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June 2013 G. Alan Yeasted, MD, FACP, Governor

Greetings from Your Governor

Dr. Yeasted

Dear ACP Colleagues,

Well, spring has finally arrived and, in keeping with Nature’s annual awakening, the ACP in Western Pennsylvania has been just as active. In April, the ACP held its annual meeting in San Francisco. The educational opportunities were phenomenal, as always; and the opportunity to interact with colleagues from across the country was invaluable. On Friday night, as is our custom, we held a reception for the Pennsylvania and Delaware members which was very well attended and afforded a time for relaxation and fellowship.

On April 22nd we hosted a dinner for those interested in fellowship at the beautiful LeMont restaurant and had a very enthusiastic response. John Derrickson, our executive director, made an excellent presentation to the prospective Fellows. Hopefully, all of the participants will follow through and complete the application for the honor. One of the most heartening aspects of the dinner was to finally see the faces of the members I had known of for years, but had never met personally. As an added bonus, I received offers from ACP members to join the Pennsylvania council, which of course I gladly accepted.

One of the highlights of the new year, though, was our ACP dinner in Warren, PA held on May 23rd. This was a success because of the hard work of Paul Bialas, MD, FACP who called doctors from as far away as Kane, PA to come and “meet the ACP Governor”. Warren is a remarkably beautiful part of Northwestern Pennsylvania and the doctors I met were just as interesting. It was both educational and very enjoyable to hear the challenges faced by our colleagues working in a high quality, but more rural medical environment. They appropriately emphasized that the ACP cannot forget its responsibility to represent all physicians in our field and not just those from the academic centers. I assured them that I would continue to make that point at the national governors’ meetings.

You will note in the newsletter today that we had a record number of participants for Leadership Day in Washington, DC May 21st and 22nd. Leadership Day is an annual event at which our members interact with those who represent us in DC. Meeting with our representatives in Washington and Harrisburg is extremely important to our future as practicing physicians. Remember that no one else but you and the College understand and can communicate the physician challenges to those who formulate the laws, which can affect our future. Get involved! Don’t be shy about meeting your state and federal representatives. I can tell you from experience, they are more than happy to meet with physicians. Remember, no one else will do it for us.

Have a great and safe summer! Contact me at any time with your suggestions or comments.

Alan Yeasted
Governor, Western Region, PA-ACP


Have You Heard?

  • Highly Important Information: Proposed CME rules changes
  • RAC resolutions
  • The Western Region’s 2013 Poster Competition is November 2, 2013
    Planning for the Western Region’s annual abstract competition is underway. The annual Poster and Medical Jeopardy competition will be held at UPMC-Shadyside in Pittsburgh. All residents and medical students who are ACP members and have provided the ACP with an email address will receive information regarding the submission of abstracts and details regarding the Poster and Medical Jeopardy competitions.
    The Pennsylvania Chapter sponsors THREE regional abstract competitions offering residents and medical students an opportunity to compete with and meet their peers. In collaboration with their program directors, they can submit an abstract on research, case study, or quality improvement based on their experience. The abstracts receive professional critiques and the best are selected for presentation at the regional competition. Residents and students submitting abstracts must be members of the ACP.
  • ACP’s Special Interest Groups – an online forum for members only provides members with a place to engage in discussions, share ideas, and support one another professionally and personally. Join as many groups as you would like, then connect with ACP members from all over the world.
  • Because our SEP/MOC session enjoyed record attendance this year, the Pennsylvania Chapter will sponsor TWO sessions during the coming year. The first will be held at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital on Feb. 1, 2014 and Hershey Medical Center will host the second on March 15, 2014. Details will be emailed to members.
  • The national ACP has officially voted to change the name of the Council of Young Physicians to Early Career Physicians, which is defined as members within 16 years graduation from medical school. Your council will continue its effort to enhance the professional development of early career physicians.
  • There is no fee to become an ACP Medical Student Member. Join today, the price is right!

FYI! Here is a summary of upcoming important dates related to a variety of regulatory, payment, educational and delivery system changes and requirements.


Capitol Update by John Nikoloff


Legislative Update
Special Elections

House Democrats picked up two seats in special elections May 21 in Pittsburgh and York. After the elections, Republicans hold a 111-92 majority in the State House.

State Government

The month of June is always pressure packed when it comes to legislation, as the General Assembly must pass a balanced budget by June 30. Other major issues – this year including transportation funding, liquor reform, pension reform and Medicaid expansion become a part of the legislative wrangling.

The House Republican budget renews funding for several disease related programs in the Department of Health and funding for teaching hospitals that serve Medicaid patients. Senate Democrats have proposed their own budget that includes the costs of Medicaid expansion.

Acting Secretary of Health Michael Wolf, and the Governor’s nominee for Physician General Internist Carrie DeLone are continuing meetings with State Senators, as is his nominee for Secretary of Welfare, Beverly Mackereth. All require confirmation in the Senate before formally assuming these posts.

Health Care Legislation

Several health care related bills are moving through the legislative process, including several scope of practice bills impacting pharmacists, nurse practitioners, naturopaths and physicians assistants. The PA-ACP has supported legislation to allow PA’s to operate without daily oversight of records within a collaborative agreement or medical home team. At the same time, the College has come out in opposition to legislation to allow independent practice for advanced practice registered nurses, license naturopaths under the Board of Medicine, and allow pharmacists to provide immunizations for children.

Separate legislation to regulate tanning facilities and to implement the College has endorsed electronic prior approval processes for drugs for MA patients.

MA Expansion

PA-ACP continues to push the Commonwealth to support Medicaid expansion in the state under the Affordable Care Act, working with all four legislative caucuses, the Insurance Department, DPW and Governor’s Office. According to DPW an additional 643,000 Pennsylvania adults would qualify for Medicaid under expansion.

The state is in negotiations with the federal Department of Health and Human Services over issues involved with Medicaid expansion and its costs. A major issue is that the state levies a gross receipts tax on Medicaid managed care plans, and a tax on the net inpatient revenue of approximately 180 Pennsylvania health care facilities. Those two taxes yield approximately $1 billion annually, but HHS has not agreed to let Pennsylvania keep that tax. Without it, the cost for expansion would go up more than $2.5 billion in seven years…along with loss of those revenues.

Another major issue is disposition of children now enrolled in the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - HHS is saying those children who fall under 139 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines would not still be allowed to remain in CHIP if the state were to expand its Medicaid. The state faces expanded costs and possible disruption of care with children moving between CHIP and MA on a monthly basis.

Federal Legislation Introduced

On May 23, Congressmen Joe Heck (NV-03) and Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) introduced H.R. 2165 to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in the event of a full repeal of that bill. The legislation, the Ensuring Quality Health Care for All Americans Act, has been referred to Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The Heck/Fitzpatrick bill would keep in place the following provisions in the event of a full repeal of the health care law:

  • Provide individuals with pre-existing conditions the opportunity to purchase affordable health insurance coverage,
  • Give Americans, who currently have health insurance the guaranteed ability to renew policies that work best for them,
  • Place prohibitions on rescissions to ensure that patients who have paid their premiums can count on their policy coming through when they get sick,
  • Establish a limited grant program to give states the ability to work with insurers to develop targeted solutions to address the needs of high-risk populations, and
  • Give families flexibility by extending dependent coverage to age 26, with reasonable limitations to prevent abuse.


Leadership Day

The 21st annual ACP Leadership Day on Capitol Hill was held May 21-22 at the new Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C. Leadership Day enabled the College to increase its presence on Capitol Hill and bring our issues to the attention of U.S. lawmakers. We had a motivated and engaged delegation assisting in our advocacy efforts.

PA-ACP 2013 Delegation and Region

Aditya Sharma, MD, PA Eastern
Amy Davis, DO, PA Southeastern
Arnold Eiser, MD, PA Southeastern
Darilyn Moyer, MD, PA Southeastern
Gela Mchedlishvili, MD, PA Eastern
Greg Kane, MD, PA Southeastern
James Walter, MD, PA Southeastern
Jeffrey Jaeger, MD, PA Southeastern
Larry Jones, MD, PA Eastern
Larry Ward, MD, PA Southeastern
Ralph Schmeltz, MD, PA Western
Susan Borys, MD, PA Eastern

Residents and Students

Carolyn Wu, PA Southeastern
David Lo, PA Western
Eric Jung, PA Eastern
Furqan Khattak, MD, PA Western
Gabriela Grinblat, PA Southeastern
Harrison Kalodimos, PA Southeastern
Jonathan Gotfried, MD, PA Southeastern
Katherine Clark, PA Southeastern
Kelly Kalovcak, PA Eastern
Kurt Hauber, PA Eastern
Michelle Matzko, PA Eastern
Preyanka Makadia, PA Southeastern

The two-day event provided ACP members with advocacy and media training, an update on the College's priority legislative issues, briefings by members of Congress, administration officials, and key Capitol Hill staffers, and an opportunity to meet with our state's elected officials and their Legislative Director and Legislative Aides for Health.

2013 ACP Priority Issues
  • Support for programs that are critically important to ensuring a sufficient supply of physicians (particularly primary care internal medicine specialists and internal medicine subspecialties facing shortages
  • Eliminating Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and transitioning to new value-based payment models
  • Replacing sequestration cuts and preventing future disruptions in funding for critical health care, by enacting fiscally—and socially—responsible alternatives that reduce unnecessary health care spending
  • Enacting meaningful medical liability reforms, including pilot testing of health courts


Dr. Arnold R. Eiser Recognized as Advocate for Internal Medicine


Arnold R. Eiser, MD, FACP, Internal Medicine Residency Director and Vice-President Medical Education at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Philadelphia, received ACP’s Special Recognition as an “Advocate for Internal Medicine” for 2013. In addition to chairing our HPPC, Dr. Eiser is Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean at Drexel University College of Medicine.

He was recognized for his exceptional efforts in support of ACP’s advocacy program. Recipients are selected based on the quality and quantity of responses to ACP’s Legislative Alerts and other federal grassroots advocacy initiatives. The Award was presented during the ACP Leadership Day Program in Washington, DC. Congratulations, Arnie!


Convocation 2013 – A Memorable Event

The Convocation of the American College of Physicians is an annual event that recognizes new Fellows and the recipients of various honors. At the Convocation ceremony in San Francisco, 20 Pennsylvania physicians were inducted as ACP Fellows and recognized for their medical scholarship and achievement. Congratulations is extended to all our new Fellows.


Joining Governor G. Alan Yeasted, MD, FACP following the ceremony is Narendra S. Bhagwandien, MD, FACP (L) ) from Erie.

(Left to Right) Antonio Riccelli, MD, FACP, G. Alan Yeasted, MD, FACP (Governor), and Virginia Calega, MD, FACP.


Congratulations New Fellows!

We proudly announce the newest group of new Fellows in the Western Region.

Champa D. Abeysinghe, MD FACP, State College
Jose I. Christlieb, MD FACP, Greensburgh
Mary Chester M. Wasko, MD FACP, Pittsburgh
Rajinder K. Pabla-Sahi, MD FACP, Mechanicsburg
Raquel A. Buranosky, MD FACP, Pittsburgh
Scott R. Herrle, MD FACP, Pittsburgh


Warren Internists Attend FACP Orientation Dinner

Dr. Alan Yeasted, Governor, Western Region, hosted an FACP informational dinner to assist attendees on the path to fellowship. Dr. Paul Bialas, MD, standing in center, and Dr. M. Nawaz Suddle (R) chat with guests during the Warren dinner.

Front row (L to R) are FACP dinner attendees Alan Yeasted, Paul Bialas, Susan Panah, Anita Herbert, Dale McNett. Rear row (L to R) Nichole Bialas Harrison, Lee Denlinger, Ann Rassiga, Mohammed Suddle, and Alex Strassburg. Another orientation dinner will be held later in the year, so watch your email for information.


Fifth National Win for Einstein’s Medical Jeopardy Team

Congratulations to the Einstein Medical Jeopardy Team for winning the ACP’s National Doctor’s Dilemma Championship. This was the second consecutive win and the fifth Overall win for Einstein!


Western Governor Presents University of Pittsburgh 2013 ACP Awards

Dr. Alan Yeasted (L), Tao Liu (C) and Erin Nuzzo (R)

One of Dr. Alan Yeasted’s most enjoyable tasks as ACP Western Governor is the presentation of the ACP Award at the University of Pittsburgh’s medical graduation ceremony.

Annually, the Department of Medicine recognizes two students who earned an Honors grade in Adult Inpatient Medicine Clerkship, an Honors grade in Internal Medicine Acting Internship and plan to go into Internal Medicine.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients Tao Liu and Erin Nuzzo!


IM 2013 - A Med Student’s Perspective

By Stephanie E. Dreifuss, MD, Candidate, Class of 2014, UPMC

I first joined ACP early in my third year of medical school before starting my Internal Medicine clerkship, because I knew that the educational resources and regular newsletters would contribute to my learning and success on the clerkship. I was pleasantly surprised to find even more enrichment opportunities than I had originally anticipated.

Last November, I participated in the ACP Regional Abstract Competition for medical students and residents. This April, at the ACP National Meeting, I enjoyed a similarly humbling and enriching experience, but on a much larger scale. This competition allowed me to highlight research that I had conducted and interesting patients whom I had encountered. Furthermore, I was able to practice my oral presentation skills, learn from the posters of other individuals, and meet other medical students and residents. I spoke with medical students from schools across the country about their poster presentations, their medical school experiences, and their paths to the ACP conference. Furthermore, the opportunity to learn from physicians across disciplines will be invaluable to me as I continue my training.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to gain knowledge and make connections at Internal Medicine 2013. It was a privilege to enjoy an experience of this magnitude and value so early in my medical career.


PA’s Residents and Students Compete at ACP National Meeting

We were honored to have 45 chapter members represent our chapter for the Associate and Medical Students Abstract Competition held during Internal Medicine 2013. Here is a listing of all national presenters.

Kudos to the three Pennsylvania ACP National poster winners. Shailendra Singh, MD (PAS) a winner in the Associate Clinical Research category, Shakira J. Grant, MBBS (PAS) also won in the Associate Clinical Research category, and Lolita S. Nidadavolu (PAW), a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine student, was a Clinical Vignette category winner.

Pictured below are some of the PAW presenters during the poster judging.

Stephanie Dreifuss, UPMC, third year student at University of Pittsburg School of Medicine, chatting with the judges. Stephanie had three posters accepted into the National competition and was also invited to give an oral presentation

Saveri Bhattacharya, MD, UPMC–Shadyside, Pittsburgh


Strengthen Our Chapter: Participate in ACP’s Recruit-a-Colleague Chapter Rewards Program!

The American College of Physicians and the Pennsylvania Chapter encourages all members to help strengthen our chapter by recommending ACP membership to colleagues. By joining the College, your colleagues will enrich their clinical knowledge and skills and have access to all of the ACP member benefits that you enjoy.

To thank you for your dedication to our organization, ACP offers incentives to members and their chapters that recruit new members through the Recruit-a-Colleague Chapter (RACC) Rewards Program.

As with the national Recruit-a-Colleague Program, the RACC Program rewards successful individual recruiters with dues credits for each new full Member or Physician Affiliate member recruited and a chance to win a trip to the annual Internal Medicine meeting. In addition, the RACC Program also provides rewards to the recruiters’ chapters, including funding for chapter activities and complimentary registrations to the annual Internal Medicine meeting.

The Recruit-a-Colleague Chapter Rewards Program runs annually from April 1 through March 15.

To participate, simply forward to your colleagues the membership application. To qualify for the program, your name must be listed on the recruiter line of the application, and the form must include the code RACC.

The Pennsylvania Chapter appreciates the effort of the following members in recruiting their colleagues and assisting the Chapter to grow.

Thank You!

Patrick C. Alguire, MD, FACP
Paul A. Bialas, MD, FACP
Charles Cutler, MD, FACP
Gloria T. Fioravanti, DO, FACP
Sivakoti N. Guda, MBBS, FACP
Oladoye Oludotun Kehinde, MBBS, FACP
Rebecca M. Maury, MD, FACP
Suzanne J. Templer, DO
Lawrence D. Ward, MD, MPH, FACP


Welcome Aboard New Members!

The Western Region is happy to welcome eight new members who joined the Chapter since our last newsletter. We are looking forward to meeting you and invite you to join us at the various events and programs planned for this year.

Christina S. Armanious, MD, Pittsburgh
Diane M. Buchbarker, MD, Kittanning
Ernest R. Vina, MD, Pittsburgh
James B. Minshull, MD, Jackson Center
John Gill, DO, Munhall
Kartik Singh, MD, Jefferson Hills
Milind Kumar Sinha, MD, Monroeville
Rama G. Muppalla, MD, Reedsville



Who: All Western Region Residents and Student Members
What: Call for Abstracts! Categories are clinical vignettes,Quality improvement projects and clinical research projects. Word limit is 250 excluding titles and author names.
When: Abstract submissions can be entered on the website beginning July 25. Deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM August 25, 2013. NO EXCEPTIONS!
Where: Poster Competition will be held at UPMC-Shadyside in Pittsburgh.
Date: Saturday, November 2, 2013

Note: Residents and students must be members of the ACP to submit an abstract. Join today! There is no charge. For additional information.


PA Chapter Calendar of Events

July 2013 – May 2014
September 7 Council Meeting Harrisburg
September 11 PAS Program Director's Dinner Meeting Manayunk, Philadelphia
October 26 SE Poster & Medical Jeopardy Competition AEMC, Philadelphia
November 2 West Poster & Medical Jeopardy Competition UPMC-Shadyside, Pittsburgh
November 9 East Poster & Medical Jeopardy Competition TCMC, Scranton
December 7 Medical Jeopardy State Finals Hershey Country Club, Hershey
December 7 Council Meeting Hershey Country Club, Hershey
December 7 Awards Dinner Hershey Country Club, Hershey
February 1 SEP-MOC Jefferson, Philadelphia
March 15 SEP-MOC Penn State-Hershey Medical Center
Mar (TBA) Student Health Policy Symposium Temple, Philadelphia
May 21-22 Leadership Day Washington, DC