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ACP Hosting Summit to Address the Future of Internal Medicine and Patient Care

Philadelphia (Oct. 27, 2003) -- Leaders from nearly 30 medical organizations will convene in Philadelphia Nov. 1-2, 2003, to address the challenges in today's health care environment that affect patient care and compromise the future of primary care. Participants at the "Revitalization of Internal Medicine Summit" will assess educational, professional, financial, legislative and quality-of-life issues that negatively impact patient care and the profession of internal medicine. The goal of the summit is to develop a collaborative action plan to redesign a health care system focused on safe, efficient, quality care that not only increases the number of medical students choosing internal medicine as a career but also the career satisfaction of practicing internists and internal medicine subspecialists.

The summit is being hosted by the American College of Physicians, the second-largest medical society in the United States and the largest medical specialty society in the world. It will focus on the regulatory, financial and socioeconomic burdens in health care that have resulted in physicians leaving practice and medical students opting out of internal medicine as a career choice. Since 1999, for example, there has been a 9.5 percent decline in U.S. medical school seniors entering internal medicine. This steady decrease in the physician workforce compromises the future availability of internal medicine physicians, who provide the largest percentage of overall care to adults in the United States.

The slow but steady unraveling of the health care infrastructure in the United States impedes access to care, accentuates disparities, and threatens the lives of patients. ACP is committed to revitalizing the practice of internal medicine by restructuring a system focusing on quality patient care linked to scientific innovation and discovery.

"This summit offers a unique opportunity for us to determine and influence the system changes needed for the health of our patients, the public, and internal medicine as a profession," said Mary T. Herald, M.D., FACP, chair, ACP Board of Regents, and a practicing internist and endocrinologist in New Jersey.

The November summit is ACP's latest effort on behalf of internists and internal medicine subspecialists. The organization has worked diligently to increase the attractiveness of internal medicine careers by developing strategies to reduce medical student debt, improve insurance reimbursements, reduce practice hassles, pursue medical liability tort reform, and bring together all organizations that have a stake in the future of internal medicine.

The American College of Physicians was founded in 1915 to promote the science and practice of medicine. In 1998 it merged with the American Society of Internal Medicine, which was established in 1956 to study economic aspects of medicine. ACP works to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. ACP membership includes nearly 115,000 internists, medical residents, fellows and students.

Brian Wasson, 215-351-2513 or 800-523-1546, ext. 2513
E-mail: bwasson@acponline.org

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