Advocating Individual Health and Public Policy
One way in which the College meets this goal is by developing position papers on current issues such as Medicare reform, practice liability reform, bioterrorism preparedness, graduate medical education reform, antitrust law, and the effects and implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
One of ACP’s primary policy concerns is access to health care. More than 43 million Americans lack health insurance, and the number continues to grow. This past spring, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) sponsored legislation, the HealthCARE Act of 2003, incorporating ACP’s proposal to achieve universal health care coverage in seven years. A companion bill, HR 2402, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Latourette (R-Ohio). This milestone legislation marked the first time since the Clinton Health Security Act that Congress considered legislation for universal coverage.
Serving the Professional Needs of Members
The College’s fourth goal is to serve the professional needs of its membership and to encourage medical students to consider internal medicine as a career. To enhance its effectiveness in addressing physicians’ needs, ACP maintains affiliations and alliances with local, regional, and national organizations, including societies representing the many subspecialties of internal medicine.
The College also works closely with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to ensure the highest standards of professionalism among physicians. ACP is currently working with ABIM and other internal medicine specialty societies to improve the recertification process for internists who passed their board examinations during or after 1990. As part of this effort, ACP is developing several tools to guide physicians through this process. ACP is also working to ensure that the recertification process is relevant, accommodates different learning styles, and is sensitive to time and cost.
In an effort to promote internal medicine as a career, the College is devising strategies to make the field more attractive to medical students. The number of medical students choosing internal medicine as a career is decreasing. There are several reasons for this, but financial concerns rank high on the list. With an average medical school debt of over $100,000, medical students are choosing disciplines with higher levels of reimbursement. In response to this situation, the College has created the Revitalization of Internal Medicine Project, which is designed to broaden the appeal of an internal medicine practice for both students and practicing physicians.
ACP’s fifth goal is to conduct research to enhance the quality of medical practice, to promote the education and continuing education of internists, and to emphasize the importance of internal medicine to physicians and the public. The final goal is to recognize individual excellence and distinguished contributions to internal medicine. canadian pharmacy viagra
THE FUTURE: BRIGHT BUT CHALLENGING
The challenges faced by ACP in meeting its goals are considerable but achievable. The success of its future depends on the organization’s ability to focus on the mission and to commit to basic principles: (1) honor the public trust, (2) take the lead, (3) adapt to the changing environment in which physicians practice, (4) be responsive and relevant to current and future physicians, (5) continue to look for ways to strengthen the College’s value both at the individual and organizational levels, and (6) continue to always be guided by an uncompromising commitment to place patients’ interests first.