American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Governors discuss attracting young physicians, more

From the May ACP Observer, copyright 2003 by the American College of Physicians.

By Phyllis Maguire

SAN DIEGO—At their meeting during Annual Session, the Governors made several recommendations to the Board of Regents on issues including attracting young physicians to internal medicine, recertification and physician advocacy. Here is an overview of those recommendations and the actions the Regents took later in the week:

  • Attracting medical students and residents. Several recommendations discussed how the College can encourage more medical students and residents to choose careers in internal medicine and participate more in ACP activities.

    One recommendation urged the Regents to provide free Annual Session registration to Associates who actively participate in the meeting. Rashida A. Khakoo, FACP, outgoing Governor for the West Virginia Chapter, supported the recommendation, but expressed concern about costs. Chapters typically pay for all of their Associates' Annual Session expenses, she said, and some small chapters are already hard-pressed to cover the costs of residents' airfare and hotels.

    Frederick E. Turton, FACP, Governor for the Florida Chapter and Chair-elect of the Board of Governors, pointed out that many financially-strapped teaching hospitals were no longer sending Associates to Annual Session because teaching programs can't afford expenses including registration.

    The Regents referred the resolution to the College's Finance Committee and Council of Associates for further study.

    Another recommendation directed the Regents to work with academic internal medicine organizations to improve financial counseling for students and residents, and to design financial management services. The recommendation calls for the College to advocate for adequate public medical school funding to reduce debt and to stop schools from levying midyear or retroactive tuition increases.

    The Regents adopted the recommendations to reduce financial burdens for students and residents.

    The Governors also recommended that the Regents direct College staff to analyze available data on medical students' declining interest in internal medicine as a career, and to use that analysis to take steps to reverse the decline. The Regents adopted the recommendation and will implement it as part of a larger reform package to revitalize the profession. (For more, see "ACP leaders seek ways to revitalize internal medicine.")

  • Recertification. The Governors recommended that the Regents establish set points in time to evaluate and report on the progress being made by the Liaison Committee on Recertification. The group gives College and specialty society representatives a chance to provide input on the American Board of Internal Medicine's recertification process.

    Richard L. Neubauer, FACP, Governor for the Alaska Chapter (which co-sponsored the recommendation), said the move would reassure internists who want to see changes in the recertification process. "Many internists may be waiting to see if this new input procedure will yield results," he said.

    Anne Winkler, FACP, incoming Governor for the Missouri Chapter, agreed. She pointed out that "defining set points may help members see the process going forward."

    The Regents adopted the recommendation.

  • Advocacy. The Governors made several recommendations to promote physician advocacy. One recommendation asked the Regents to update the ACP Online Legislative Action Center to help members contact their state legislators about proposed health care-related legislation. The Regents forwarded the recommendation to the Health and Public Policy Committee for further study.

    Another recommendation directed the Regents to facilitate cooperation between chapters and state medical societies to support resolutions in the AMA's House of Delegates that advance the College's agenda. The Regents adopted this recommendation.

    And another recommendation urged the Regents to develop an annual award to be given each year at Annual Session to recognize members for their advocacy efforts. J. Marc Shabot, FACP, outgoing Governor for the Texas Southern Chapter, pointed out that physician advocacy provides not only educational benefits but also patient benefits.

    The Regents forwarded this recommendation to the Awards Committee for further study.

  • Mastership. The Governors recommended that the College no longer limit the number of Masterships it awards each year. If cost concerns stand in the way of conferring more Masterships, some Governors concluded, the College should explore ways that honorees or chapters could share some of the costs associated with the Mastership process. Several Governors said that limiting the number of Masterships inevitably excludes well-qualified candidates from receiving the award.

    The Regents forwarded the recommendation to the Awards Committee for further study.

  • Durable medical equipment advertising. The Governors recommended that the Regents advocate for stricter government oversight of durable medical equipment advertising, as well as for legislation requiring advertising to include Medicare guidelines for medical necessity coverage. The Regents adopted this recommendation.

  • National Health Service Corps funding. Finally, the Governors recommended that the Regents advocate for full and continuing funding for the National Health Service Corps to help provide an adequate workforce in health professional shortage areas. The Regents adopted the recommendation.

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