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Governor's Newsletter, March 2000

David W. Potts, MD, FACP
Governor, South Carolina Chapter

Governor's Column

Hello to All:

It's hard for me to believe that spring is fast upon us, but indeed it is, and with spring comes the ACP-ASIM Annual Session. This year the meeting is in Philadelphia, from April 13-16. Once again the scientific portions appear to be outstanding with a variety of programs for all interested learners. To add to the fun, Philadelphia is well known for their restaurants and other entertainment. One of the highlights of being your Governor is the chance to sample many of those restaurants while in Philadelphia at various business meetings. If at all possible, plan to join us for this year's Annual Session. While there, as part of your plans, include the South Carolina/North Carolina reception on the night of Friday, April 14. Full details concerning the reception will be available in the final program for the meeting.

My thanks to all of you who chose to participate in the vote on the resolution included in the last newsletter. I received a variety of suggestions and comments, most of them very interesting and informative. Our members voted about 5 to 1 in favor of the resolution although very few members elected to vote.

We have now joined the electronic age and have a web page for the South Carolina Chapter of the ACP-ASIM. This page will contain general information about the South Carolina Chapter and will also provide links to other appropriate sights, such as the ACP-ASIM homepage. Soon we hope to also include on this page, items of local interest such as those pending before the South Carolina Legislature and links to the South Carolina Medical Associations web sites. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Anyone with an interest in this type of activity, please give me a call, I would love ideas, suggestions, and assistants.

It is time to begin considering the Governor to succeed me. My term will end in 2002. Jim McFarland has agreed to chair the Nominations Committee for our new Governor. Please call either him at (803) 787-2420, or me if you would be interesting in serving in this truly unique opportunity, or would like to nominate someone for the position.

This year's South Carolina Scientific Session also promises to be excellent. The topic will be "Professionalism: Back to the Basics." The meeting will be held in Charleston, at the Westin Hotel (Francis Marion), on September 22-24, 2000. Mark your calendars.

At our last annual session, we were unable to choose a Treasurer for our state chapter. Dawn Clancy, at MUSC, has volunteered for this position. I will plan to appoint her to this position until this year's annual meeting, unless I hear objections from the Membership.

If I can help, please do not hesitate to call me at (864) 455-8496 or e-mail me at dpotts@ghs.org.


ACP-ASIM Strives to Enhance Geriatric Care

ACP-ASIM has joined forces with the American Geriatrics Society in supporting a training initiative designed to enhance the quality of geriatric care provided by community-based primary care internists. Traditional continuing medical education, which typically awards credit for "seat time," regardless of what physicians learn, is unlikely to lead to changes in medical practice. Enhancing Geriatric Care Through Practicing Physician Education, a four-year project funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation of New York, uses an innovative peer-leadership approach to educate practicing physicians. The program provides small-group, case-based interactive learning sessions, with relevance to day-to-day practice, conducted by Physician Leaders, in order to encourage physicians to make positive changes in their care of older patients.

The first Physician Leader training was conducted at last year's Annual Session in New Orleans. Following the one and one-half day of training, the eight participating physicians returned to their communities to conduct small-group, CME-credited sessions based on materials in "Memory Loss: Evaluation in Primary Practice," the first of ten "tool kits" on common geriatric problems developed by the project. Physicians who have participated in community sessions will be followed at six months and one year to determine the impact of the interventions on behavior change. Recruitment for the second Physician Leader training, to be held on April 11-12, 2000, in Philadelphia, has recently been completed. Response by ACP-ASIM members to an invitation placed on the ACP-ASIM web site was very positive. Over seventy-five members requested additional information on the application process; twelve physicians were ultimately selected to participate in this year's training, which focuses on Urinary Incontinence: Management in Primary Practice.

For further information, please contact Patricia P. Barry, MD, MPH, Project Director, by e-mail at ppbarry@bu.edu or Nancy Renick, MS, CHES, Project Manager, by e-mail at nrenick@worldnet.att.net.

Student Representative Report

Vanessa Dixon, MSIII

My name is Vanessa Dixon, and I am a student representative in the ACP-ASIM. I think the ACP-ASIM is a wonderful organization, and one of the few medical organizations that allows students to get involved. My goal as a member is to get other students involved as much as possible. We are in the process of setting up an Internal Medicine interest group here in Greenville, and I am trying to convey to other students how useful and interesting this group can be even if one's field of medicine is not internal medicine. I want to get as involved as possible and get others involved in both the ACP-ASIM and this interest group, so if anyone has any suggestions on ways to do that feel free to let me know. Thanks again for this great opportunity.

Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee

John G. Black, MD

The Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee met for its quarterly meeting on January 19, 2000. Medicare performs a yearly focused review for likely potential savings concerning payments for all codes. This is based on codes used in S.C. that are twice the frequency used in the rest of the country. Internal Medicine does not have any codes that rise to the top of this review. When Medicare chooses the most likely codes that can save money, they will scan their records for individual billings to see if any of us are using this code more than our peers. They then notify the physician that is using a code more frequently than others and ask for an explanation. This is usually a method for education on proper coding, but could result in a request for sending money back to Medicare. As long as we all practice by our usual standards, we will be ok.

There were no other issues discussed that specifically dealt with Internal Medicine. Let me know if you have any concerns.

Community-Based Teaching Faculty Development at the Annual Session

As in years past, the Community Based Teaching Program will offer the highly rated faculty development workshops for office-based teachers at this year's Annual Session in Philadelphia, April 13-16, 2000. The workshops are designed to help improve or enhance the teaching skills of community-based physicians who teach students or residents in office settings. This year's course director and faculty are Gary Ferenchick, with Kim Gibson, Frank Landry, and C. Scott Smith. Three different workshops will be offered, repeated daily, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday: "Teaching When Time is a Factor," "Steps to Improve Teaching Effectiveness," and "A model for Addressing Learner Difficulties"" Each workshop is one hour and fifteen minutes in length and will employ lectures, group discussion, videotape demonstrations and role-playing as teaching strategies.

The workshop sessions will be limited to 25 participants per workshop. All workshops are free, but do require on-site registration. Workshop registration will be available outside of the Learning Center beginning noon Tuesday, April 11 through 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 12. Thereafter, registration will be available inside the Learning Center at the CBT exhibit Thursday, April 13 through Saturday, April 15.

ACP-ASIM's Decision 2000 Campaign Seeks Member Involvement

This summer, ACP-ASIM 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 commitments by presidential and congressional candidates to address the issue of the uninsured and to educate decision-makers about the impact of health insurance on health status.

To date, 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 "No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick." In late October, ACP-ASIM sponsored a briefing for Capitol Hill staff on universal access with House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-26-TX). In November, the College held a press conference to release a new white paper that demonstrates the link between a lack of health insurance and poor health. The white paper, "No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick - Scientific Research Linking the Lack of Health Coverage to Poor Health," summarizes available literature published within the last ten years that confirms the health hazards faced by the uninsured.

The College has also partnered with the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in a petition drive to highlight the need to make accessible and affordable healthcare a national priority. CHA and ACP-ASIM are working to get citizens across the country to sign these petitions, and will be submitting them to presidential and congressional candidates as a mandate on healthcare. A brochure featuring this petition was included in the November issue of the Observer. To request single or bulk copies of the brochure, contact ACP-ASIM Customer Service at 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2600 and ask for product number 510100190. ACP-ASIM encourages all physicians to sign the petition and make it available to their patients, civic groups, hospitals and any other organizations that are concerned about the uninsured.

As the state presidential primaries are held early next year, ACP-ASIM will work to elevate the issue of universal coverage with candidates and voters. The College will call on its leadership and members to write op-eds and letters-to-the-editor, and to attend candidate forums in support of accessible and affordable healthcare for all Americans. ACP-ASIM members will be asked to participate in similar activities during the congressional primaries later next year.

The success of ACP-ASIM's Decision 2000 campaign depends on the participation of Governors and chapter members. Chapter involvement will be especially important during the 2000 congressional elections. Washington staff will be contacting chapters and asking them to participate in grassroots activities throughout the primary season. For more information on the campaign or what you can do to help, contact Jenn Jenkins, Associate for Grassroots Advocacy, in the Washington Office. You can reach her at 800-338-2746, ext. 4536.

Mark Your Calendars

South Carolina Annual Scientific Session
"Professionalism: Back to the Basics"
September 22-24, 2000
Westin Hotel (Francis Marion)
Charleston, SC