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August 2011 Michael M. Hawkins, MD, FACP, SFHM, ACP Governor

From the Governor

Dr. Hawkins

Hello, ACP Colleagues:
I hope that all of you are having a great summer, hopefully taking some much deserved vacation time from your busy world of medicine to spend with your family and friends. The Governor’s Council and I have been busy representing you since my last newsletter in February. Below, I will highlight some of our recent activities.

As you may remember, I reached out to our membership in the last newsletter to increase awareness of ACP’s Recruit- a- Colleague program. I want to thank those of you who referred a colleague for membership in the ACP. As a reminder, when you recruit new members, please have them apply online. By doing so, $100 is issued to our SC Chapter for each new member recruited, and you will receive $100 in dues credits for your efforts as well. (Note: this applies only to full dues-paying members, not students or residents.)

As you are all well aware, one of the problems facing the house of medicine is the lack of interest that medical students have in going into primary care. It is my belief that to be successful in recruiting the best and brightest into primary care, we have to be proactive as opposed to just sitting back and leaving it to chance. To that end, I have been visiting our medical schools in an effort to educate young physicians in training regarding the need for more primary care physicians. In addition, I have presented students powerpoint presentations about ACP, and the many benefits offered to students. Membership for them is free, and there are many services available to them during their journey through medical school. This year, I saw an increase in a “show of hands” go up when I posed the question re how many of them are considering primary care. Last year when I did the same, nobody raised their hands. This year, there were many more, which is encouraging, though hardly a scientific study. We have seen a 4% increase so far this year in our medical student membership from South Carolina. This is certainly not a large number, but yet a positive number that should motivate us to continue work on this front. Thanks goes out to Paul Richardson, MD, FACP from Conway, who is planning a session at our state meeting in October to help medical students and residents with transition from medical student to resident to the real world of medicine. Hopefully, this will be of interest to our medical students and residents, and involve them in our organization early on in their careers. If any of you are interested in getting involved by participating in such programs or serving as a mentor, please let Paul or me know.

It was my pleasure to have represented you at the Board of Governors’ Meeting as well as the Annual ACP meeting in San Diego in April. One of the highlights of the Annual Session is the Convocation Program. Last year we had 17 new Fellows (FACP), however, we did not have any march in the convocation ceremony. Fellows are invited to be formally recognized and inducted at Convocation within 3 years of their election. I encourage new Fellows to plan to attend Convocation as it is quite an experience, and recognizes you for an important milestone in your professional career.


About Fellowship

Fellowship is an honor achieved by those recognized by their peers for personal integrity, superior competence in internal medicine, professional accomplishment, and demonstrated scholarship. It is a mark of esteem from colleagues who recognize accomplishments and achievements over and above the practice of medicine. The most important considerations for Fellowship are excellence and contributions made to both medicine and to the broader community in which the internist lives and practices.

Congratulations to the following physicians for achieving Fellowship status within the past year:

Debra J. Gazzuolo, Rock Hill
Peter S. Maurides, Greenville
Ugochukwu N. Okereke, Sumter
Nancy A. Richeson, Columbia
Gregg M. Talente, Lexington

Congratulations to each of you (if I missed anyone, I apologize, and please let me know).


Leadership Day on Capitol Hill

Marybeth Poston and I represented you in Washington this past May. We met with representatives of the South Carolina legislative delegation, and delivered, once again, the message to support the elimination of the Medicare SGR and transition to a better payment system. The National ACP has recommended a 5 year period of stable payments, higher updates for undervalued E and M services, and to study proposed pilots during that 5 year period. In addition, we pointed out the dire need to have incentives that will attract more medical students and residents into primary care, and pointed out to them that we really cannot have true healthcare reform without tort reform. As always, I invite you to let me know how you feel about certain political issues re the practice of medicine, in order that I can carry the message back to national. I feel very strongly that part of my job as Governor is to communicate our members’ views and opinions to those on the national level. Thanks, Marybeth, for your help on this front.

On the state level, we have been attending meetings in collaboration with the SCMA, if an effort to make state policy makers aware of the unintentional consequences of cuts in Medicaid reimbursements, and will continue to fight for you and our patients concerning this issue, and the havoc that these cuts will reap in the way of decreasing access to care, and the high likelihood of actually increasing the cost of care as these patients flood our emergency departments for non-emergent medical problems.

Mark your calendars, and please join us for the 2011 South Carolina Chapter Scientific Meeting, October 13-16, 2011, at the Charleston Marriott Hotel. The theme this year is Internal Medicine 2011: Current Topics for the Internist and Hospitalists. This is the best bang for the buck that you can get anywhere with regards to CME. We are very excited about the high caliber of speakers, and the presentations by the residents are always educational, and quite incredible. Everyone who attends this yearly event is complimentary, as evidenced by satisfaction surveys. I am often asked why the crowd is not larger given the high quality of the program. Hopefully this year we can increase attendance, as we have worked hard to get the word out. Please join us, and encourage your colleagues to do so as well. It is a great time, and very educational. You will not be disappointed.

If you have not received a brochure on the upcoming Annual Meeting in October, please contact our Executive Director, Debbie Shealy, at 803-798-6207, in state at 800-327-1021, ext. 223 or via e-mail at debbie@scmanet.org.

Regards to all,

Mike Hawkins, MD, FACP, SFHM
Governor, SC Chapter ACP