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 Presidential Update 10/05

David M. Lichtman, MD
October 12, 2005

We have sailed triumphantly out of a successful Joint ASSH and ASHT meeting in San Antonio thanks to the splendid leadership of Drs. Terry R. Light, past President, Scott Kozin and Mark Cohen, Program Chairs.  Very soon we will be doing an important follow up survey to those who attended the San Antonio meeting.  That survey will help us decide our future meeting frequency with our hand therapist colleagues. 

At this time, I have the pleasure to report on Council actions and deliberations from the recent annual meeting.   Because most of the actions occurred during Terry Light’s outstanding presidential “watch”, they are all a direct result of his outstanding leadership, support and inspiration. 

Continuing Issues
Nearly two years ago Brian D. Adams, MD brought the issue of emergency hand call coverage to the ASSH Council.  This past summer, it was clear that this issue continues to be of importance to many of our members.  At our September Council meeting, Dr. Adams led a lively discussion of the emergency hand call state of affairs.  At this point, there is an EMTALA rule that mandates hospitals to provide emergency care and defines hand surgeons as a part of that care.  Thanks to the work of some ER residents from the University of Arizona, we gathered some useful survey data on the state of ER hand call around the country.  We did not come to any specific conclusion, so I have appointed a Hand Surgery Trauma Coverage Task Force to work on a position statement on this issue.  That task force will include Brian Adams, MD as chair and Anne J. Miller, MD; Michael L. Jones, MD; Delwin E. Quenzer, MD; Nicholas B. Vedder, MD; John G. Seiler, III, MD; Jeffrey A. Greenberg, MD; Julie A. Katarincic, MD.  We hope to have the task force offer us some policy options at our December meeting. 

After some interim considerations, Council has asked Roy A. Meals, MD to continue with his task force’s work on giving us options for a new graphic identity.  We voted to proceed with the development of a logo and possible descriptive tag line that will be presented at the next Council meeting.  Stay tuned for a possible new graphic identity that will attempt to encompass all that we do.

Research and Education
The Journal merger is an exciting change that will come to fruition starting in January 2006, with 10 issues per year.  We think our new JHS will be just the right combination of science and clinical technique articles. 

I have asked Andy Koman, MD to lead a new Research Advisory Panel that will provide coordination to the entire spectrum of our research grant process.  The chairs and vice chairs of the Basic Science, Prospective Clinical Trials (formerly Translational and Clinical Research), Evidence Based Practice, MultiCenter Clinical Trials Task Force and Coding and Physician Reimbursement Committee (formerly CPT/RUC) will be represented on this panel.  The overall goal of this Advisory Panel is to better utilize the total research funds given by the AFSH and the Hand Society and to insure that our available funds in any given year are used in ways that meet the most pressing needs of the Hand Society.

A few days ago the Request for Proposal for MultiCenter Clinical Trials funding was sent out to the membership.  Andy Koman, MD is also chair of the group that fine-tuned the RFP, which you can find on the website.

Dan Nagle, MD impressed upon us the important potential impact of P4P--Pay for Performance guidelines and their potential impact on reimbursement.  The development of further evidence based practice guidelines in our field is on the horizon.  The Evidence Based Practice Committee, led by Michael Keith, MD and Victoria Masear, MD will carry this pressing issue forward.  We look forward to their reports on how we can take a lead in defining requirements for practice. 

Moving Forward
My theme for the next year is “to lead, to inspire and to succeed.”  We began to chart our course for a future that will lead and inspire our profession onward into success through our intensive strategic planning session.  I hope to facilitate the continuation of the work begun by Dennis Phelps, MD and the 2020 Vision Task Force.  Possible future goals might include education, research, scope of practice, public image, practice success, and innovation.  Council will continue our future oriented discussion begun in September at our December meeting.  Please let me know if you have thoughts about how we should be preparing for the year 2020. 

I am honored to serve as your President for the next year and look forward to an open dialog with you, the membership.  You can email me directly by writing to David  Lichtman, MD (radml@charter.net).  Every quarter I will be sending you these updates to keep you informed of what your Council is doing to improve the effectiveness of the Hand Society and to further the field of hand surgery.

Smooth Sailing…Dave