The American Medical Association (AMA) inaugurated a new president earlier in June. Steven J. Stack, MD, is the organization’s youngest president in 160 years as well as the first emergency physician to fill the office.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Stack drew on his experience as an emergency physician to share examples of the power of healthcare in the lives of individuals. He also highlighted the significant contribution of organized medicine and the importance of being part of a team.
“Like everyone in this room, I was drawn to organized medicine because I realized that the only way to take on big problems is through collaboration with others. Each one of us has a role to play. Each one of us contributes something the other cannot,” Dr. Stack said. “The same can be said of healthcare in this country. When it comes to something as important as shaping a better, healthier future, it will take every single one of us. Physicians. Payers. Policymakers. Patients. Every one of us has a part to play. We cannot do it alone.”
Shortly after the inauguration, Michael Gerardi, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), issued a statement regarding Dr. Stack’s new position. “Dr. Stack embodies all that is best about emergency medicine: staying cool under pressure, problem-solving, teamwork and the spirit of innovation,” said Dr. Gerardi. “His career–already distinguished by governance roles in both emergency medicine and the house of medicine as a whole–offers a shining example to us all of how to blend leadership with hands-on work in the emergency department, which he continues to do. Dr. Stack’s experiences as an emergency physician have kept him connected to the wide variety of patients who seek help every day in our nation’s emergency departments, giving him a unique and invaluable perspective on our 21st century health care system.”
In his inaugural address, Dr. Stack laid out three priorities for the AMA in the coming year:
- To profoundly improve health outcomes for the 86 million people in this country with pre-diabetes and the 70 million with hypertension.
- To forge a generation of physicians prepared to meet the needs of our 21st century health care system.
- To restore the joy in medicine and enable physicians to spend their time where it matters most–helping patients. (Just after the AMA annual meeting in early June, the AMA and the Medical Group Management Association launched STEPS Forward, a program aimed at helping physicians boost efficiency, incorporate technology, and improve patient health.)
One area Dr. Stack is concerned about for the coming year, however, is ICD-10. The AMA has continued to oppose the implementation of the updated code set currently slated to take effect October 1, 2015.
“It is our opinion at the American Medical Association that the cost and the potential negative consequences of ICD-10 are not justified by the benefits others purport will be realized,” Dr. Stack told MD Magazine.
While the AMA and other groups continue to work for a delay of ICD-10 implementation, they also are asking the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take steps to eliminate or minimize potential payment disruptions.
As Dr. Stack begins his one-year term as president, the AMA voted in Andrew W. Gurman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Pennsylvania, as their president-elect.
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