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June 2012 Mark E. Pasanen, MD, FACP, Governor


From the Governor

Dr. Mark Pasanen
Leadership Day 2012

On June 6-7, 2012, Mark Levine and I headed off to Washington D.C. for the annual ACP Leadership Day. On the first day, we received a fantastic overview of the major issues delivered by Bob Doherty, ACP Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs and Public Policy. Included in his presentation were updates on the ACP priorities for the congressional visits. At the time, we were still awaiting the decision from the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act. Therefore we focused our efforts in several areas as outlined below. Mark and I very much enjoyed meeting with Senator Sanders and his Chief of Staff, Huck Gutman in a lively discussion of current health issues, both nationally and in the State of Vermont. We also met with the staffs of Senator Leahy and Representative Welch. All-in-all, it was a very positive experience.

  1. Eliminate Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and Transition to Better Payment Systems
    Congress should work in a bipartisan fashion to enact the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act as introduced on May 9 by Representatives Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Joe Heck (R-NV). This legislation would eliminate the SGR once and for all and transition to better payment and delivery systems that are aligned with value. Specifically, H.R. 5707 would repeal the SGR formula; provide more than 5 years of stable physician payments, with positive increases for all physician services, and higher payments for primary care, preventive and care coordination services; and establishes a process for practices to transition to new, more effective, models of care by 2018.
  2. Ensure Full Funding for Essential Health Programs
    Congress should replace the trillions in across-the-board sequestration cuts scheduled for January 2013, which do not take into consideration the importance or effectiveness of any particular program or activity, with a fiscally-responsible alternative that addresses the real cost-drivers in health care, as proposed by ACP. Congress should fully fund the following essential federal health programs that support the workforce, health research, and the public health. Specifically, recommendations were made on the National Health Service Corps, Primary Care Training Grants, the Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality (AHRQ), NIH, Health Resources and Service Administration and the CDC.
  3. Enact Meaningful Medical Liability Reforms; Authorize and Fund a National Pilot of No-fault Health Courts
    Congress should enact reforms that will reduce the costs of medical liability insurance and defensive medicine, including a pilot on health courts, a no-fault alternative that would have medical liability claims heard by expert judges instead of lay juries.
  4. Fully Fund Graduate Medical Education; Re-align the Program with the Nation’s Workforce Needs
    Congress should preserve funding for GME and align it with workforce policy goals to ensure that taxpayers are getting optimal value from their investment in GME.

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Internal Medicine 2012

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Mark Pasanen, MD, FACP, Virginia Hood, MBBS, MPH, MACP, John Leppman, MD, FACP and Keith Michl, MD, FACP catching up at Internal Medicine 2012.

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Elizabeth Nimmich, MD presenting her interesting case of MRSA epidural abscess/meningitis at Internal Medicine 2012.

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Justin Stinnett-Donnelly, MD presenting his quality work helping understand and optimize work flow in dermatology clinic at Internal Medicine 2012.

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Patrick Hohl, DO and Mitch Nimmich, MD presenting their unusual case of a large squamous cell carcinoma in a patient with oculocutaneous albinism at Internal Medicine 2012.

This year’s annual Internal Medicine 2012, in beautiful New Orleans, was a huge success. The meeting continues to be the preeminent internal medicine meeting in the US, improving every year. I was particularly impressed by the expanded offerings for hospitalists. It was a pleasure for me to be accompanied by a contingent of Associates presenting their posters (selected by both our local chapter and by national judges). Once again, it was great seeing everyone at our combined reception with New Hampshire and Maine. I hope to see many of you in San Francisco next year.

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Vermont Chapter Scientific Meeting

Our annual Vermont Chapter Scientific Meeting will be on Friday October 12th at the fabulous Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. As those of you who have come in the past can attest, it’s a fantastic meeting location and our program promises to be a pertinent and lively update for both inpatient and outpatient providers. This year, I’ve invited Jeff Wiese, MD, FACP to join us. Jeff is the past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine and a current Regent for the ACP. He’s a very dynamic speaker and I look forward to his talk Transforming Healthcare Reform into the Hospital of the Future. The agenda will also include sessions on MRSA/soft tissue infections, perioperative care, dermatologic manifestations of systemic disease, diabetes, attention deficit, and knee issues.

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Special Thanks

Over the last year, I have many folks to thank for their help in allowing me to smoothly transfer into the Governor position. Of course, I want to thank Dr. Levine for his years of service as Governor, his continued active involvement and for always being there for me when questions arise. From the national ACP office, I would like to thank Judy Spahr, our chapter liaison, for all her help, advice and support this year. Locally, Colleen Magne, our Vermont chapter staff person, has kept things running smoothly in a year of transition.

I would also like to extend my thanks to Chris Holmes, MD, FACP for her many years of service to the ACP. She has served on the Council for years and has directed our Associate Program at the local chapter meeting. She will be stepping down from the Council to focus on her clinical and research activities.

Finally, I want to especially thank Dr. Virginia Hood who recently finished up an incredibly successful year as President of the ACP. Everywhere you go with the ACP, someone will tell you what an amazing person and leader she is. Thanks so much for your service.

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Chapter Update

I want to welcome two new members to our VT ACP Chapter Council.

  • Allen Repp MD, FACP: He is currently the interim director of Primary Care Internal Medicine and director of Hospitalist Services at Fletcher Allen Health Care. He looks forward to helping the Council better understand the needs of local hospitalists.
  • Dr. Samreen Raza: a resident at Fletcher Allen Health Care. She looks forward to leading our Council of Associates, with activities for Associates and Young Physicians to be planned for the next year.

Over the next year, please look for new events for Associates and Student Members, Hospitalists and Young Physicians. As always, if you are interested in getting more involved, please feel free to contact me at mark.pasanen@vtmednet.org.

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Choosing Wisely

The ABIM Foundation in cooperation with nine specialty societies including the ACP has developed the “Choosing Wisely” campaign. This has resulted in each of the nine specialty societies creating a ‘Top 5’ list. These lists include the top five things in each of these specialty areas that physicians and patients should question. This is a list all primary care physicians should familiarize themselves with. The list is on the ABIM Foundation Web site and can be accessed here.

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Contact Information

Mark E Pasanen, MD FACP
Governor, Vermont Chapter

Colleen Magne,
Vermont Chapter Staffperson
Phone: 802-223-7898
Fax: 802-223-1201