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Greetings to all of our members. I, like most of you I'm sure,
are looking forward to a better year in 2012 on many fronts.
The strength of our organization is you, our members. There are
approximately 4,400 Internists practicing in our ACP Eastern PA
Region and about 44% of them are members of our ACP. While that
ranks as well with other ACP Chapter regions, I ask myself why
cannot we do better? I recently sent an email communication to
former members who have allowed their membership to lapse over the
previous two years and asked them to take a few minutes and share
with me one major reason for their dropping of their membership. I
received only three responses! I realize that receiving an email
from someone they do not know personally may have led to the email
not even being opened or quickly ignored. Of the three responses,
two identified issues of misunderstanding or poor communication
that were potentially remediable, and one identified
"cost" as the major reason. If these three responses are
representative of the whole group, it suggests that we have work to
do to retain our current members.
I certainly recognize that the economic challenges for
colleagues and practices are tremendous but I believe that the
value of membership is well worth $1.33/day! Many of us spend more
than that for a cup of our favorite coffee each day. It is a matter
of priority for each one of us. The response to my email message is
a reminder to me that recruiting and retaining members is very much
of a personal contact sport! I need your help to reach out and
touch one or more of your non-member colleagues. As I paraphrased
in my first newsletter message, if we are not part of the solution,
we are part of the problem! To encourage your recruiting
initiatives, the ACP provides you a financial incentive to be part of our
Speaking of the value of membership, how many of you have
visited the ACP website, specifically the ACP Medical Home Builder site?
This is a very useful tool for those of you interested in
establishing a Patient Centered Medical Home for your practice.
A major focus of our organization is education, and there is no
better example of that than our Annual meeting, coming up in New
Orleans on April 19-21. Plan on joining us for the meeting and our
annual reception which is always a time to renew friendships with
fellow ACP members. Another focus of our continuing educational
efforts is our single day SEP/MOC meeting at
Penn State Hershey scheduled for March 31 this year. Please join us
for this very interactive review of hospital based and office based
medicine led by Drs. Marc Shalaby and Ted
Bollard. It is well worth your investment in time.
Another value of membership is our advocacy efforts led by
Mr. Bob Doherty at ACP and Mr. John
Nikoloff in Harrisburg. You can be a part of this effort
by serving as a Key Contact for ACP, by meeting with your local
congressional or state representative in his or her office in your
town, by joining us at our National Leadership Day event in
Washington DC on June 6-7 where we will discuss the major
legislative issues and meet with our elected representatives and
their staffs on Capitol Hill.
A vital part of our advocacy effort is to take your issues to
our Board of Governors' meeting twice each year. We do this by
submitting resolutions reflecting your concerns to that meeting.
Dr. Susan Borys, a general internist from Lewisburg, PA authored a
resolution related to concerns about opioid pain management which
was recently approved by the BOG and BOR and is now being studied
for the best approach to implementation. You are invited to suggest
topics for possible resolution to our PA-ACP Governors' Advisory
Council and/or be part of our state Health and Public Policy
Committee under the leadership of Dr. Arnie Eiser
and Dr. Evan Pollock. Contact our executive
director, Mr. John Derrickson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional
We welcome a new medical student Internal Medicine Interest
Group at The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) in Scranton, and
we look forward to working with Dr. Valerie Weber,
Chair of the Clinical Sciences Department, and the student leaders
as we host their 2012 Dinner meeting in February.
As always, I welcome your suggestions.
Dan Kimball, Governor, Eastern Region, PA Chapter,
Email: email@example.com Phone:
2012 is a major election year, with the offices of President, US
Senator, State Attorney General, Auditor General, Treasurer, the US
Congress, State Senate and State House of Representatives all on
the fall ballot. The primary ballot will include these offices as
well as selection of party delegates to the National
In Congressional elections, the new reapportionment of the state
forced loss of one seat, and the new map significantly changes many
districts. Congressmen Jason Altmire and Mark Critz will face each
other in a new 12th district, and Congressman Todd Platts has
announced his retirement in the 4th district.
Four State Senators have announced their plans to retire: Sens.
Jane Earll (R-Erie), Jeff Piccola (R-Dauphin), John Pippy
(R-Allegheny) and Mary Jo White (R-Venango). At least 18 new
members will be elected to the PA House of Representatives. Six
current members have already resigned to take other elected
positions, and another 12 have announced their plans to retire.
Special elections will be scheduled to fill the six vacant
seats, but because the State Supreme Court ruled the legislative
Reapportionment Plan was unconstitutional, those elections - and
the districts for the fall elections - are up in the air.
Insurance Rate Review
In late December, major insurance reform legislation was signed
into law as Act 134, establishing state review of ALL health
insurance contracts, and rate reviews including small groups and
individual contracts. Previously, the state was only able to review
group rates for products issued by HMOs or Blues. Commercial
insurers and commercial subsidiaries of the Blue entities were
exempt. With passage of this legislation, PA insurance department
can continue to regulate rates for Pennsylvanians, rather than the
Department of Health and Human Services, which would have taken
over that role under the Affordable Care Act.
Late in December, legislation was signed that provides for
licensing and regulation of genetic counselors.
PA-ACP and other physician organizations succeeded in getting a
public hearing on HB 1763, the Physician Fair Contracting Act. The
bill would put the provisions of the Love Settlement - including a
standard definition of medical necessity, clean claims payment
requirements, prohibitions against automatic downcoding of E&M
services and all products clauses, and limits on retroactive audits
- into law in Pennsylvania. We are working with the Corbett
Administration to seek its acceptance of this legislation, as the
national agreement expires. And we will continue to work with House
Insurance Committee members and others to get the Chairman of that
committee to schedule a vote on the bill.
Similarly, the PA Chapter is working for passage of Physician
Credentialing legislation (HB 1551), which would allow new
physicians to begin practice and be eligible for reimbursement 15
days after a complete request for credentialing is filed. The
insurance companies would have to reach a credentialing decision
within 60 days of receipt of a completed application.
Highmark and UPMC
The House passed HB 2052 by a 186-6 vote, and the bill is now in
the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. HB 2052 establishes a
system where any failure to renew an existing insurer/hospital
contract becomes subject to investigation by the Insurance
Department, automatic extension for six months, a process of public
hearings, recommendations for terms, extended negotiations, and
finally, should other means fail, independent mediation and binding
arbitration. The announcement that Highmark would continue to honor
UPMC physician contracts through June 30, 2013 confirmed an
agreement reached in late December, but does not fundamentally
solve the overriding issues.
Caps on Punitive Damages
The House passed HB 1907 in January by a 103-89 vote, setting
the stage for a battle over caps on punitive damages. The bill
amends the MCARE act to set a cap at $200,000 for a medical
liability lawsuit against any personal care home, assisted living
community, or long term care nursing facility. In many ways, this
bill was a test vote for further tort reform, but even if the bill
is passed and signed into law, it's certain lawsuits will be filed.
The state Constitution prohibits the General Assembly from placing
limits on punitive and noneconomic damages.
PA ACP is opposing HB 1717, introduced by Rep. Mark Mustio (R,
Allegheny) which recognizes the practice of naturopathic medicine
and that naturopathic physicians comprise a distinct health care
profession. The bill creates a naturopathic licensing system within
the Board of Medicine. Naturopaths argued that they have four years
of postgraduate training, and that 16 other states, DC and Puerto
Rico have legislation similar to HB 1717. We are opposing the
legislation because the science of medicine does not support the
suggestions made by naturopaths, and because the proposed scope of
practice is too broad, the education standards pale in comparison
with medical training, and ordering of tests in the legislation is
beyond the scope of a naturopath's practice.
Congress Passes Short-term SGR Fix
Late last year, the House and Senate passed HR 3765, providing a
short-term extension of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) fix. With
the signing of the bill into law, the 27.4 percent cut to Medicare
payments to physicians scheduled for Jan. 1, 2012 was pushed back,
and a conference committee was named to reach agreement on how to
offset the cost of extension. Both Senator Bob Casey and
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz were named to the Conference
Committee. A more permanent solution will be attempted in
discussions over real tax reform which will not take place until
The SE chapter of the PA- ACP organized focus group sessions at
major internal medicine (IM) training programs in Philadelphia from
November 2011 to February 2012 in order to assess awareness of the
ACP and its membership benefits among interns and residents and to
come up with ways to better meet the needs of IM trainees.
Participation in the focus groups was voluntary and the sessions
were logistically coordinated by the chief residents in each
respective training program. Participating programs included
Temple, Drexel, University of Pennsylvania and Jefferson. In
general, participation varied from 5 to 12 residents, the majority
was second and third year residents, most were interested in
subspecialty care and most were not current ACP members.
Overall, the majority of residents had heard about ACP but they
didn't know exactly what the benefits of membership were and what
the organization stood for compared to other organizations like the
AMA. Knowledge of the specific role of ACP in education and health
policy varied by institution. Among members, motivation to join
included presenting their research in the regional or national
conference and receiving discounts for the Medical Knowledge
Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP). Barriers to ACP membership
included cost, the perception that there was no added value to
membership (they can access the Annals of Internal Medicine at no
cost) and time constraints. In order to increase their involvement
in ACP, they suggested having an ambassador at each training
program that could disseminate updates about the organization.
They thought that getting generic emails are impersonal and they
generally don't read them. There was a moderately strong interest
for getting the ACP newsletter and getting bullets on health policy
updates. Some would be interested in Smart Phone Apps that easily
access their more specific needs. They also wanted to know more
about leadership day and the health policy internship.
Despite the majority of residents going into subspecialty
medicine, they voiced the need for stronger primary care and were
willing to advocate for that. For research, they didn't think that
learning about research opportunities nationally would be
interesting since they are bound to the Philadelphia area but if
ACP wanted resident involvement in the literature review process of
clinical guidelines, they would be interested to participate in
that. There were mixed feelings about having an online network of
ACP mentors that they could reach for advice: some felt that they
get appropriate mentorship in-house and that having an online
network of mentors is impersonal, others felt that it would be
helpful and suggested having the mentors by category (academic
medicine, private practice and government).
We welcome additional comments and suggestions. Please email
them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership Day is set for June 6-7, 2012. This
event gives us an opportunity to have our voices heard on Capitol
Hill. Dramatic changes in the Healthcare Reform Act are expected.
For an update on the status of reform, what the reform provisions
are and how they will impact you as a physician, simply visit the
Bob Doherty directs the College's advocacy
efforts on Capitol Hill and provides excellent insight into the
workings of the government. See a current
recap of the presidential candidates' positions on
Visiting Pennsylvania legislators during Leadership Day 2011
was a delegation from the ACP-PA chapter. Standing (left to right)
Representative Glenn GT Thompson, Pennsylvania 5th Congressional
District. Susan Borys, MD, FACP, Evan Pollack, MD, FACP and Larry
Jones, MD, FACP.
Dr. Borys works in the Congressman's district, so following her
visit to his office, he visited her clinic. Representative Thompson
is a former physical therapist and nursing home administrator from
On June 6, a delegation from the Pennsylvania Chapter will
travel to Washington, DC to participate in Leadership Day 2012.
The Pennsylvania Chapter sponsors THREE regional abstract
competitions that offer residents an opportunity to compete with
and meet their peers. In collaboration with his/her program
director, a resident may write an abstract on research, case study,
or quality improvement based on their experience. The abstracts
receive professional critiques and the best are presented as
posters at the annual Residents Day.
The East's Residents Day is set for October 6, 2012 at the
Wright Center for Graduate Education in Scranton. Residents who
want to submit an abstract must be a member of the ACP. All
residents who have provided the ACP with an email address will
receive emails about the 2012 abstract competition.
Last fall, 75 abstracts were submitted for review and 37 were
selected to be presented as posters. Eleven residents received
prize awards for their outstanding work and podium presenters
Dr. Julian Diaz Fraga and Dr. Joy
Montes were selected to present their posters at IM 2012
set for New Orleans on April 19, 20 and 21, 2012.
Residents Day is a challenging, fun and worthwhile experience.
We hope you will join us in Scranton on October 6, 2012. The
abstract competition is open to all residents who are ACP
Dr. Anthony Donato, ReadingDr. Cara Ruggeri, St. Luke'sDr. Carlos Acuna, Wright Center for Graduate
EducationDr. Dan Bucaliou, GeisingerDr. Dwight Stapleton, Packer/GuthrieDr. Edward Bollard, Penn State/HersheyDr. Gloria Fioravanti, St. Luke'sDr. Harvey Hakim, EastonDr. JayaKrishna Chintanaboina, Wright Center for
Graduate EducationDr. Jim Ross, Lehigh ValleyDr. John Blotzer, YorkDr. Mahesh Krishnamurthy, EastonDr. Martin Matsumura, Lehigh ValleyDr. Matthew Novak, Packer/GuthrieDr. Nicole Swallow, Penn State/HersheyDr. Rajinder Sahi, Pinnacle HealthDr. Rena Lambert, Lehigh ValleyDr. Richard Alweis, ReadingDr. Sandhya Samavedam, Wright Center for Graduate
EducationDr. Shadia Santos, GeisingerDr. Sharon Maynard, Lehigh Valley
Congratulations to the Albert Einstein Medical Jeopardy Team in
Philadelphia for winning the 2011 PA Medical Jeopardy championship
held in Hershey. They beat teams from Lehigh Valley Medical Network
and West Penn/Alleghany General on Dec. 3, and will compete in New
Orleans for the national title during IM 2012. Einstein has been to
the national tournament four times and has won three of those four
Presenting the newly implemented SE Regional Medical Jeopardy
Trophy is Chairman Dr. David Cohen (right) to
Dr. Glenn Eiger, IM Program Director for Einstein.
Team members are (left to right) Dr. Mahasweta Gooptu, Dr.
Praveen Ramakrishnan, Dr. Riyaj Kaskar (Team Coach),
Dr. Jedrzej Wykretowicz, Dr. Guillermo Garrido and
Associate Program Director Dr. Nina Mingioni. She
will chair the SE Competition November, succeeding Dr. Bill
Surkis and Dr. David Cohen.
Congratulations to All!
Geisinger Health System
Lehigh Valley Health Network
Packer - Guthrie
Penn State - Hershey
Reading Hospital and Medical Center
Wright Center for Graduate Education
The Eastern Region hosted an Internal Medicine Interest Group
Dinner at Penn State - Hershey. Standing left to right are IMIG
leaders and members Erica Bates, Ashley Weber, Sucharita Mukherjee,
Sheryl Purrier, Audrey Stokes and Kara Kwon
Charles Cutler MD, FACP (L) past Governor of the Southeast
region and Richard Simons, MD, FACP (R) past Governor of the
Eastern Region attended the Chapter Council meeting in December.
Dr. Cutler completed his term as Chairman of the Board of
Governors, ACP and is currently Chair-Elect Designee of the Chair
of Regents. Dr. Simon soon will receive a Mastership from the
Dan Kimball, MD, FACP (L) Governor of the Eastern Region chats
with Dennis Shaberg, MD, MACP and Eileen Moser, MD, FACP during the
Penn State/Hershey IMIG dinner.
Martin Evers, MD, FACP, moderating the PA-ACP statewide Medical
Jeopardy Competition held in Hershey. Dr. Evers often explains
relevant "teaching points" during these tournaments.
The Pennsylvania Chapter thanks Joseph M. Romano, MD,
FACP for recruiting his colleagues as part of ACP's
We are pleased to announce that our chapter received a Chapter
Excellence Award for 2011! It is presented to chapters that meet
all basic criteria and seven optional criteria. Criteria include
such activities as formulating an effective Governor's Council and
committees, communicating with members, providing educational
opportunities, recruiting and advancing members and celebrating
membership through local awards. The PA Chapter would like to
extend a special thank you to our active members! For your hard
work and dedication, we received this award.
At Internal Medicine 2011, ACP presented a John Tooker Evergreen
Award to our PA Chapter of the ACP. The Pennsylvania Chapter was
recognized for its recruiting initiatives at the Pri-Med Access
with ACP educational programs held in Pittsburgh and
The award provides recognition and visibility to those chapters
that have successfully implemented programs to increase membership,
improve communication, increase member involvement, enhance
diversity, foster careers in internal medicine and improve
management of the chapter.
An exceptional group of Pennsylvania physicians were honored for
their commitment, dedication and excellence in leadership and
service during the Pennsylvania Chapter's annual Awards Dinner held
at The Hershey Country Club on December 3, 2011.
Charles Cutler, MD, FACP
David L. George, MD, FACP
Keith T. Kanel, MD, MHCM
The Laureate is the highest honor awarded by
the Pennsylvania Chapter to its members. This year, Drs.
Charles Cutler, David George and Keith
Kanel were selected for a Laureate based on their
dedication and commitment to excellence in medicine, education and
Gerald P. Tracy, MD
Karl E. Bushman, MD, FACP
Michael Jay Korman, MD
Gerald P. Tracy, MD, FACP (East) was granted
the Pressman Award for distinguished service to Internal
Karl E. Bushman, MD, FACP (West), and
Michael Jay Korman (SE) received the Clinical
Practice Award in recognition of exceptional service to patients,
community and profession.
Richard J. Simons, MD, MACP
Douglas F. Clough, MD
Richard J. Simons, MD, MACP, immediate past
Governor of the Eastern Region, was recognized for his dedication
and commitment to the Pennsylvania Chapter and the ACP.
John Nikoloff, a founding partner and president
of ERG Partners, was recognized for his exceptional dedication,
vision and advocacy to our PA Chapter of the ACP. Mr. Nikoloff has
been a vital component of our state-wide advocacy for the past two
Douglas F. Clough, MD, FACP (West) was
recognized for his on-going leadership and grass-roots involvement
in advocacy activities.
Susan Borys, MD
Andrew Adams, MD
Last but not least, two members received special recognition for
their ongoing commitment to our Chapter. Susan Borys, MD,
FACP (East) for her legislative involvement on behalf of
patients and physicians in Pennsylvania and Andrew Adams,
MD, FACP (West) was recognized for his dedication to the
Western Region's Abstract and Poster competitions. Sincere
congratulations and thank you to all.