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Governor's Newsletter, Spring 2001

Harmon H. Davis, II, MD, FACP
Governor, Wyoming Chapter

Governor's Message

Clair and I have just returned from the ACP-ASIM meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. It was an excellent meeting from a clinical point of view and I would encourage all of you to try and attend the ACP-ASIM meetings each Spring as they have become very clinically oriented.

We are going to have our Chapter Scientific Meeting on September 7th and 8th, focusing on screening procedures. Hopefully, it will be well attended. Again, the meeting will be at the University of Wyoming . On September 6th, Wyoming plays the Texas A&M. The meeting has been credited with seven (7) hours of Category I CME. We have arranged for the medical students at the University to attend the meeting.

At the Atlanta meeting, Board of Governors spent a great deal of time discussing ABIM recertification. There is a joint ACP-ASIM, ABIM Committee which is working on the recertification process. The members of that committee for the College are Bernard Rosof, Chair of the Board of Regents, Barbara McGuire, Governor of the New Mexico Chapter, Barbara Schuster, Regent, and Herbert Waxman, Vice President of Educational Affairs for the College. For the ABIM, the members are David Dantzker, Ron Loge, Douglas Zipes and Daniel Duffy.

The Committee has reached an agreement on the following principles. The domains of the ABIM program for continuous professional development are appropriate measures for evaluation leading to recertification in internal medicine and subspecialties. Continuous professional development should emphasize the importance of continuing education and maintenance of certification within continuous professional development program. There should be a clear distinction between the responsibility for evaluation and standard setting which should be done by the ABIM, and providing education and information which should be done by the ACP-ASIM and other professional societies. Last but not least, continuous professional development must be balanced. Diplomats concerns about burden, redundancy, clinical relevance was recertification's goal to provide an appropriate standard for professional accountability.

Other issues that were covered dealt primarily with economic issues. The College is quite vested in attempting to reduce the amount of hassles to which internists and subspecialists are exposed. Enclosed you will find an article with regard to the ACP-ASIM's endorsement of Medical Education and Regulatory Fairness Act (MERFA) - I believe this is a step in the right direction and if we wish to support the College, it would be worthwhile writing to our Congressional delegation endorsing this.

I have also enclosed two other articles. One is with regard to supporting our local chapter through dues. It is self-explanatory. Fortunately, our dues are not as excessive as other chapters, but they are necessary for us to continue our chapter work, particularly, putting on the Scientific Meeting. In addition, I have also enclosed an article that actually outlines what the ACP-ASIM is doing for you today. Hopefully, you can also share this information with other non-members of the College. I think it is a rather impressive list and I would like to see our numbers grow. It is important to remember that the ACP-ASIM is the largest single specialty professional society in our country and we have a significant political clout in Washington.

Last but not least, I would like to point out some things that hopefully will take place in the future. I have talked with David Sandvik, Governor of South Dakota, about a joint meeting with the South Dakota Chapter in Spearfish Canyon in the Fall of 2002 and we are working with the Governors of Saskatchewan, Alberta, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho in an attempt to have a regional scientific meeting during the Summer months of 2003. In the preliminary stages, we hope to have morning meetings with some nationally recognized speakers, have the afternoons off. The meeting would last over a period of approximately five days. I will try and keep you informed, if we are able to organize this. Of note is the fact that all of the Chapter Governors have expressed interest.

Sincerely,

Harmon (Bud) H. Davis, II, MD, FACP
Governor, Wyoming Chapter, ACP-ASIM

P.S. I have been appointed to the Ethics Committee of the College and if there are any specific ethical considerations that you wish to bring before the College, please feel free to contact me. HHD

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://www.acponline.org/lac (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 at a recent meeting. 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 Dr. Davis at drbuddavis@aol.com.

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
Convocation
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

Education

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
Qnet
Quality 101

Publications

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

Self-study

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

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.

Contact Information

James F. Bush, MD, FACP
Wyoming Chapter Governor

Sheila Bush
WY Chapter Executive Director
Wyoming Medical Society
P.O. Box 4009
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82003
Phone: (307) 635-2424
E-mail: sheila@wyomed.org