Medicare/Medicaid patients,
Managed care reform issues especially fairness in contracting,
Scope of practice issues for other professionals: pharmacists wanting "collaboration" in some medication monitoring and naturopathic physicians wanting prescription writing authority, and
Efforts to decrease tobacco use via smoke-free workplace and restaurant legislation.
Details of all these issues can be found on the web site. At the federal level, political inaction has generally been the rule. The two high profile bills which received some attention did not ultimately pass. The Campbell Bill to allow physician exemption from anti-trust in negotiating with managed care companies did pass the House (though Shays, Johnson, and Larson voted No) but was not taken up by the Senate. The Norwood-Dingell Patient Bill of Rights passed the House (though Johnson voted No) but similarly dies in the Senate. With more political deadlock expected in Washington, we cannot expect much federal legislation on important health issues soon.
Medical Student Report
By: Barry J. Wu, MD, FACP
Chair, Medical Student Committee
Both graduating and incoming medical students continue to flourish in the Connecticut ACP Chapter. Senior students, Jane Hunter from the University of Connecticut and Maya Salameh from Yale University, were awarded the ACP Medical Student Award for outstanding academic achievement and community service at graduation. Fifty new students have signed up for the Connecticut ACP Chapter this year.
The students from Yale and the University of Connecticut participated at the Northeast Medical School Jeopardy Tournament held at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in September 2000. This year 11 medical schools from 6 different states in the Northeast participated at the tournament. After 3 preliminary rounds and a final round, the University of Massachusetts and New York Medical College tied and played in a final round. New York Medical College emerged as the winner. All participants received a Washington Manuel and the winning players received a Harrison's Textbook courtesy of the Connecticut ACP Chapter.
Students were also showcased at the Annual Chapter meeting in October. Melissa Fuchs, a senior Yale medical student, gave an eloquent presentation on her award winning project entitled, "Effect of Raloxifene on Endothelial Function in Healthy Post-Menopausal Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind Cross-Over Trial."
In Spring 2001, Jessica Mega, a senior Yale medical student and council member, is organizing a community service project for University of Connecticut and Yale medical students. We hope to continue to nurture the growth of medical students in the Connecticut ACP. If you have interest in working with our medical students, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 2000 Scientific Meeting
By: David Podell, MD,
Connecticut Chapter Annual Meeting
October 20, 2000
Waterbury Sheraton Hotel
The Connecticut Chapter of the ACP held its Educational Conference and Annual Meeting on Friday, October 20, 2000, at the Waterbury Sheraton Hotel in Waterbury, Connecticut. Highlights of this exciting and well attended meeting included a discussion entitled, "Getting the Word out on the Human Genome Project," by Sarah L. Tobin, PhD, MSW, Senior Research Scholar, Program for Genomics, Ethics and Society at Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. Following Dr. Tobin's discussion was a most informative and controversial panel discussion including: Dr. Thomas Duffy, Director of Program for Humanities in Medicine at Yale; Margretta Seashore, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at Yale; and Sarah L. Tobin, PhD. There was a wonderful student presentation by Melissa Fuchs of Yale University School of Medicine, who spoke on "The Effects of Raloxifene in Endothelial Function in Healthy Post-Menopausal Women." In addition, Dr. Nirav R. Shah spoke on the science and powerful opportunities involving the clinical research studies.
We were fortunate to have Dr. Mahendr S. Kochar, Regent and a former Chair, Board of Governors, who conducted an informative and lively town meeting. Dr. Kochar also gave a legislative update of what the College is doing for its members in Washington. The meeting concluded with an exciting and wonderful event for the first time entitled, "Who Wants to be a Professor?" conducted by Dr. Sherri Clayton. Housestaff and attendings enjoyed this first time event.
The College was delighted to present the George F. Thornton Award to Dr. Peter Herbert and Dr. Henry Schneiderman for their contributions to resident and medical student teaching. In addition, Dr. Sherri Clayton and Dr. Robert McLean received the College's Laureate Award for their many contributions to the College and in Connecticut.
Save The Date!
Spring Scientific Session
Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Waterbury Sheraton Hotel
For more information, please contact Nancy Sullivan, Chapter Office Executive Secretary:
30 Dwight Drive Middlefield, CT 06455 Phone: (860) 349-8995 Email: email@example.com
Young Physicians Subcommittee
The Young Physicians Subcommittee (YPS) wants to hear from young physician members of the College about the practice environment today. Your frank comments will, through the Subcommittee, have a direct impact on you and your colleagues.
We'd like to know how you feel about recertification, establishing a practice, coping with stress, and time constraints. Would you like a copy of the YPS Practice Management Survival Booklet? An E/M coding card? A curbside consultation about and evaluating and improving a practice via the College's Center for a Competitive Advantage? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, the web site can also be used to request this information. ALL e-mails will be answered.
If you have any questions, please contact Jean Elliott, YPS Staff Liaison at (800) 523-1546, ext. 2692