Tennessee Governor's Newsletter April 2023

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Catherine R. Womack, MD, FACP, ACP Governor

Catherine R. Womack, MD, FACP, ACP Governor


Governor's Message

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all are doing well. There has been a lot of activity in our chapter since the last newsletter. We have had our scientific meeting and have planned our meeting for 2023. We will be hosting our meeting in Franklin, TN on October 21-22. We will again have the pain management mandatory continuing education training on Saturday, so please go ahead and save that date on your calendar to ensure that you meet our state's requirement for training. Dr. Parul Goyal did an amazing job planning the meeting, and I want to thank her and her team.

I certainly have enjoyed being your Governor. Zoom meetings have allowed us to keep in touch, but I am very glad that we have also been able to have some events in person again. I would love to participate with you in a local meeting, and I hosted one at my house last month. We are planning more local meetings across the state and will share further details as they are put in place.

I think about the last couple of years and am glad that we have mostly weathered the COVID-19 pandemic. I know it has been very hard on all of us but some worse than others. Many physicians have retired, and more are burned out. I am very concerned that there are serious problems ahead for us with Medicare funding. The Medicare issues may worsen morale and move others toward retirement. We all know it is important for us to provide high quality care. We will be unable to accomplish this if reimbursements decline or do not keep pace with inflation. I have included information in the newsletter about these cuts and how ACP is working hard to prevent them. I know that ACP membership affords us the ability to be represented at the national level to discuss these and other issues important to us and our patients. We must have our views represented and our ACP leaders in Washington, D.C. are keeping abreast of the situation. Again, further information will be provided to you as it is available. I know that you appreciate all the wonderful things that ACP has available for your membership, but I urge you to review the website and work with local members to assure that all our Internal Medicine physicians feel supported whether it is through evidence-based information or wellness. So many things are available, and I have very much enjoyed listening to the podcasts about the history of medicine and core internal medicine topics with CME and MOC credit. Podcast link

It is hard for me to believe it is time to plan for the next Tennessee ACP Governor to succeed me. A committee has been formed and please let us know about wonderful candidates in your part of our great state. We will hold the election and the winning candidate will serve a one-year term as Governor Elect and then serve a four-year term as Governor. See the below information.

Lastly, we need your help mentoring the next generation of Internal Medicine physicians. We will be reaching out to our residents and students to see who needs mentorship. Please email me if you are interested in participating. Our committees have been active and would love for you to be involved. The list is here-Volunteerism, Health and Public Policy, Membership, Early Career Physician and Awards committees. We will soon be calling for nominations for our chapter awards for the Fall. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have someone in your community who stands out, so we can celebrate them.

Take care.

Catherine Womack



Potential ACP Governor-elect Candidates

Nominations Due by April 12, 2023

The ACP national office is conducting a Governor-elect election for our chapter this year. The Local Nominations Committee is responsible for identifying up to two candidates who are willing and able to serve a 4-year term (April 2025-April 2029), in addition to a year of training as Governor-elect (April 2024-April 2025).

We are looking for a dynamic leader who exhibits integrity, shows commitment to the College, and demonstrates dedication to the Chapter and the medical community. The successful candidate will work with our Chapter members locally and with leaders in internal medicine at the national level. The Governor typically spends several hours per week on College business with the support of administrative staff. Serving as an ACP Governor can be an extremely rewarding and life-changing experience. Only ACP MACPs and FACPs are eligible for consideration. Click here to view the Governor Job Responsibilities



ACP Internal Medicine Meeting in San Diego

Experience the most comprehensive internal medicine learning event, live from San Diego April 27-29, 2023! There's never been a better time to reconnect with your colleagues and experience three days of valuable, timely content you rely on to stay current in internal medicine.

ACP's annual Internal Medicine Meeting is the premier internal medicine scientific event, offering more than 200 educational sessions over 3 days. A variety of learning experiences are available as well as opportunities to network with colleagues around the globe—more than 7,000 internists and subspecialists attend each year. Pre-courses take place prior to the main session, offering intensive 1-2 day sessions on a particular topic. Get full details here.

For those of you that have already registered or plan to attend the Internal Medicine Meeting in San Diego, we would like to invite you to a complementary reception. Please join us for our Annual Spring Reception. This year we are co-hosting with the Georgia and North Carolina Chapters.

Where: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Date: Friday, April 28, 2023
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m. PDT

Please use this link to RSVP.



Medicare Cuts and How Important It Is to Represent Independent Physicians

On February 4, 2022 ACP issued a statement that they are deeply opposed to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommendation to freeze Medicare physician payments for 2023 and will devote much of its energy over the next year to advocating against this move. “MedPAC's recommended plan would jeopardize access to primary care physicians and could create access problems for other specialties. In effect, a freeze on payment rates would amount to a payment cut when inflation is factored in. According to research from the American Medical Association, physician payments over the past 19 years have not kept pace with practice expenses or the Consumer Price Index.”



2022 TN Chapter Meeting

Our speakers were fantastic, and we had an amazing meeting with presentations from dynamic physicians. Take a few moments to enjoy some photos from the session.

We were very fortunate to have Sue Bornstein, MD, MACP, Chair of the ACP Board of Regents, attend our meeting.


L to R: Dr. Parul Goyal, Dr. Maria Tudor, Dr. Mukta Panda, and Dr. Sue Bornstein

Doctor's Dilemma

Dr. Maria Tudor and our Early Career Physician Leaders Dr. Carrie Stallings and Dr. Photios Vassilyadi produced evidence-based questions with the UTHSC-Memphis team winning it all. They will compete at the National ACP meeting in April. Doctor's Dilemma winners were from UTHSC in Memphis.


Drs. Abdulaziz Asbeutah , Hira Imran, Pavel Aksionav

Our reception Friday night was well attended. We were also pleased to present several chapter awards to deserving chapter members at the lunch session.


Drs. Kevin Smith, Sue Bornstein and Rob Means


Dr. Ben Maddox- Early Career Physician, Dr. Mukta Panda and Dr. Desiree Burroughs-Ray, Woman Physician of the Year Award


Dr. Steve Hegedus - Chapter Service Award, Catherine Womack, Dr. Parul Goyal, Laureate Award, Dr. Catherine Clarke- Distinguished Teacher/Mentor Award

Not pictured:

Shirin Mazumder – Volunteerism Award
Eva Ingram – Resident of the Year
Kai Ming Tan – Medical Student Scholarship Award

We also had a well-attended poster session with judging led by Dr. Steve Hegedus. Winners listed below:

Poster Competition

Resident/Fellow Winners

1st Place

Taylor Chaney, DO, University of Tennessee Medical Center
Patients' Perspectives to Advance Directives in a Resident Training Primary Care Clinic

2nd Place

Nancy Jhanji, DO, Erlanger Medical Center University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga
Chronic Eosinophillic Pneumonia as a Cause of Respiratory Failure

Medical Student Winners

1st Place

Graham Treasure, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Effectiveness of Consolidated EHR Imaging History at Reducing Unnecessary CT Abdominal/Pelvic Scans Among High-Need Population

2nd Place

Kayla Taylor, ETSU Quillen College of Medicine
Pulmonary Hypertension: A Risk Factor for Pericardial Decompression Syndrome

Take a few moments to enjoy some additional photos .



Spring 2023 Health & Public Policy Report

With our state legislature in session, it has been a busy time for the Health and Public Policy Committee. As in previous years, legislation filed that might support ACP positions on firearm safety, reproductive rights, preventive care funding, Medicaid expansion, and many other issues that might improve Tennessee's health care has been almost non-existent. The March 7 TMA Day on the Hill was an attempt to persuade legislators to support legislation friendly to our cause -- including a bill to clarify the all-important felony issue in the present abortion trigger law that went into effect when Roe vs. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. This event was attended by numerous TNACP members, including Drs. Kevin Smith, Catherine Womack, Dan Duzan, Mukta Panda and a refreshingly large number of internal medicine and meds/peds residents and medical students! Thank you again for your participation!

In just a few weeks the TMA House of Delegates will meet. The all-day event will occur on April 15 at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin. Resolutions from TNACP have been filed to improve women's healthcare, to support ACIP vaccination recommendations, and to increase the tax on tobacco products – with that tax money to be used for preventive care across the state. Perhaps more important than a resolution is a relationship. We need TNACP members to reach out to state legislators – whether it be through conversations over coffee, or on the pickle ball court. If you can gain the trust of that legislator, then he might learn to trust you and ACP as a source for reliable honest healthcare information. Background information on your legislator is available online through the Tennessee Legislature app. The well-written and well-referenced ACP position papers available online are a treasure trove for persuasive discussion. Please consider becoming a TNACP Key Contact by joining the Advocates for Internal Medicine Network.

Also, here is the link for issues and where ACP stands: ACP Advocacy – Where We Stand. Note that your Governor has received your thoughts on the proposed resolutions being presented in San Diego and is posting your responses on LeaderNet to aid in the discussion.

If in the past you have enjoyed your experiences with Healthcare Advocacy, then you may want to consider the ACP Leadership Day event in May, with a day of intense legislative education and networking followed by a day of visiting our senators and congressmen in Washington. Further information is available here. If you are interested in attending, please contact us ASAP at tmaregion2@bellsouth.net.



Congratulations to Our New ACP Fellows and Masters

Elected since July 2022

New Masters

G. Nicholas Verne, MD, MACP
Ryan D. Mire, MD, MACP

New Fellows

Gail K. Berntson, MD, FACP
Desiree Burroughs-Ray, MD, FACP
Shubha Chatra, MD, FACP
Brian D. Cromwell, MD, FACP
Praveen Dandamudi, MD, FACP
Mike Davis, MD, FACP
Jason J. Della Vecchia, MD, FACP
Christina Fiske, MD, MPH, FACP
Christin M. Giordano, MD, FACP
Spencer D. Gregg, MD, FACP
Taylor D. Jenkins, MD, FACP
Michael Kopstein, DO, FACP
Jiten P. Kothadia, MD, FACP
Brock T. Mitchell, MD, FACP
Wesley Phillips, MD, FACP
Virin Ramoutar, MD, FACP
Gina M. Raymond, MD, FACP
Muinat A. Taiwo, MBChB, FACP
Laura B. Youngblood, MD, FACP

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have ideas or suggestions related to engaging our Internal Medicine physicians.