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June 2012 S. Clark Fincher, MD, FACP, ACP Governor

From the Governor

Dr. S. Clark Fincher

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As promised, this is the mid-year Governor’s Newsletter. I had intended to pen this update just after IM 2012 but family issues prevented me from attending IM ’12 and the Board of Governors’ meeting held the same week as well. Nevertheless, there are several things to report to you and I’ll attempt to do so at this time.

IM ’12 was, from all accounts, another great meeting of internists. There is so much to see and learn at this meeting. I encourage you all to participate next year if you possibly can. It will be held in San Francisco. One of our newly elected Fellows, Dr. Abhishek Agarwal marched in convocation. Dr. Bob Hopkins marched with him in my absence. Dr. Agarwal’s wife, Dr. Meghana Bansal, presented her poster which won first prize in our residents’ competition last fall and she won first place nationally! Our sincere congratulations to Dr. Bansal for this great honor.

The Arkansas Chapter Governor’s Council met by teleconference on June 21. Salient features of this meeting include:

  1. Appointment of Dr. Allison Johnson, MD to the council
  2. Chapter membership is stable but there are challenges in maintaining dues-paying members which must be addressed to continue to have a vibrant chapter. This was addressed by appointing a new standing committee on membership to be chaired by Dr. Curt Hedberg. Dr. Allison Johnson will also serve on the committee. Offers of assistance or ideas for improving in this area and the area of meeting attendance should be addressed to Curt. I plan to increase focus and disseminate information on the many ways that ACP enhances the practices and lives of internists. Our current membership total is 568, including students and residents.
  3. Financially, we are in great shape with resources on hand that exceed those recommended by ACP for a chapter our size. Our income over the past year has slightly exceeded our expenses. There is no current plan to increase dues or fees at the state level. We are currently considering wise ways to spend some of these funds. One example is to hire an Executive Director who would spend more time assisting the council in organizing chapter activities and providing longitudinal experience in chapter business. ACP provides funds to us for this purpose, but only if we use them to compensate such an “employee”. We are looking into the specifics of this and will know more soon.
  4. Dr. Covey updated us on plans for our chapter meeting to be held this fall on October 12 and 13 at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock on Chenal. The program and speakers are essentially set and it looks to be another excellent program, full of practical and cutting edge information. We will again distribute flash drives which will contain all the lecture slides so that you may review them after the meeting at your leisure. Bring your old one if you have it and we will load it on that one to save resources. There will be time for networking and social interaction as well as the Awards Banquet on Saturday night where the winner of the Abernathy Laureate Award and the New Volunteerism Award will be announced. Where else, I ask you, for $100 can one get 14 hours of CME, two “free” lunches, and good times with old and new friends? Nowhere!
  5. If you have opened my recent e-mails you know that the Federal Government’s CMS-Center for Innovation has a new project going called CPC-I, the Comprehensive Patient Care Initiative. Arkansas is one of seven states chosen as “test states” for this new initiative. It is a program which, in exchange for certain activities by primary care practices, will pay a “per member per month” fee for every Medicare and Medicaid patient in an eligible practice. Current numbers being discussed are $20 PMPM for MC and $4 PMPM for MA. Private insurers are also participating in the range of $5 PMPM and include Blue Cross, Qual Choice and possibly Humana. This link will take you to a site which outlines the rules and regs of the program, but Dr. Stacy Zimmerman has agreed to be our chapter’s representative at upcoming webinars and will both represent our members’ concerns and report back to us pertinent information which we will share with you as deemed appropriate. We are cautiously optimistic that this program is something we can recommend, but much will depend on the amount of paper work and other things required in exchange for the extra money. Thank you Stacy for you willingness to help on this! This program is for primary care practices only and EMR at some level is required.
  6. We are now officially seeking nominations for both the Robert Shields Abernathy Award bestowed to the Arkansas internist who most closely displays the characteristics of the ideal physician and who has distinguished him or herself in the field of medicine in an exemplary fashion. This could be in teaching, research, private practice, lifetime achievement or other areas. Chapter involvement is a definite plus. Please send your nomination, along with a supporting letter, to me for the Awards Committee to consider by July 25, 2012.
  7. We have also instituted a new Volunteerism Award to be given annually to the Arkansas internist who has excelled in the area of volunteering his or her time to the benefit of others above and beyond the normal demands of practice. Nominations are open for this award as well and should be sent to me with a supporting letter by July 25 as well.
  8. Our medical student group, now led by Aaron Strobel and our Associate (resident) group, led by Dr. Kevin Flinn continue to be active and membership in those organizations is strong.
  9. Politically, we continue to lobby for permanent relief from the ever-looming SGR cuts to our compensation. No permanent solution is currently in sight and will likely not even be considered until after November. In association with the Arkansas Medical Society, Dr. Omar Atiq has lobbied our entire national delegation in Washington to ask for relief from the onerous “Gypsy” rule, which gives Arkansas the lowest geographical modifier for reimbursement from federal programs of any state in the country. We receive sympathy, but so far no relief in that arena. Thanks to Omar for his efforts. We continue to encourage all members to be politically active. If you have interaction with state or national politicians and discuss positions in line with ACP, please let me know so that we can document those efforts. Political focus seems to be currently diverted to the presidential election upcoming and the impact it will have on the fate of the ACA.
  10. Our chapter strives to achieve recognition each year by meeting criteria for the “Chapter Excellence Award”. We are on track to meeting those criteria and I hope to be able to report soon that we have succeeded.
  11. The Annual Reading Retreat was held in May at the Red Apple Inn on Eden Isle in Heber Springs, AR. Again, an excellent mix of medical and non-medical literature was reviewed and discussed. Attendance was good and our thanks again go to Drs. Taylor Prewitt and Todd Stewart for doing all the work to make this opportunity possible for our members. Plans for next year are already underway.

In thinking of next year, we are likely going to try something different. Our faithful members from Jonesboro have graciously offered to host the meeting and plan the scientific program next year. We have never had the meeting in that sector of the state and I think it would be fun to do so. I’ll give them one last chance to demur, but, barring any significant objections from members, that will be our plan for 2013.

As always, any ideas or criticisms on how to improve our chapter are coveted and may be addressed to me at the following e-mail address: sccfff@gmail.com or feel free to call my cell at 501-827-2150.

Hope to see you all in October!


Welcome New Fellows!

We recognize and congratulate all members who were elected to Fellowship in the College in the past six months.

Allison M. Johnson, MD, FACP, Fayetteville
Shagufta P. Siddiqui, MD, FACP, Little Rock

If you are interested in Fellowship, please contact the Governor review the various pathways to Fellowship online.


Welcome New Members!

These physicians from Arkansas were elected to ACP membership in the past six months. We hope that you will join us at our various events and educational programs. We look forward to meeting you!

Ahmed Y. M. Abuabdou, MBBS, Little Rock
Amy K. Ashwood, MD, Hot Springs National
Fawad Aslam, MBBS, Little Rock
Shebli Atrash, MD, Little Rock
Sonal T. Bhakta, MD, Springdale
Neeraj Bharany, Hot Springs
Michael A Bolding, DO, Fayetteville
Faiza Chaudhry, Jonesboro
Robin G. Devan, MD, Little Rock
Richard E. Eccles, MD, Booneville
Daniel C. Goodwin, MD, Mountain Home
Chaitanya K. Musham, MBBS, Little Rock
Bijay Prabihakaran Nair, MD, Little Rock
Sara Nehring, DO, Jonesboro
Sunil Pokharel, MD, Conway
Tobias Jay Vancil, Little Rock
Joseph G. Wyble, MD, Little Rock


Contact Information

Omar Atiq, MD, FACP, Governor, Arkansas Chapter

Donna Seawards, Arkansas Executive Director