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April 11-13, 2019
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I trust that all of you had a very joyous 2012 Holiday Season
and that thus far 2013 has proven to be prosperous, professionally
rewarding, and healthy for all of you!
I have now had the privilege of serving as the Governor of our
Chapter for over two years and each day I come to appreciate even
more the value of being a member of the American College of
Physcians. The tangible benefits are readily apparent to all of us
- the vast educational resources that the College provides via
publications, webinars, etc.; the superb CME activities available
at our annual state meeting and at Internal Medicine Week; the
extensive clinical practice guidelines that are easily accessible
to the entire membership to enhance the quality of care and
particularly the practice of evidence-based medicine; and patient
education materials that improve health care literacy and as a
result, engagement of patients in their health and wellness. Less
apparent and tangible is the day to day advocacy for internists -
general internal medicine specialists, hospitalists,
subspecialists, residents and student members - that the College
exerts on our behalf. Only after attending Board of Governor's
meeting and the Awards Convocation at Internal Medicine Week did I
fully comprehend how very special is the College and indeed an
honor to be a member. Too frequently some of us view the College as
an organization that sends us a copy of Annals of Internal Medicine
every other week and is run by bureaucrats in Philadelphia out of
touch with our unique problems. Rather, the real work of the
College is performed by practicing physicians such as you and I -
private practice and academics; generalists, subspecialists, and
hospitalists - who encounter the same frustrations as all of us but
are striving to make the practice of medicine more rewarding
professionally for you and to enhance the delivery of healthcare
for our patients. Therefore, I urge you to stay involved in the
College activities and communicate to me whenever you feel the need
so that I can serve as a conduit to others so that your voice may
There are very direct ways by which you can support the goals,
objectives, and mission of the College:
As always, please contact me or any of the Board members to
share your concerns on any and all issues that impact internal
Best wishes and I hope to see you at Point Clear in May!
This was another exciting year for the Associates in the Alabama
chapter! Alabama sent its team to compete in the "Doctors
Dilemma" competition at Internal Medicine 2012 in New Orleans,
Lousiana. The team, composed of Associates from UAB, was as
We had two Associates represent the Alabama Chapter in the
National Clinical Vignette competition at Internal Medicine 2012.
Sheela Subramanyam from Baptist Health Systems and
Phillip Henderson from the University of South
Alabama both did an excellent job.
At a state level, opportunities continue to become available for
Associates to participate in chapter activities. The chapter
continues to sponsor its annual Doctors Dilemma competition, oral
clinical vignette competition, and poster competition for both
clinical vignettes and research. Last year we received a record
number of abstracts for the annual sate meeting.
The Alabama Chapter Council of Associates continues to be active
and foster increased involvement within the chapter. Events hosted
by the Council this past year include a talk on the fellowship
application process, an Associate's night out at the Chapter's
annual meeting, and the Stump the Professor session at the Chapter
meeting. Our current members are:
Radhika Dasararaju - University of Alabama at
Birmingham-MontgomeryAdam Edwards - University of Alabama at
BirminghamCourtney Shappley - University of South
AlabamaErin Stevens - Baptist Health Systems
They have done an outstanding job this year representing
Associates and planning future activities!
It has been a pleasure this past year to get to work with
Dr. Many, Dr. Rodriguez, the Internal Medicine
Program Directors, Teri Dingler, and others in
order to make our associate program one of the best in the
T.J. Hundley, MD FACP
Chair, Associate Activities Alabama ACP
The Alabama Chapter of the ACP has worked to enhance the growth
of the hospitalist membership in our chapter. During the chapter
meeting, there are educational topics geared toward hospitalist
physicians. There is always a roundtable breakfast moderated by
Dr. Robert Centor so that hospitalist concerns can
be taken to the national level. The Alabama Chapter also works to
ensure there is hospitalist representation on the Board of
As 2012 comes to an end, physicians are preparing for a 26.5%
reimbursement cut mandated by Medicare sustainable growth rate
(SGR) statue and an additional 2% reduction in Medicare rates
through a budget sequestration process required by a 2011 deficit
reduction law. Although both sides of the aisles of congress and
the White House has repeatedly assured physicians over past decade
that no large reductions in Medicare reimbursement would be allowed
to stand, the cost of even a one year pay patch for 2013 is now
estimated at $25 billion by the Congressional Budget Office. The
ACP, along with AARP and the American Academy of Family Physicians
have encouraged lawmakers to abandon the SGR and stop future cuts
without relying on the practice of stopgap measures to override the
SGR. Organized medicine supports repealing the SGR and paying for
the long-term solution by redirecting "unused" money from the
overseas contingency operation (OCO) fund after the end of
full-scale military operation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White
House and congressional Democrats support this type of budgeting
In Alabama, reform of our Medicaid program is on the horizon.
Currently, Medicaid consumes roughly 30% of Alabama's General Fund,
which pays for most non-educational spending. Budget analysts
predict that Medicaid will grow to consume nearly 90% of the
General Fund by 2020 if changes are not made. Governor Bentley
established the Medicaid Advisory Commission in October, chaired by
State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson, to study
the funding of and delivery of care to Medicaid recipients. Dr.
Williamson has made it clear that the current funding system for
Medicaid is not sustainable and the Legislature has shown little
interest in continually increasing funding each year going forward.
Because of the state's inability to fund care for Alabama
Medicaid's current 900,000 enrollees, Governor Bentley chose not to
expand Medicaid to 133% of poverty level in 2014. Although Medicaid
expansion would initially be funded by the federal government under
the Affordable Care Act, eventually federal funding would drop to
90% leaving the state to make up the funding difference for 200,000
to 400,000 additional enrollees. Even without Medicaid expansion,
expect the Medicaid Advisory Commission to recommend transformation
of Alabama Medicaid to a managed care model.
Make plans to attend MASA's governmental affairs meeting in
Washington, February 9-12, 2013 and ACP's Leadership Day, May
20-22, 2013. Please let me know if you plan to attend.
Ross B. Vaughn, MD,
Chairman, Advocacy and Health Policy
This year our annual meeting will again be held at the Grand
Hotel in Fairhope, Alabama May 30-June 2.
The program features presentations on very important topics for
primary care physicians, hospitalists, subspecialists, medical
students and residents. Some of the topics include geriatrics,
cardiology, perioperative management, hypertension, etc.
We will again have an ABIM recertification module. As usual,
clinical vignettes will be presented by associates from all state
training programs, and we will have a Doctor's Dilemma competition.
We hope to see you in the Spring.