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

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Regents vote on PAC, streamlined Fellowship pathway, more

ACP leaders also take action to simplify membership applications and consolidate clinical information online

From the March ACP Observer, copyright © 2004 by the American College of Physicians.

At its January meeting, the Board of Regents voted on a wide range of recommendations, including one that moves internal medicine closer to having a political action committee (PAC). The Regents also approved recommendations to re-tool one of the pathways to College Fellowship and streamline the membership process for ACP Associates and other internists.

Here is an overview of the board's actions:

  • PAC. The Regents voted to approve a resolution from the ACP Board of Governors recommending that ACP Services Inc. establish a PAC. ACP Services is a separate nonprofit corporation formed to provide advocacy and other services to members. ACP members have automatic membership in ACP Services.

    As a nonprofit organization formed for educational and charitable purposes, ACP is not allowed to engage in substantial lobbying or related activities. While that restriction does not apply to ACP Services, the PAC must be financially independent of ACP.

    The Board of Directors of ACP Services subsequently, and by a separate vote, directed staff to prepare a proposed budget and other information necessary for ACP Services to make a final decision on establishing a PAC in July 2004.

    Should the Board of Directors decide at that time to establish a PAC, it could become operational within a few weeks, allowing it to raise funds and make contributions to the 2004 congressional elections.

    By law, all contributions from members to the PAC would be voluntary.

  • Fellowship. The Regents approved a recommendation to change the criteria for one of the three pathways to Fellowship. The change will make it possible for College Members to become Fellows after five years of active involvement in the College.

    Previously, they had to spend 10 years in active Membership before they could apply. The recommendation defined active Membership as substantial participation in ACP programs and activities.

  • Membership. The Board approved several measures geared to streamlining the application process for College membership. Those measures make it easier for residents to become Associate members and for internists who are not board certified to move to full College Membership.

    The Regents approved a recommendation to allow Associate members to move to full Membership before they pass the boards without getting two sponsoring letters or the endorsement of their chapter Governor.

    Other new candidates for Membership who are not board certified can also apply for College Membership without providing sponsorship letters.

    The Regents also voted to eliminate a requirement that residents applying for Associate membership must have their applications signed by a program director or by a Master or Fellow of the College. Residents who wish to become Associate members will now be able to apply online.

  • Performance measures. The Regents approved a framework for the College's Performance Measures Subcommittee. The nine-member subcommittee will help the College develop policies and educational efforts related to performance measures.

  • Electronic information service. The Regents voted to move toward integrating College educational and point-of-care content into a central electronic information service that ACP members could access via ACP Online.

    The new service would include content from Annals of Internal Medicine and ACP Journal Club; modules from the Physicians' Information and Education Resource (PIER); clinical guidelines; MKSAP and Clinical Problem-Solving Cases; and ACP-published books and "ACP Medicine."

    The site would also integrate some nonclinical content, including materials from the College's Practice Management Center. In addition, content would be structured so it could be incorporated into electronic medical record systems.

  • Chronic stable angina guideline. The Board approved a new Clinical Efficacy Assessment Project (CEAP) guideline on chronic stable angina, in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. The guideline, which is being submitted for publication, addresses stratifying risk and diagnosing chronic stable angina in primary care.

  • Project Hope. The Board voted to establish an ongoing relationship with Project Hope, a nonprofit organization now working in more than 30 countries. Project Hope provides medical training and health care education. The College will begin to identify projects and goals the two organizations can work on together.

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