The 95th APMA House of Delegates (HOD) meeting convened yesterday in Washington, DC. Several special guests were on hand to address the assembled delegates:
Robert S. Juhasz, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), addressed the assembled delegates and expressed AOA’s appreciation of APMA’s ongoing support. “Today, more than ever, we recognize that medicine is a team sport,” Dr. Juhasz said. “We appreciate your efforts as colleagues on our medical staffs and in the communities we serve together.” Dr. Juhasz spoke about the pace of change in medicine and the need to adopt technology while maintaining relationships with patients. He also shared his hope that medical professional societies, working in unity, could help “make SGR history this week!”
Stephen R. Permut, MD, chair-elect of the AMA Board of Trustees, discussed how AMA and APMA work together with other professional organizations “to shape the future of health care.” Dr. Permut spoke about America’s ailing health-care system, which, despite the Affordable Care Act, still includes “tens of millions of patients who are uninsured,” fragmented delivery, and lagging outcomes. He noted that our system is better suited to caring for acute conditions but that chronic disease is endemic in our country. He also spoke at length about physician satisfaction in today’s health-care environment. AMA is focused on improving outcomes, professional satisfaction among physicians, and medical education.
Ronald M. Fairman, MD, vice president of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), spoke about his vision for the future of the APMA/SVS partnership—a vision that includes a focus on wellness and preventive care rather than just on treating disease, outreach to insurers promoting value-based multidisciplinary care, and collaborative clinical research.
On Sunday, the House of Delegates welcomed other special guests:
Paul Phinney, MD, MSc, past president of the California Medical Association (CMA), updated the HOD on the Physicians and Surgeons Initiative in that state. “We need you guys out there working to the full extent of what you were trained to do,” Dr. Phinney said, “and that’s way different than what it was a few decades ago.” In California, CMA and the California Podiatric Medical Association have worked closely with other stakeholders to evaluate podiatrists’ education, training, and experience and change the scope of practice to reflect that training. “It’s a battle,” Dr. Phinney said. “The legislative staff are facing hundreds of bills, and elected farmers, teachers, and attorneys are making decisions about health policy. A better process is to get the involved professional groups together to talk about the issues. If the process in California is successful, I think you all have driven a project that can promote a higher, better scope of practice discussion, not just in California, but in the nation.” Following Dr. Phinney’s presentation, Dr. Gastwirth presented him with the Executive Director’s Award for his significant contribution to the advancement of podiatric medicine. “I thank you on behalf of a grateful profession,” Dr. Gastwirth said.
Joseph Stern, DPM, president of the Canadian Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA), updated the house on the activities of CPMA. He expressed his gratitude toward APMA for its friendship, willingness to share information, and hospitality. “We are a small society, but we continue to grow because of the benevolence and guidance of APMA,” he said.
Carine Haemels, president of the International Federation of Podiatrists (FIP), discussed the challenges of coordinating communication efforts to thousands of members around the world who speak many different languages. Dr. Haemels said Europe is now looking overseas as it tries to increase the level of education and clinical instruction for its physicians. “APMA and SoCaP are our big brothers, and your support is very important to us,” she said.
Tim Yoho, DPM, chair of the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM), updated the HOD about the availability of residency positions prior to the CASPR/CRIP match, which takes place over the course of the next week. Thanks to the significant efforts of APMA and its members, CPME, AACPM, and other stakeholders, there now are 598 CPME-approved residency positions, a number which comes close to satisfying the profession-wide goal of developing enough residency positions to equal 110 percent of the number of graduates. There are 541 applicants from the class of 2015. For a variety of reasons, 34 positions will not be made available in the match. Including applicants from previous graduating classes, there are 615 total applicants in the 2015 match cycle. The profession remains committed to ensuring that every qualified applicant is able to match with a residency. The HOD is addressing measures that will continue to place a focus on residency genesis.
David Dunning, chair of the Society for Chiropodists and Podiatrists, compared the relationship between APMA and SoCaP to that between the organizations’ home countries. “When politicians from our two countries come together, they often refer to the special relationship between the UK and the US,” Dunning said. “This special relationship means we often stand together for freedom and justice in the world. [APMA and SoCaP] stand together against foot disease and disability in the world. Our strongest weapon is education.”