|July 2012||Nancy A. Hasenfus, MD, FACP, ACP Governor|
From the Governor
I recently returned from an outstanding ACP IM meeting in New Orleans, LA. This was preceded by the Board of Governorís meeting. The Governors heard several interesting talks and debated resolutions. One talk which provoked a lot of angry comments from the audience was given by a representative of the American Board of Internal Medicine. The speaker discussed the new plans on maintenance of certification which will start in 2013. He explained that it is going to cost $190 a year and involve some activity every year rather than just taking a test once a decade. The test every 10 years will still be required but a certain number of credits will be needed each year to maintain your certification. Interestingly those of us who were board certified for life will retain our certification but if we do not participate our status will change to board certified with maintenance certification not completed. There were angry comments from the audience about the expense of this new system and the hassle factor. The value of some of the required projects was also strongly questioned.
The CEO of the ACP Steve Weinberger, M.D. talked about High Value Cost Conscious care and he got down to specifics about things that can be done to stop wasting money in the American healthcare system. If you go to the ACP site and look up Choosing Wisely or just google it with some effort you can find recommendation from many specialty societies about the top 5 medical practices that should be stopped to save money and give better care. At the annual ACP meeting there was also a survey available where we asked our opinion about many medical procedures. The survey covered such practices as having a routine colonoscopy more frequently than every 10 years and how often moderate aortic stenosis should be followed by echo. The questions were excellent and included many issues which I think most of us have thought about but not verbalized.
The Annual Meeting was fascinating as usual with many excellent presentations held consecutively. In terms of policy issues the presentation on the looming changes in ICD-10 codes was frightening. It was delivered to a very small group of physicians who got very angry as the potential ICD codes were described. The new system requires coding be very specific, sometimes before the diagnosis has been made. The number of codes will increase drastically as well.
New Orleans itself was wonderful. The weather was great and the Garden District and the French Quarter looked the same as they have for the past three decades. All signs of the 2005 hurricane in these sections have been repaired.
If you have any resolutions you want submitted to National please submit them to me soon. We will discuss them at our next Governorís Advisory Council meeting.
Please remember that our chapter meeting this year is September 14th through 16th at Point Lookout. The topic is oncology and many oncologists seemed excited at the invitation to speak to us. Once again Doug Cooper has organized this whole conference and it looks extremely promising. We have the added pleasure of John Tooker attending as our Saturday evening lecturer and he will also do the college update Sunday morning.
Iím having a good time as Governor but time passes quickly. This year we will elect a new Governor who will serve as the Governor Elect in 2013. We are lucky to have two outstanding candidates running for the position, John Erickson, M.D., FACP and Steve Hayes, M.D., FACP.
From left to right: Christina DeMatteo, DO, James Rines, MD, FACP, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Allan Currie, MD, FACP and Rebecca Dyer, Medical Student.
Four ACP Maine Chapter members went to Washington, D.C. this year, to represent the Maine ACP on Leadership Day. This annual event is an opportunity for our members to meet and inform political representatives about the issues affecting internists. Our first day in Washington was spent learning about current legislation, and hearing from Washington staffers. The second day was spent on Capitol Hill lobbying our congressional representatives.
I was joined in Washington by Alan Currie, MD (Bangor), Christina Dematteo, DO (Resident from the MMC) and Jennifer Dyer (Student from UNE).
This year, the ACP asked us to highlight three particular areas. The SGR again topped the list. This formula for adjusting Medicare payments threatens to cut physician reimbursement by 30% on January 1, 2013, unless acted upon by Congress. For the last 10 years, they have been able to forestall the cuts, but not fix the formula. This year, the ACP came up with a budgetary remedy to terminate the SGR.
We also introduced the idea of Health Courts, which would employ judges with an expertise in healthcare issues, and result in no fault judgments. This could make the whole system fairer for patients and physicians.
Finally we discussed issues affecting doctors in training, including the impact on student indebtedness. We emphasized that encouraging students to choose primary care requires making this option more financially acceptable. We encouraged support for programs like the National Health Service Corp. that places physicians in underserved areas in exchange for some loan repayment.
This is just a sampling of issues reviewed by the ACP during this whirlwind trip to Washington. It was an interesting experience, and makes a difference with our representatives. I certainly encourage others to consider going in future years.
Submitted by James Rines, MD, FACP
The American College of Physicians-Maine Chapter will hold the annual Chapter Meeting September 14 Ė 16, 2012 at Point Lookout, Northport, ME. The theme of the 2012 Chapter Meeting is Oncology and speakers include (not all presenters listed) John Tooker, MD, Steven Woloshin, MD, MS, Lisa Schwartz, MD, MS, and Devon Evans, MD. Friday night is family night, and we will offer on-site bowling Ė bring your family and enjoy this wonderful venue and time with your colleagues and family.