As time marches on I find us back in the throes of a continuing battle over the right way to deliver health care. Just for history’s sake the current battle between parties now focuses on the viability of the previous health care reform legislation vs. the suggested plans of Representative Paul Ryan (R) as representative of the Republican response to the Democratic reforms. His proposals bring again the idea of “block grants” and have the intent of capping Federal spending, and returning the major control process to Governors and their states. While rates may rise with inflation and population growth, it isn’t clear how the process will deal with escalating costs particularly if there are natural disasters, epidemics, or economic slumps (certainly timely issues) without curtailing eligibility and reducing payments to doctors, hospitals or nursing homes. As many of us plan to attend Legislative Leadership Day (May 24-25), the perspective of our congressmen on these items will be hot topics indeed. Meanwhile, the Republicans submit continued calls for votes to undo the previously approved Democratic proposals. They pass the House to be stopped in the Senate.
The College was recently asked for perspectives regarding the arrangement for payments for Medicare and Medicaid to be sent to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. A two-phase proposal was suggested, with the most immediate phase being to keep reimbursements as they are and getting rid of the odious SGR rules. The second phase would evaluate the rates as enacted in legislation in place in the next 5 years.
Annual Meeting, the Board of Governors and Convocation:
On April 5 and following, I and our Governor-Elect Alice Fuisz attended the Board of Governors meeting. (Dr. Fuisz will add some comments to this letter.) There was a major restructuring on how support for chapters through the Governor’s Office Allowance will be awarded to Chapters in the future with consideration for the operational support of small chapters. We, on the other hand, are a large intermediate chapter and are doing well financially. As in the case of large chapters, there may be some reallocation (read taxation) of national support for the chapter. Note: our Governor’s Advisory Committee has voted to not raise the dues this year. Our dues structure, which is a bargain, falls near the National mid-average. We also may gain some recognition for our previous record of Chapter Administrative Excellence awards though we must strive to keep up with newly developed standards especially those of recruitment and expansion of membership. Please help by recruiting your colleagues!
At the national meeting, we held a reception shared with the Maryland Chapter for our new Fellows and national honorees. Dr. John F. Tisdale received the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award for innovative and notable recent contribution to clinical care in internal medicine. Particularly, his use of modified stem cell marrow transplants in the treatment of sickle cell anemia was highlighted. Dr. Henry Masur, MACP received the John Phillips Memorial Award for Outstanding Work in Clinical Medicine. Dr. Masur directs the Critical Care Division at the National Institute of Health and is expert in infectious disease. We were honored also to have the company of our New Masters: Dr. Victor Scott and Dr. Edward J. Burge , Jr. Participating in the convocation were new Fellows: Arrel Olano, Adeyinka O. Laiyemo and Jack Summer, and Laureate and Governor Elect Alice Fuisz. Congratulations to all. Also attending the reception were Drs. Omega Silva, MACP and Ann Gordon.
DC Chapter participates in Medical Students 8th Annual Steps for Success
Members of your chapter attended another successful day of hosting medical students interested in internal medicine at USUHS on April 16. Despite the blustery rainy day, 130 attendees were present and brought 44 posters of high quality for judging. The program, led by Dr. Jeff La Rochelle (USAF) and co-hosted by the Maryland, DC, Army, Navy and Air Force Chapters, had a 20 % increase in attendees. Clinical poster winners were Nathan Bennion, First Prize (Virginia Commonwealth University) and Second Prize, Andrea Levine (University of Maryland). Research First Prize was awarded to Minghao Liu (Johns Hopkins). Seminars were held on choosing the practice of internal medicine, the career path to internal medicine residency, with the application process explained for military, international, and civilian internal medicine pathways. Helpful too were seminars on achieving success in clerkship and internship. Hands-on demonstrations followed for various procedures in cardiology and critical care. It was a full day and well supported.
A Greeting from our Governor-Elect
As the DC Chapter Governor-elect, I look forward to getting to know more of our Chapter members over the coming months before my official term as Governor begins in April 2012. Most importantly, I want to get to know what you want and need from our local chapter.
I just returned from the National Internal Medicine Meeting in San Diego. The meeting as usual helped to revitalize my excitement about being a practicing internist. It also made me think about the potential impact of government regulations and changes on my practice and on the rest of our membership. Many private practices are struggling financially and trying to figure out if it makes sense to remain independent or to join “a mother ship” hospital system. I think that this coming year would be an opportune time to discuss with our members what is happening on Capitol Hill that directly affects our practices and what the local hospitals are doing to respond.
Alice L. Fuisz, MD, FACP
Michael S. Gold, MD, FACP, Governor