Nebraska Governor's Newsletter February 2020

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Marvin J. Bittner, MD, FACP, ACP Governor

Marvin J. Bittner, MD, FACP, ACP Governor


Governor's Farewell Message: the Importance of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

In writing this, my farewell message as Governor of the Nebraska ACP chapter, I'd like to go out on a positive note. However, the reality is that there is plenty of bad news.

So . . . how can I deal with this dilemma? My advice: Take a lesson from tv!

Not long ago I learned something about Mister Rogers. Some of you may be very familiar with Mister Rogers of the PBS television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. (If you're not familiar with Mister Rogers, here's the one-sentence summary: He was, in the words of a “gentle and genial host who for over 30 years delivered lessons on love, kindness, and friendship to children.”) He had a message for children who became alarmed when they saw their parents worried by hurricanes, earthquakes, or other alarming events: “look for the helpers.”

Consider the situation faced by residents and fellows at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia last year. Hahnemann (more precisely, the organization that owned it) went bankrupt. They terminated the residencies and fellowships. This was, for the residents and fellows, alarming. What happened? The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) stepped in, and other residency and fellowship programs stepped in. They found positions for the residents and fellows. They were “the helpers.”

Consider an additionally alarming event faced by those residents and fellows. Hahnemann said they wouldn't cover some malpractice claims. This is a violation of the ACGME rules. Yet Hahnemann is in bankruptcy. Does that release them from the ACGME rules? What is going to happen to the residents and fellows if they get sued? The American Medical Association has stepped in. They are providing legal counsel to assert the rights of the residents and fellows amid the bankruptcy proceedings. The AMA is one of “the helpers.”

What about the alarming data on physician burnout? On physician time consumed by electronic health records? On the burden of the American Board of Internal Medicine's Maintenance of Certification program? The message of Mister Rogers is: “look for the helpers.”

The American College of Physicians, you will find, is one of the helpers. Our own chapter has a wellness initiative that is fighting burnout, and our incoming Governor, Micah Beachy, has been a leader in this effort. The ACP's initiative to put patients before paperwork has taken the struggle to the Medicare officials. Their documentation simplification efforts are just starting to bear fruit. Our previous Governor, Tom Tape, has served as Chair of the ACP Board of Regents and has engaged in hours of dialogue with ABIM, which has announced a longitudinal option for MOC. Would you agree with me that ACP is an organization of “helpers”?

I think you will realize the importance of ACP and our chapter. We are a community that enhances social ties—and more. We are a source of continuing medical education—and more. We are a source of recognition for our members' accomplishments—and more. We are “helpers.”

As I leave the role of Governor, will you join me in continuing—amid all the challenges we face as physicians—to be “helpers”?



Help with the Resolutions Process

Resolutions serve as the mechanism for membership (you!) to have formal input with the Board of Regents (the policy-making body of the College). This year, our Chapter will utilize an electronic survey to collect your feedback on the spring resolutions. Please keep an eye on your inbox in early March for this survey link, and take a few minutes to share your thoughts on resolutions. You can help create new policy and foster excellence in internal medicine!



Leadership Day Funding Applications Available

ACP Leadership Day will be held on May 12-13, 2020, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC. This two-day event enables the College to increase its presence on Capitol Hill and bring our issues of concern to U.S. lawmakers.

Again this year, our Chapter will underwrite the travel of one medical student and one resident to attend Leadership Day in Washington, DC. All other Chapter members are welcome to attend at their own expense.

Chapter members who participate in Leadership Day will receive advocacy training, an update on the College's legislative priorities, briefings from Members of Congress, Administration officials and key Capitol Hill staffers, and an opportunity to meet with Nebraska's elected officials. A special briefing for Residents/Fellows-in-Training and medical students is also provided.

If you are a medical student or resident specializing in Internal Medicine, apply today for a chance to attend Leadership Day with travel expenses paid by the Chapter! Click here to find the application, due by Feb. 23, 2020.



Upcoming Events

Early Career Physician Trivia Night

Thurs., February 27, 2020 from 5:30-7:30 pm
The Kaufmann Room in Blackstone, 3922 Farnam St.

All Resident/Fellow members and Early career physicians (within 16 years of medical school graduation) are invited for food, drinks and America's Pub Quiz

The Chapter will pay for your food, trivia and first drink!

Click here to register

Internal Medicine Meeting 2020

April 23-25, 2020, Los Angeles, CA

Register for IMM Today!

DON’T MISS the Nebraska Chapter Reception in LA!

Friday, April 24, 5:00-7:00 pm

You and your guest/spouse are invited for heavy appetizers and cash bar at

Barcito – 403 W. 12th St., Los Angeles (less than 10 min walk from Convention Center)

RSVP for the Chapter Reception here

Leadership Day on Capitol Hill

May 12-13, 2020, Washington DC – Mandarin Oriental Hotel

See above for more information and application link or read more here

Save the Date – 2020 Chapter Meeting

Saturday, October 24, 2020 in Omaha, NE.

More information coming soon!