Communications: News

2016 AAFP COD: A Delegate's Report

Tuesday, October 4, 2016   (1 Comments)
Posted by: David Hutchinson, MD
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Minnesota family physicians,

I write from Orlando, having just finished representing Minnesota at the annual Congress of Delegates of the AAFP.

Each congress is inspiring in its own way. The resolutions debated always provoke thought, and the passionate care that I see for our well-being as physicians and people, and for the well-being of our specialty of family medicine, is always energizing and restorative.

This family of delegates and others who come to the Congress know that being with each other, watching and learning from each other, is truly antidote to burnout.

We assessed and elected new officers here, as we do each year. This process is grueling for the candidates, and full of intrigue and deliberation for the rest of us. Our new board members and President-Elect are well-positioned and well-prepared to serve.  

While we were here, Maria Huntley, our second-year EVP, was thrilled to learn that the MAFP was awarded yet another grant, from the AAFP Foundation. This is a real testament to re-energized work for us in Minnesota through the efforts of Maria, Lynn Balfour and the leadership of the MAFP Foundation.

This year, we heard testimony on over 60 resolutions aimed at directing the organization and the work of its commissions (Organization and Finance, Education, Governmental Advocacy, Health of the Public and Science, Practice Enhancement). These included resolutions regarding such specific issues as:

  • intraorganizational diversity support
  • re-examination of single payor health system options
  • advocacy for major changes in the Maintenance of Certification process
  • new curricular emphasis suggestions for students, residents, and CME programs, (such as Point-of-Care Ultrasound skill development)
  • debt relief for specifically for family medicine preceptors and faculty
  • medicaid coverage for emergency contraception and ACIP-recommended vaccines
  • access adequacy for reproductive health care for the incarcerated 
  • minimum wage increases as a tool to fight health disparities
  • interoperability between state prescription drug monitoring programs
  • patient access to pharmaceuticals in cases of monopoly
  • development of educational and practice toolkits for members around social determinants of health
  • elimination of Sugar-sweetened beverages from Supplemental Food Assistance Programs
  • national public education regarding gun violence
  • limitations on Direct-to-Consumer advertising
  • proper valuation of family physicians in value-based practice and payment models
  • expansion of primary care authority in DOT exams for patients with chronic conditions
  • limitations on and specific requirements for use of Prior Authorizations by payors
  • payor coverage of medically prescribed foods for infants, and for autism therapies
  • support for independent practices

Big issues this year - in conversations in Reference Committee hearings and in officer and board member candidate speeches and question-and-answer periods - encompassed concerns for:

  • translating medical student interest into student CHOICE of family medicine;
  • burnout prevention and physician wellness;
  • payment reform and the impact of MACRA as a mechanism of value-based compensation;
  • the importance of organizational diversity; and
  • member desire for change in the ABFM’s Maintenance of Certification process. 

As always, through exposure to these debates and to the processes of the Congress, the extensive work by the AAFP on behalf of all of us, all year long, in many arenas, was abundantly evident.

And, as always, I myself have been especially touched this week by time spent with the Minnesota delegation - delegate Dr. Kurt Angstman, alternate delegates Dr. Julie Anderson and Dr. Daron Gersch, MAFP president Dr. Dania Kamp and president-elect Dr. David Bucher, and our EVP Maria Huntley. Past MAFP presidents Dr. Lynne Lillie from the AAFP Board, and Dr. Keith Stelter who is currently board chair for the ABFM, were also with us, and each promises good things for Minnesota family physicians in the year to come.

All of these folks have your interests and needs at heart and in mind, in their functions and hours spent in your service. They are your passionate advocates and ambassadors for your specialty.

Next year, at the congress in San Antonio, we will be waging a campaign for Dr. Lynne Lillie, now beginning her final year on the Board of the AAFP, in support of her nomination as president-elect for 2017. Read Full Story

Thank you again for your trust in our help with representation of Minnesota family doctors, your practices, and your communities to the member structure and the network of resources that is the AAFP.  You are our heroes, and we are proud to be your voices.

David Hutchinson, MD
MAFP Delegate to the AAFP

Comments...

Troy D. Hanson says...
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2016
Wow. Exciting. Thanks Dave for the report and your service. I would argue your solution for burnout of "being together" only works for those who still enjoy family medicine (and western allopathic medicine) deep down. For those who know family medicine, or allopathic high-volume "band-aid" medicine, is no longer a good fit for them, being together is of little benefit. Being in restrictive debt, knowing you are not a good fit with the way family medicine is currently practiced, valued, and promoted, and having no way out is a recipe for hopelessness and burnout for many.

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