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New Mexico Governor's Newsletter October 2018

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Betty Chang, MDCM, PhD, FACP, FACCP, ACP Governor

Betty Chang, MDCM, PhD, FACP, FACCP, ACP Governor


Governor's Message

I am so looking forward to seeing everyone at the meeting. Please come up and say hello. I don't always recognize faces, please take that as my failing. It seems like just yesterday, I started as Governor, but in fact my term is more than half over. Don't forget to vote for our new Governor. Ballot emails went out last month. Please vote, we have two great candidates – Dr. Heather Brislen and Dr. Alisha Parada. Both have been very involved with the New Mexico Chapter for a number of years.

You can read more about them here.

Your ballot was mailed out last month, but you can vote on line at the above link if you have your ACP member number and election pass code (in the mailing). If you have lost or tossed the ballot mailing, you can call the ACP for a replacement ballot.

If you are more interested in being more active with the Chapter, we would love to have you on board with us. You do NOT need to be in Albuquerque to participate as we have call in ability for nearly all meetings. Contact me or Lisa Sullivan.



The chapter has been busy getting ready for the annual educational meeting November 1-3 at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown. Registration is until October 26, 2018, after which there is a $25 late registration fee, but you can register up to and at the meeting.

We have an amazing list of speakers. Our keynote speaker is Dr. Suja Mathew, Chair of Medicine at Cook County Medical Center on “Reclaiming Your Joy: Strategies to increase professional satisfaction in your clinical practice”. We have 11.75 hours of CME and 11 hours of MOC credit available.

We will also have an art exhibit for our more artistic members. For art exhibit details contact Eileen Barrett and she can send you the entry form and guidelines.


Hotel reservations: 505-881-0000 (mention NMACP for the block rate)




Greater Albuquerque Medical Association/New Mexico ACP Medical Aid in Dying Educational Event

Marriott Pyramid, 5151 San Francisco Road, NE, Albuquerque.

October 27th, 2018 from 8 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Cost $99 for NMACP and GAMA members (free for residents and students)

Aid in dying is likely to be on the Legislative Agenda for the 2019 legislative session. This is a complicated issue and the goal of this event is to present a neutral form for discussion including the legal history in New Mexico and other states. Speakers are Robert Schwartz, Dr. Lisa Marr, Dr. Steve Kanig, Dr. David Grube, and Dr. George Comerci.


ACP Advocacy Efforts

The ACP has been advocating for legislation to support efforts to stem and treat the nation's opioid epidemic. The House and the Senate have come together in recent weeks for a bipartisan bid to devote more resources to this cause. They have both approved opioid bills in September and have sent them to a conference committee to work out the differences between the two versions.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which is a follow up on the Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act of 2016 contains a mix of law enforcement and public health measures, including one that aims to block deadly fentanyl from being imported through the mail and one that will allow more nurses to prescribe medication for opioid addiction. Additionally, the bill provides tools for the FDA to address challenges to developing non-addictive medical products to treat pain or addiction. The legislation authorizes a study by the Secretary of Health and Human Services into the impact of prescribing limits on the incidence and prevalence of opioid overdoses and opioid use disorders. It would also explore whether the impact of prescription limits would increase burdens on physicians.


Hospital Medicine MOC Pathway with the ABIM

This program will launch in 2020, so for those of you eligible and interested, here are the details:


  1. Must have a valid, unrestricted medical license
  2. > 3 years of unsupervised inpatient care
  3. Be participating in MOC
  4. 4A. If you are full time inpatient care, you must see >1000 inpatients/year for 3 years (one encounter per patient per day) for a total of 3000 patients over 3 years.
  5. 4B. If you are clinical systems (part time hospitalist), you must see 250 inpatient/year for 3 years (total of 750 patients). These must comprise 75% of your total clinical activity, and at least 50% of the remaining non-clinical professional time must be directed toward improving inpatient care.

You must have a Senior Hospital Official attest to your number of years of unsupervised practice and the inpatient encounter numbers. Subspecialists are not permitted to count subspecialty patient encounters toward the patient encounter volume requirements. Hospital, skilled nursing facility, and rehabilitation facility encounters all count.

If eligible, you must to pass the Hospital Medicine MOC to then enter into the program. Once you are entered, you must attest every 5 years that you continue to meet inpatient encounter thresholds with Senior Hospital Official attestation. The thresholds are 2000/2 years for full time and 500/2 years for part time hospital practice.

Should you chose to withdraw from the program, your accumulated MOC points will role into the traditional Internal Medicine MOC program. You will need to pass the Internal Medicine Recertification Exam prior to the end of your certification period to remain certified.

More details available here.



Wellness Column by Dr. Elizabeth Lawrence, MD, FACP

Language Matters

In recent years, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and other professional societies have advocated for state medical boards to change questions on medical licensing applications that ask about a history of mental illness. Overly broad questions about mental health are known to contribute to stigma about mental illness and to discourage physicians from seeking the professional help they may need (1,2).

I am delighted to report that the New Mexico Board of Medical Examiners voted last month to change the language of question 18 on our licensing application to align with the national initiative to focus mental health questions on an applicant's current ability to practice safely. Our former ACP New Mexico Chapter Governor and current ACP Regent, Eileen Barrett, our current ACP Chapter Secretary, Heather Brislen, and Dr. Dan Waldman of UNM's Family and Community Medicine Department led the effort to change the licensing application language.

Question 18 now reads: “Do you have or have you been diagnosed with an illness or condition which impairs your judgment or affects your ongoing ability to practice medicine in a competent, ethical, and professional manner?”

Question 18 previously read: “In the five (5) years prior to this application, have you had any physical injury or disease, or mental illness or impairment, which you are currently under treatment for or could reasonably be expected to affect your on-going ability to practice medicine safely and competently? If yes, please have your treating physician send the NM Medical Board a letter regarding your diagnosis and treatment.”

I believe that this change in licensing application language is a necessary and crucial step in encouraging physicians and trainees to seek the help we sometimes need. In the roughly three years that I have been Director of the UNM School of Medicine Office of Physician and Student Wellness, countless numbers of medical students, residents, and faculty have expressed to me their apprehension and hesitation about seeking treatment for mental illnesses for fear of repercussions on residency, credentialing, or licensing applications.

The successful work to change the Board language is an example of how changes at the state level can positively affect personal wellbeing. It is one important move toward reducing the high rates of physician burnout, depression, and suicide, a challenge that must be met at the state and national level, the institutional level, and the individual level.

Please join me in celebrating this important milestone.

Liz Lawrence, MD, FACP

Director, Office of Physician and Student Wellness

UNM School of Medicine



1. Dyrbye L et al. Medical licensure questions and physician reluctance to seek care for mental health conditions. Mayo Clinic Proc. 2017;92:1486-1493.

2. Gold KJ et al. “I would never want to have a mental health diagnosis on my record”: A survey of female physicians on mental health diagnosis, treatment, and reporting. General Hospital Psychiatry. 2016;43:51–57.