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Governor's Newsletter
Spring 2001

Phillip E. Griffin, MD, FACP
Governor, Montana Chapter

Montana ACP-ASIM Annual Meeting
Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana
August 23-25, 2001

Located 20 miles south of Livingston in the beautiful Paradise Valley, Chico Hot Springs is an ideal spot for our annual gathering of Montana internists. Boasting a new convention facility and fine lodging and dining, it promises to be a great spot for our meeting.

Program Chairman, Michael Herring of Bozeman, has organized an outstanding faculty from academic centers across the country including Harvard, Stanford, University of Kansas, University of Virginia as well as University of California - San Francisco. These physicians will share their expertise on such topics as cardiology, psychiatry, gastroenterology, infectious diseases and medical ethics. We will get an update in office dermatology and other derm topics. Our Montana faculty will include some case stumpers as well as some current topics in endocrinology. We also have a Montana attorney leading a discussion on malpractice issues. Finally, Elton Adams continues his famous Osler bingo.

The gorgeous setting with our western hospitality makes this a great spot to renew old friendships. There won't be a better meeting for your time and money this year. See you in Chico!

Annual Session in Atlanta

The Annual Session just concluded in Atlanta and was a huge success and, for me, a superior educational experience. Preceding the scientific session was the annual meeting of the Board of Regents and the Board of Governors. Several pertinent topics were discussed including recertification, which continues to be a hot issue among ACP-ASIM Governors. A resolution was subsequently approved by the Board of Regents to continue discussions with the American Board of Internal Medicine to possibly pursue alternative pathways for recertification. This is a work in progress.

The topic of influenza vaccine supplies was also discussed at the Governors' meeting, with a resolution forwarded to the Board of Regents and subsequently adopted by them. This resolution charges manufacturers of influenza vaccine to have adequate supplies of vaccine provided to health care providers prior to distribution to other parties.

The annual Convocation of new Fellows was, as usual, a stirring event. Congratulations to Richard Anderson, MD, of Billings for obtaining his Fellowship.

ACP-ASIM Works to Reduce Medicare Hassles

ACP-ASIM is pleased to announce its endorsement of the "Medicare Education and Regulatory Fairness Act" (MERFA), S.452/ H.R. 868, which directly addresses internists' concerns with Medicare red tape and hassles.

Medicare's complex regulations have created a heavy paperwork burden that significantly reduces the time doctors spend with patients, according to William Hall, MD, FACP, President-Elect of ACP-ASIM and a practicing geriatrician.

Dr. Hall represented the College and announced support for this important legislation at a March 7 press conference with the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology, as well as MERFA's Senate and House sponsors.

MERFA directly addresses the Medicare procedures and rules that are the source of much frustration with the program. Under Medicare regulations, physicians must comply with numerous federal rules and local contractor policies to complete claim forms, provide advance beneficiary notices, certify medical necessity, file enrollment forms and comply with code documentation guidelines. Yet, there is no single source that physicians can access to learn Medicare's rules and policies.

Introduced in the Senate by Senators Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and John Kerry (D-MA) and in the House by Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-1-NV) and Pat Toomey (R-15-PA), MERFA would allow physicians and their staff to spend more time treating patients, and less time handling needless paperwork. It would enact the following reforms:

  • Medicare rules and policies and answers to "frequently asked questions" would be made more accessible, and physicians would be given advance notice about changes in rules.
  • Medicare would be required to pay its claims, without demanding more paperwork, unless there is evidence that the bill is incorrect.
  • Medicare would be required to actually examine the records, rather than using a statistical sample, to determine that some claims were billed incorrectly.
  • Medicare's ability to investigate fraudulent claims would be preserved, while also educating physicians on how to prevent inadvertent billing mistakes that result in overpayments.

Enactment of MERFA is one of the College's highest priorities. The College strongly encourages you to ask your Senators and Representative to cosponsor this important bill if they have not already. Illustrate for your legislators your experiences with the burden of complying with regulations, and how much time it takes you and your staff to deal with complex, confusing, duplicative and unfair Medicare requirements.

E-mail, fax or compose a letter to your legislators through the ACP-ASIM Legislative Action Center at http://capwiz.com/acp/home/ (draft letter provided, please personalize), or call your Senators and Representative toll-free through the ACP-ASIM Grassroots Hotline at 1-888-218-7770. (The Hotline will prompt you for your 8-digit member number, which you can find on the mailing label of ACP-ASIM publications, such as Annals of Internal Medicine.) Report your contacts to Jenn Jenkins in the ACP-ASIM Washington Office at 800-338-2746, ext. 4536, or by blind copying e-mails to jjenkins@acponline.org. Thank you for your help.

What ACP-ASIM is Doing for You Today

"What have you done for me lately?" is a question that ACP-ASIM strives to answer before it is asked, by making membership needs an integral part of its strategic planning process.

As such, the following is a comprehensive list of products and services that ACP-ASIM offers to its members, which was compiled by the Board of Regents. Since the College leadership realizes the needs of it membership are ever-changing, they will continue to re-evaluate this list and add new products and services when appropriate.

In addition, the College encourages you, the members, to submit your ideas for changes/additions to the list to Phillip Griffin, MD, FACP at pgriffin@billingsclinic.org.

Advocacy and Professionalism

Online membership directory
Grassroots hotline
Career opportunities
Decision 2000 campaign
Doctors for Adults public awareness campaign
Ethics case studies
ACP Ethics Manual
Legislative Action Center
Access to legislative and regulatory information, national and state
"Membership Enhancement" programs
Position and policy papers
Volunteerism project

For Associates and Medical Student Members

Residency information
Career counseling information and Web links
Career counseling brochures
Community-based teaching program support
Impact newsletter
Mentoring database
MKSAP for students
Representation through Council of Associates
and Council of Student Members
Video and slides about internal medicine careers
Support for internal medicine clubs
Annual Session workshops

International Programs

Clinical skills teaching modules
Internal medicine overseas
Action in internal medicine
International speakers program
Eurasian Medical Education Project
Annual Session workshops
Representation in the International
Society of Internal Medicine

Recognition Program

Fellowship credentialing process
Associate and Medical Student competitions
Chapter awards program
Laureate awards
Mastership awards
Community-based teaching awards

Personal Benefits

College accessories and gifts
Doctors for Adults accessories and gifts
Affinity credit card
Car rental discounts
Financial planning service
Group insurance plans
Loan programs


Annual Session
Chapter/regional meetings
Clinical skills teaching modules
In-training examination
Post-graduate review courses
Recertification courses
Programs for community-based teachers

Practice Assistance

Professional liability insurance
Practice Management Center
Medical informatics program (Annual Session)
Medical Laboratory Evaluation Proficiency Testing Program
Quality 101


Annals of Internal Medicine
ACP Journal Club
Effective Clinical Practice
ACP-ASIM Observer
Books and expert guides


Internal medicine board review course
(audio and video versions)
Internal medicine recertification preparation course (audio and video versions)
MKSAP 12 update
Annual session audiocassettes
Best Evidence (CD-ROM)
Bioterrorism resource center online
Clinical practice guidelines
Clinical problem-solving cases
Clinical skills videotapes
Firearm injury prevention resource center
MKSAP for students
MKSAP Prep for Boards
Subspecialty MKSAPs
Telemedicine resource center
Virtual Annual Session

Check Out Our Chapter Web Site:


Fellowship Advancement Made Easy (FAME)

By Marc Shabot, Texas Southern Governor


1. ABIM, RCPSC, or AOBIM certified

2. Licensed practitioner

3. Formal training completed, Member at least 2 years, in practice or teaching for at least 2 years

4. Proposed/seconded by 2 Masters/Fellows

5. Commitment to lifelong learning and professional development

May be waived in extraordinary circumstances

Then, Qualify by 1 of the 4 Pathways*

Pathway 1 - Academician

  • Holds academic appointment as teacher, researcher, administrator, writes scientific papers, scholarly reviews, book chapters, etc.

Pathway 2 - The Scholar/Teacher/ Multiple Certification

  • Active in community as teacher in Continuing Education and Professional Development activities
  • Re-certified or dual boarded, or MKSAP for score

Pathway 3 - The Active ACP-ASIM Member

  • 10 years membership in the ACP-ASIM
  • Active in ACP-ASIM meetings and Committees at local and national level

Pathway 4 - The Senior Physician

  • May have been a longstanding Member or have joined ACP-ASIM later in life
  • Has demonstrated longstanding professional activity in the community, in teaching, in patient care or in service; acts as a role model for other physicians and health professionals

Note: Community service, especially the voluntary provision of medical care, and ACP-ASIM activities significantly enhance the likelihood of advancement, under all four pathways.

*Pathways are not mutually exclusive; "combinations" are permissible.

Governor's Contact Information

Phillip E. Griffin, MD, FACP
Billings Clinic
PO Box 35100
2825 Eighth Avenue North
Billings, MT 59107-5100
Phone: (406) 238-2404
E-mail: pgriffin@billingsclinic.org