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2015 AAFP Congress Debates Issues at the Forefront of Family Medicine

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This week, a delegation of MAFP members traveled to Denver, Colorado, to participate in the annual American Academy of Family Physicians’ Congress of Delegates. Representing the Michigan chapter as voting delegates were Jennifer Aloff, MD, FAAFP (Midland) and Angelo Patsalis, MD, FAAFP (Livonia). Peter Graham, MD (East Lansing) and Chris Bush, MD, FAAFP (Riverview) represented Michigan as alternate delegates to the Congress. Dr. Aloff also served as liaison to the Committee on Practice Enhancement, while Dr. Patsalis served as a member of the Credentials Committee. MAFP CEO, Debra N. McGuire, MBA, IOM, CAE and Director of Government Affairs, Christin Nohner, MPP were also in attendance, as were MAFP President Kim Yu, MD, FAAFP, and President-elect Robert Jackson, MD, MMM.

The Congress of Delegates—the policy-making body for the AAFP—is a multi-day event that kicks off with a Town Hall meeting and includes discussion on resolutions proposed by various states, as well as campaigns and elections of new AAFP officers and Board members and interactive discussions dedicated to uniting AAFP members and chapter staff.

Election & Installation of Directors and Officers

The election and installation of directors and officers on Wednesday, September 30, ushered in new faces to the Academy’s leadership. Wanda D. Filer, MD, MBA, FAAFP of York, Pennsylvania, was installed as AAFP President after serving three years as a director on the Board and one year as President-elect. Winning the President-elect seat was outgoing Speaker John Meigs Jr., MD of Brent, Alabama. Vice Speaker, Javette Orgain, MD, MPH of Chicago was installed as the new Speaker, and Alan Schwartstein, MD, FAAFP of Oregon, Wisconsin, was elected from a field of two candidates for Vice Speaker. Three new directors were also elected: John Bender, MD, MBA of Fort Collins, Colorado; Gary LeRoy, MD of Dayton, Ohio; and Carl Olden, MD of Yakima, Washington.

The Congress also recognized newly-elected resident and student members of the AAFP Board of Directors: Richard Bruno, MD, MPH, of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland; and Tiffany Ho, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore; as well as New Physician Board member, Marie-Elizabeth Ramos, MD of Mount Shasta, California.

Discussion Topics

As is the case every year, the Congress considered the Academy’s stance on a wide variety of issues and proposed action items. One of the common themes that emerged during the Reference Committee on Practice Enhancement debate centered on the social determinants of health, with participants tackling public health issues such as gentrification and discriminatory policing. Adapting to the evolving practice environment also generated much debate, with Delegates considering the onset of ICD-10 and the cost of transforming to a Patient-Centered Medical Home.

The Michigan Chapter offered one resolution before the Congress, as approved by the MAFP membership at the Annual Meeting on July 24. The resolution entitled “Patient Satisfaction Measurement” was met with wide support in the Reference Committee on Practice Enhancement. The original author of the resolution, Michigan Alternate Delegate Peter Graham, MD presented the resolution, which calls on the Academy to advocate for legislative and/or regulatory changes that would require standardized and clinically validated instruments of patient engagement, as well as advocate for legislation and/or changes to regulatory rules that would require payers to adopt these instruments.

The Congress adopted the Reference Committee’s recommended substitute resolution, which included some editorial changes and an additional resolved clause that calls on the AAFP to advocate that patient satisfaction measures be 1) used as incentives, not penalties; 2) applied in a way which distinguish clinically significant differences in scores from purely statistical differences; and 3) are cost effective for physicians in a small practice. The Reference Committee reports with Congress actions are available on the AAFP website (AAFP username and password required).

Be sure to check out a photo album on MAFP's Facebook page for a few pictures from the 2015 Congress of Delegates.