|August 2011||Nancy A. Hasenfus, MD, FACP, ACP Governor|
On Being Governor
As I slide into my second year as Governor of the Maine Chapter of the ACP I find it a very interesting experience. Twice a year I attend a Board of Governor’s (BOG) Meeting, once in the fall and once right before the Annual Meeting in the spring. I’m considered the class of 2014 which will be the year I end my tenure as Governor of the ACP. The ACP with its excellent organizational skills has new Governors coming in the same year together for many functions including breakfast debates and a (Class) dinner at the Board of Governors meetings. This way you get to know a finite number of other doctors fairly well, usually about 16. Although Maine just has one Governor, large states such as New York and California have multiple Governors so the number of Governors far exceeds 52.
The Board of Governor’s meetings focus around resolutions submitted by the membership. The BOG discusses, debates and then votes on these resolutions and decides which ones to move up to the Board of Regents to see if they will make them policy. In this way the ACP is able to represent the practicing internists across America. The policy is made from the ground up. At the BOG meetings we also have numerous informational talks and are educated in how to run chapters and recruit members. I continue to be impressed with how well the American College of Physicians is organized and how much they care about what their members think. Being in a small chapter like Maine, it is frustrating having the expectations from National flowing into my e-mail every day. They have a hard time realizing we have 1099 internists in Maine of which 501 are members of the ACP and that it would be unrealistic to try to have 12 different committees. I consider the important issues for the Maine Chapter to be Leadership Day, our Annual Chapter Meeting and Recruitment. On this latter front Don Medd has been elected to the Governor’s Advisory Council recently and is head of our Membership Committee. He has some good ideas and plans about how to increase our membership especially among younger doctors. This is a pretty rosy picture of the ACP I’m painting you. I absolutely feel this way about the ACP although my husband would tell you I complain a lot about the amount of e-mail I get from National. All in a good cause.
The Annual Meeting this year took place in San Diego in April. The weather was beautiful and the location lovely. As usual it was extremely well organized and there were 8 to 14 or so talks going on at the same time from which to choose. If you’ve never been to an annual meeting you are really missing an incredible learning experience. In my opinion it surpasses all the conferences put on by the big academic centers and is not even approached by the Prime Med conferences in terms of quality.
This year we inducted one new Fellow Kenneth Weerasinghe, MD. He marched in the convocation ceremony and seemed to enjoy it.
Our annual chapter meeting this year will be at Point Lookout in Northport. This is a beautiful location and we are moving back to the coast as requested by many ACP members. It is happening October 21-23 and our lineup of speakers is excellent. Once again the Program Committee is headed by Doug Cooper who is doing his usual outstanding job.
Leadership Day in Washington
by Jane Pringle
Left to Right: Amirala Pasha, Medical Student, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, James Rines, MD, FACP, Susan Dunn, MD, Resident, Jennifer Lockhart, Medical Student, Jane Pringle, MD, Chair, Health and Public Policy Committee
The Maine Chapter of the American College or Physicians was represented by five advocates at this year’s Leadership Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. held on May 24th and 25th. The delegation included Jamie Rines, M.D., general internist at Mid Coast Medical Group in Bath, Susan Dunn, M.D., incoming Chief Resident at Maine Medical Center, Amirala Pasha, a 3rd year medical student at University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Jennifer Lockhart. 2nd year medical student at UNECOM and Jane Pringle, M.D., Director of Internal Medicine Clinics at Maine Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program.
Leadership Day began with a briefing session for Medical Students and Resident Associates, followed by an advocacy workshop for all attendees. Scenarios of good and not so good meetings with congressional representatives were modeled. ACP leaders, Obama administration leaders and key administrative staff on the Congressional Health Committees devoted the afternoon and evening to presentations and panel discussions.
The second day is devoted to our visits with our Maine Senators, Representatives and their staff. The ACP provides excellent background information about key legislative issues well in advance of the meeting as well as packets to “leave behind” with our legislators summarizing ACP positions and requests for action on legislation supporting healthcare workforce, payment and delivery systems reform.
Key issues this year included:
- Replace the current flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment system with higher value for Evaluation and Management Services (E&M) and pilot new payment models including the patient centered medical home.
- Fully fund the National Health Service Corps and Section 727 of the Affordable Care Act to improve training of Primary Care physicians.
- Support key programs mandated in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that support primary care.
- Make improvements to the ACA that would cap court awards for non-economic damages and fund state pilots of health courts for a “no fault” approach to medical liability claims.
Our group felt well informed and well received by our legislators’ staff. Each of us was able to share examples of how the current system is affecting our patients, our career choices, and us and why changes are needed. We feel our efforts were worthwhile and highly recommend that everyone consider attending a Legislative Day in the future. Thank you to Warene Eldridge for her help in arranging our visits and to the Maine Chapter for supporting our trip!
For more information or to become a key contact, go to http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/
If you are as worried as I have been about the approach by new ICD codes scheduled to start in October 2013 then there is a good informative site that addresses what the ICD-10 will involve. Go to ACPonline and put ICD-10 in the little box and search. You should come up with Myths and Facts about ICD-10. I found it helpful and somewhat reassuring.