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Governor's Newsletter, Summer2001

Rashida A. Khakoo, MD, FACP
Governor, West Virginia Chapter

Governor's Message

This has continued to be an exciting year. It is an honor to serve as your Governor. I am hoping that many of you are enjoying the beautiful spring in West Virginia and finding some time to "smell the flowers" in between your busy schedules.

We just had a wonderful meeting of the West Virginia Chapter of ACP-ASIM in Charleston. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who attended the meeting and helped in numerous ways to make it a successful event. Please mark your calendar for next year's meeting on May 3-4, 2002, at the Lakeview Scanticon Resort in Morgantown, WV.

As you know the theme of this year's meeting was "Recapturing the Joy in Medicine." Dr. Joseph Fuscaldo, Chair, Program Planning Committee, and Dr. Shelda Martin, Co-Chair, and the entire Program Planning Committee did an outstanding job to create a diverse, interesting, and interactive program. Dr. Georges Bordage, a recognized authority on Medical Education, gave a thought provoking presentation on "Medical Diagnostic Errors and Changing Teacher's Behaviors During Case Presentations." This was followed by a wonderful presentation by Dr. Barbara Schuster, the College Representative, who is also a Master of ACP-ASIM. She emphasized the joy and importance of teaching in the ambulatory setting. She had several tips for many of you who have learners in your offices. The session on "Critical Clinical Thinking" moderated by Dr. Melanie Fisher, was excellent as usual with a lot of learning opportunities with plenty of clinical pearls and points. Dr. Schuster gave an update of the College activities at the luncheon. This was followed by an excellent discussion with active participation by the audience. Of importance and concern was the issue of recertification by ABIM, which she discussed extensively. Dr. Schuster presented an "Excellence Award" from the College to the West Virginia Chapter. I am deeply grateful to all of you for this honor for the Chapter. It is your commitment and help that make our Chapter successful.

There were excellent workshops in the afternoon. The ever popular Thieve's Market was back. Drs. Danielle King, Jidgesh Modi, and Niti Armistead presented patients that kept the audience interested and active. This year we had the largest number of abstracts we have ever had, a total of 50. Dr. Becky Schmidt coordinated the entire effort with Drs. Todd Gress and Molly John as part of her team. The competition was highly organized with the Clinical Vignettes being presented in four different rooms and research presentation in one room. There were a total of five winners. After a very active and fun filled day, there was time for reflection and relaxation and more fun at the Governor's Reception. An added attraction was the presentation by Tazim Jaffer and Dr. William Bunn (past Governor of the Ohio Chapter ACP-ASIM), regarding "Female Patterns in Circle of Life" Art Exhibition. Participants were able to view some of the material from the exhibit.

The following day started with the mentoring breakfast. We were delighted to have Health Sciences Technology Academy students with us again this year. The breakfast was followed by an enlightening presentation and discussion on "Recapturing Joy in Medicine" by Mr. Neil Chesanow, Senior Associate Editor of Medical Economics Magazine. Then there was more food for thought at the Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind and outstanding presentations by Drs. Sarah Nease, Greg Heywood, and Jeff Jackson. The session was moderated by Dr. Mark Newbrough, who did an excellent job keeping the brains well fed. At the luncheon, awards were presented for the Associates' Competition The Laureate Award this year was presented to Dr. Abnash Jain. The award was accepted by Dr. Marshall as Dr. Jain could not be at the meeting.

The day ended with an exciting event that kept everyone on the edge of their seats, the Medical Knowledge Challenge Competition. Drs. Shelly Nuss, Shelda Martin, and Lynne Goebel all worked extremely hard to make this a very successful event. Residents and student teams from West Virginia University in Morgantown won the competition

In closing, I remain delighted to serve as your Governor. There are many challenges facing all of us, but as participants of the conference agreed, we must transcend the hassels and recapture the "Joy in Medicine" in order to serve our patients and learners well. Again I invite all of you to be actively involved with the College. If you are not a member, please join. If you are a member and if you qualify, I encourage you to consider Advancement to Fellowship. I also urge residents to become Associates and medical students to join. We have a tremendous organization which works on our behalf. Please stay in touch and let me know if you have an interest in serving on any of our committees. I hope to see all of you at the next Chapter meeting.

Medical Knowledge Challenge

Medical Student Compettion Winners From West Virginia University, Morgantown:

Eric Adkins
Dan Chaksupa
Jeremy Leslie
Matt Wilson

Resident Competition Winners From West Virginia University, Morgantown:

Aasim Sehbai, MD
Laura Davisson, MD
Jason Kettler, MD
Timothy Wratchford, MD

Congratulations to all the winners and all who participated!

2000-2001 Laureate Award Recipient - Dr. Abnash Jain

Dr. Abnash Jain is currently Professor of Medicine and Chief, Section of Cardiology. He graduated from Punjab University in Chandigarh, India. Initially he did his postgraduate work in England and Ireland and also obtained his Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In the United States he did his residency and fellowship in Cardiology in Chicago, Illinois. He is Fellow of the ACP-ASIM and the American College of Cardiology. He has served as a Governor of the American College of Cardiology from 1976-1979 in West Virginia and was President of West Virginia Heart Association. He is highly recognized as an excellent clinician/teacher and has won several awards for his teaching and clinical abilities including "Best Attending Physician," "Clinician of the Year," and "Distinguished Teacher." He has continued to demonstrate scholarly activity. He has been an excellent role model for large numbers of medical students, residents, fellows and has served a vital role in the State in providing state-of-the-art care in Cardiology for more than a quarter century.

Winners of the Research and Clinical Vignette Categories

Research - Mary Davidson, MD
West Virginia University, Morgantown

Gastroenterology, Nephrology, and Endocrinology - Anthony Tobia, MD
West Virginia University,Morgantown

Pulmonary and Cardiology - Syed Ashraf, MD
West Virginia University, Charleston Division

Hematology/Oncology - Imran Arif, MD
Marshall University

Infectious Diseases - Sarah Hayat
West Virginia University, Morgantown

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.

Resources for Renewal

We have all heard stories of "burned-out" internists who left their practices, or of young residents who chose a field other than internal medicine because they heard of the long hours, bureaucratic hassles, and declining incomes associated with our field. College Governors have listened to their members' concerns about physician burn-out and the need for renewal, and spent the last several months developing a list of resources that could be used by anyone dealing with these issues. The Board of Governors reviewed a variety of speakers, websites, organizations, books, articles, and College publications, choosing resources they would personally recommend to their colleagues. This material has been collated and posted on ACP-ASIM Online, in the Careers section http://www.acponline.org/careers/. If someone you know is looking for a better balance or a path to renewal, there may be something on this list you can recommend.

There is a response form linked to the list. If you refer to one of the pieces, and would, in turn, recommend it to someone else, let headquarters know. If you are aware of a wonderful resource that's not listed, you can suggest it be added. All feedback will be reviewed by a working group of ACP-ASIM Governors, who will be revising the list on an ongoing basis.

Visit the Careers section, check out the renewal project, and let us know what you think!

Supporting Your Chapter Through Chapter Dues

Chapter dues are the backbone of local activities and vital to the success of our chapter. While we are provided some financial support from the national office, the chapter dues collected provide the majority of financial support for local activities. Educational meetings, mentoring programs for medical students, local Associates' research competitions, advocacy with state legislators, and participation by chapter leaders in Leadership Day on Capitol Hill are just some of the activities supported by your chapter dues. Many of these activities are orchestrated by unpaid volunteer leaders in our chapter.

However, the increase in activities at the local level has created the need for additional staff support to help manage the day to day operation of the chapter. Your chapter dues help support the cost of local staff and provide funding for new and existing chapter initiatives. When you receive your dues notice, please remember to include the chapter dues in your payment. You will be contributing to the success of many grass roots activities happening right here at home.

Check Out Our Chapter Web Site - http://www.acponline.org/chapters/wv/