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

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Policy Briefs

From the March ACP Observer, copyright 2005 by the American College of Physicians.

  • Internist named to help lead College's quality and advocacy efforts
  • College: DEA is sending mixed message

Internist named to help lead College's quality and advocacy efforts

Michael S. Barr, ACP Member, MBA, has been named ACP's new Vice President of Practice Advocacy and Improvement in the Washington office.

Dr. Barr, who reported to his new post last month, is now helping direct the College's national advocacy efforts on such key public policy issues as pay for performance, chronic care improvement and health information technology. He will lead ACP's participation in Medicare's chronic care improvement project as well as in the Doctors' Office Quality Information Technology program, a Medicare program that seeks to enhance the use of information technology in medical practice.


Dr. Barr



In his previous position, Dr. Barr, 43, was chief medical officer for Baltimore Medical System, a multisite, federally qualified community health center with more than 45 clinicians. In addition to overseeing physician recruitment and compensation issues there, Dr. Barr was the organization's leader for two national quality improvement initiatives and directed the system's move to electronic medical records.

"I was on the front lines in a primary care setting, so I know the challenges of running the day-to-day operations of a medical practice," said Dr. Barr. "I want to now use those practical and clinical strategies to help focus my advocacy efforts."

According to Robert B. Doherty, ACP's Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs and Public Policy, "Dr. Barr has combined internal medicine, business training and hands-on experience with health information technologies that support quality improvement. That makes him an ideal person to help lead College programs that support internists through advocacy and practice improvement programs." Dr. Barr also piloted a computerized physician order entry system at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he served as physician director of medical management programs.

Dr. Barr also wants to help further ACP's objective of securing universal health care.

"ACP's goals in trying to get care for the uninsured are in line with my personal vision and the work I've been doing in Baltimore," he said. "I hope my experience with this issue on the service provider level will be an important asset in Washington." Dr. Barr plans to continue practicing medicine part-time in Baltimore as his Washington schedule allows.

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College: DEA is sending mixed message

The College has told the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that its recent actions and statements leave physicians without clear guidance on dispensing controlled substances for pain.

Last fall, the DEA abruptly withdrew its approved guidance on prescribing pain medication and released an interim statement that addressed some issues in the former guidance.

According to a recent letter from the College, the DEA's interim statement failed to clarify important pain control issues. Clarification is needed, the letter said, or physicians may feel compelled to limit their number of pain patients.

The letter is online.

For more on pain management, see "Pain Management for the Internist" from ACP Observer online.

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