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Board of Governors discusses issues including recertification, chiropractors

From the May 2001 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright 2001 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

By Phyllis Maguire

Atlanta—At a meeting before Annual Session, the College’s Board of Governors reviewed a wide range of issues, including the College’s relationship with the American Board of Internal Medicine and chiropractors’ scope of practice.

During the meeting’s most impassioned debate, several Governors spoke about the College’s support for the concept of recertification. “Even if we agree with the need for recertification, much depends on how it is done,” said Faith T. Fitzgerald, MACP, Governor for the Northern California Chapter, whose comments echoed the majority of opinions expressed. “It can’t proceed by penalizing young physicians and removing them from time spent with patients.”

The Governors supported a resolution calling for the Board of Regents to reexamine the College’s relationship with the ABIM including—but not limited to—the need for formal representation to the ABIM to resolve current differences. (For more on the College’s actions on recertification, see here.)

In a resolution about the scope of practice of nonphysicians, the Governors asked the Regents to recommend that the College’s Health and Public Policy Committee consider developing a position paper on chiropractor scope of practice that could serve as a basis for College advocacy efforts.

Another resolution called on the Regents to charge manufacturers and distributors of influenza vaccine, as well as government agencies, to ensure that adequate vaccine supplies are available to health care providers prior to distribution to other parties. The resolution was drafted in response to vaccine shortages experienced last fall—and the fact that vaccines ended up going to other practitioners before physicians.

“It seemed like hairstyling boutiques and auto shops were using vaccines as marketing tools, while we couldn’t get them,” said Georgia Governor Joseph W. Stubbs, FACP. “We need to make sure that physicians are the ones who can deliver vaccines.”

In reimbursement—related actions, the Governors voted to recommend that the Regents work with all third-party payers to include medically indicated screening colonoscopies as a covered benefit. Another resolution called on the Regents to join forces with the oncology community to secure appropriate reimbursement from HCFA and HHS for oncology services.

Several approved resolutions were designed to enhance Associate membership and participation. One called on the Regents to consider reduced dues for Associates and for Members in their first eight years of practice. Another asked Regents to waive all registration fees for Associates chosen by their chapters to participate in formal competitions at Annual Session. A third resolved that the Regents suggest developing a mechanism to publish Associates’ Annual Session abstracts as a supplement to the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In other actions, the Governors asked the Regents to join with the AMA to oppose any move to open the National Practitioner Data Bank contents to the public. Another resolution called on the Regents to work with the Association of American Medical Colleges to quantify the financial distress of internal medicine and its subspecialty departments in academic health centers, and to bring that data to the attention of state and local governments, as well as the public.

The Governors sent a number of other resolutions to the Regents for consideration. (All Governors’ resolutions are sent to the College’s Board of Regents for further review and potential adoption.)

Other approved resolutions recommend that the College:

  • Meet with HCFA representatives to revise parts of its “Claims, Filing, Jurisdiction and Development Procedures” to provide Part B payment for services provided by covering or long-term locum tenens physicians.

  • Pursue legislation to require a managed care premium surtax to fund medical education.

  • Investigate the feasibility of offering continuing medical education credits for Annals readers by including a test in each issue to be completed and submitted to the College.

  • Ensure that all Chapter meetings and other functions be held only in locations that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • Initiate a special outreach effort to obtain and share Members’ e-mail and fax information to facilitate rapid member communications.

The Governors voted against two hotly-debated resolutions. One called for mandatory chapter dues to ensure that the roughly 10% to 15% of chapter members who do not pay dues begin to do so.

Another defeated resolution called for the formation of a political action committee (PAC). Even though the Governors’ reference committee supported the PAC resolution, the Governors voted it down 44 to 16.

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