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Tuesday Oct 23, 2018

A Look Ahead to Election Day and a Look Back at FMX

A bet is a bet(www.espn.com), so here you go.

The eyes of Texas are upon you, all the livelong day.
The eyes of Texas are upon you. You cannot get away.
Texas Fight, Texas Fight.
-- John Sinclair

[Brett Giroir, M.D. at fmx]

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, M.D., speaks about opioids during the 2018 Family Medicine Experience Oct. 11 in New Orleans.

We are two weeks away from the midterm elections. Although political pundits often proclaim that the next election is the "most important election of our lifetime," I would suggest to you that every election is of the utmost importance. Exercising our individual, constitutionally protected right to influence the composition of our representative government is a bedrock of the American experiment. I hope you exercise your right and vote on Nov. 6.

There is consensus (generally speaking) that Washington, D.C., will experience a shake-up. Regardless of the election outcomes, we know there will be a new speaker of the House, new party leadership, new committee chairs and ranking members, and several new members on key congressional committees.

To help you better understand how the elections will impact the 116th Congress and the health policy agenda, the AAFP Family Medicine Action Network (FMAN) is hosting a webinar on Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. ET featuring two former senior congressional staffers who will provide a bipartisan overview of the election outcomes and a preview of what to expect in the new Congress. This event is an exclusive benefit to members of the FMAN, so I encourage you to become a member of the FMAN and then register for this important and informative webinar by emailing grassroots@aafp.org.

Family Medicine Experience

Family physicians from across the nation recently gathered in New Orleans for the 2018 Congress of Delegates and Family Medicine Experience (FMX). I have been to a few conventions in my life, but these had a unique vibe. Maybe it was New Orleans, but the attendees I saw and spoke to had an upbeat outlook on their work and the direction of the specialty. Now before you tweet at me, let me be clear that there are concerns among family physicians and, of course, there are things we need to do to improve the health care system for patients and family physicians alike, but the vibe was positive. I came back to Washington, D.C., encouraged and rejuvenated.

I hope you will join us for the next FMX, which is scheduled for Sept. 24-28, 2019, in Philadelphia. https://www.aafp.org/events/fmx.html

This is my 2018 FMX Top 5 recap:

5. Office of the Future: The AAFP Office of the Future once again anchored the FMX exhibit hall. This exhibit features a mix of resources aimed at assisting family physicians in their practices today with resources and technologies that will become more prominent in the years ahead. The exhibit is one of the most popular at FMX.

This year, we featured several new vendors, including Amazon Business(www.amazon.com), which has a new service that has the potential to benefit practices by streamlining the procurement process and providing analytics on purchasing and utilization patterns. This could result in better options, lower-cost acquisition of supplies and a healthier bottom line. Anyone can sign up for a free account, and a portion of purchases through Amazon go back to the AAFP to fund programs that will benefit members.

4. Main Stage Presentations: If you were in New Orleans, you know what I am talking about. The main stage presenters were strong! The FMX main stage started with a bang as AAFP CEO and EVP Douglas Henley, M.D., returned with his now famous T-shirt gun. Taking the stage first was Zubin Damania, M.D., (ZDoggMD), who gave a stirring and motivating lecture on Health Care 3.0 that mixed personal experiences, masterful pop-culture references and some lessons learned from his parents.

Day two featured the presentation of the 2019 Family Physician of the Year, an update on the AAFP's EveryONE Project, a special appearance by HHS Assistant Secretary of Health Brett Giroir, M.D., and a great panel of family physicians discussing the opioid epidemic.

Day three featured Frank Domino, M.D. Domino is annually rated the most impressive speaker at FMX, so for the second year in a row we featured him on the main stage, and he did not disappoint. You will soon be able to watch his lecture via our FMX OnDemand - Upgrade package(fmx.ondemand.org). It is informative and entertaining.

Finally, I don't know exactly what to say, but day three also featured this Office Space parody.  

A special hat tip to my AAFP colleagues Cristi Allen, Karen Mathes, Kara Petrovic and Darren Sextro. The main stages don't happen without them.

3. More on Dr. Giroir: We were honored to have the HHS assistant secretary for health join us at FMX. Dr. Giroir provided an overview of the government's work to address the opioid crisis. He is the federal government's point person on this effort and is leading a cross-agency effort to reduce mortality rates, spread the availability of life-saving interventions, and establish programs to address the underlying addiction and mental health issues that have fueled this epidemic.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Giroir. He is a primary care physician, a compassionate human being and a stellar leader. This is a horrible epidemic, and curbing its devastating impact will take a determined commitment from each of us. The country should be confident that the man leading those efforts is competent and compassionate. I was so pleased that Dr. Giroir was able to join us and share his insights with our nation's family physicians.

2. Generosity of Family Physicians: This year, both FamMedPAC and the AAFP Foundation(www.aafpfoundation.org)  raised record amounts of money at FMX. On behalf of FamMedPAC and the Foundation, THANK YOU! We appreciate your generosity and support for these important programs. Your financial support enables us to carry out the mission of the AAFP and better represent family medicine across the country. I encourage all family physicians to support both programs. To donate, click on one -- or both -- of the links above.

1. Family Physician of the Year Will Cooke, M.D.: I have met thousands of physicians in my career, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact they and other health care providers have on individuals, families and communities across the country. However, I am not sure I have ever been more moved by one person's service to a community. Hundreds of people and countless families who share a community with Will Cooke, M.D., are better today because of his selfless service. I was honored to meet Dr. Cooke, and I want to congratulate him on a well-deserved recognition. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this video about Dr. Cooke as well as his address at FMX.

Wonk Hard

"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." This famous quote from Hall of Fame baseball player, coach and manager Yogi Berra is used often, especially around political election season. The interesting thing is despite the difficulty in making predictions, people continue to do so. To that end, here are my 2018 election predictions:

  • House of Representatives: 235 Democrats, 200 Republicans
  • U.S. Senate: 52 Republicans, 48 Democrats (including independent Sen. Bernie Sanders)

No matter what happens on Nov. 6, the AAFP will continue our work to advance policy objectives that promote and benefit family medicine, and help you care for your patients. Please join us in these efforts by becoming a member of the FMAN. If you sign up by Nov. 27, you can join us for our webinar about the 116th Congress!

 

Posted at 10:45AM Oct 23, 2018 by Shawn Martin

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Shawn Martin, AAFP Senior Vice President of Advocacy, Practice Advancement and Policy.

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