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Dr. Mark Belknap, MD, FACP, ACP Governor, Wisconsin Chapter
While it is spring by the calendar, where I live and at this writing we are still waiting for weather that is recognizable as being spring-like. I like winter, but I'm looking forward to the change in seasons.
The annual meeting, being held in Boston this year, is coming up soon. The dates are April 28- May 2. I'm hoping that many of you will be able to attend this very high quality meeting. 2015 marks ACP's 100th anniversary, and the meeting will include special centennial events. Several of our members will be participating in the convocation ceremony as new fellows, and Dr. Sharon Haase will be honored as a new Master from our chapter.
1 Marina Park Drive
Boston, MA 02210
Our Wisconsin Chapter reception will be held on Thursday, April 30th from 8PM-10:30PM at Strega, which is a restaurant near to the Boston Convention Center meeting site. The reception is a chance to get together with colleagues from around the state, to renew old friendships and to meet new acquaintances, and to do this in a relaxed, welcoming environment. We always have a good turnout of practicing physicians and residents from Wisconsin, as well as a few who drop by who have roots in Wisconsin.
On March 26, the U.S. House passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2), which repeals the sustainable growth rate once and for all. Unfortunately, the Senate recessed the next day without dealing with this legislation, so, as of April 1, a 21% cut of all Medicare claims went into effect. This cut will be reversed retroactively as the Senate passed an identical Senate version of the bill on April 14, shortly after it returned from recess. President Obama has very likely signed the legislation by the time that you read this newsletter. Repeal of the SGR has been a priority of ACP's, and nearly all of medicine, for more than a decade. Physicians and their patients no longer will have to be concerned with impending yearly payment cuts as a result of the flawed SGR formula and no longer will this burden of uncertainty be hanging over physician practices. Equally important, the legislation provides strong incentives for physicians to engage in activities to improve quality; streamlines existing quality reporting programs; and provides additional support to physicians who participate in Patient-Centered Medical Homes, and other alternative payment models, shown to improve outcomes and the effectiveness of care provided. Here are further details on the legislation. You can also view other materials under the Advocacy tab on the ACP website.
For a review of ACP's current top health care issues, please go to the State of the Nation's Health Care on the ACP website.
This has been prepared to be a concise guide for members of Congress and their staff, the news media, and other interested persons on the six top health care issues affecting our members and their patients.
As mentioned in previous newsletters, another good ongoing source regarding current ACP advocacy issues is The ACP Advocate. The most recent issue at the time of this writing had articles on the current estimates of enrollees in health plans during the recent open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, a discussion of a new report by the Association of American Medical Colleges regarding the pending shortage of physicians in primary care (of which many of us are already painfully aware), and a report of the collaboration of ACP with other professional medical societies and the American Bar Association to promote the idea that gun violence, firearm-related injuries, and deaths are major public health problems.
Several ACP members participated in the Wisconsin Medical Society Doctor Day on March 11. Over 250 physicians participated in the event. They had an opportunity to be updated on current health care-related legislative issues in Wisconsin, hear from Governor Walker and key legislative leaders, and advocate to their legislators and staff regarding these issues.
There has been further movement on this issue since I wrote on it in the ACP Wisconsin Chapter Badger Beat in February. In case you didn't receive these communications already, please see the attached letter from Dr. Steve Weinberger, CEO of ACP, and the follow up letter from ABIM.
Letter from Dr. Weinberger
Follow-up Letter from ABIM
As the letters indicate, we can expect further developments in this ongoing issue which is of considerable importance to most of us.
The State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services has asked that this memo be forwarded to ACP member to make you aware of this initiative and of the availability of Tdap vaccinations through county health departments in Wisconsin and of the coverage of Tdap by some part D plans. Please take a moment to read the memo.
Please set aside time now to join your colleagues from around the state in attending the annual scientific meeting which will again be held at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. This an opportunity to attend a meeting close to home, participate in a high quality continuing medical education event, and meet your colleagues from around the state. This year the dates are September 11-12.
The physician director of this offering, Dr. Shailendra Patel, has asked me to inform you of this conference, Diabetes Update, to be held by the Medical College of Wisconsin on May 14-15. If interested, read this brochure.