If You Are Not at the Table, You Are on the Menu

By  |  February 18, 2014 | 

Many years ago with those words, an older and much wiser colleague added to my education, encouraging me to take time away from my day-to-day practice of clinical medicine and get involved with the affairs of my hospital and the medical staff.  It was sage advice and I’ve used it many times to help force me out of my comfort zone as my career has evolved.

The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) has followed the same philosophy, as it has demanded a prominent seat on the stage of the policy debates that ran up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and as the implementation phase has ensued.  It has paid off to a surprising extent as SHM has turned the energy of our members into positive changes helping shape the healthcare system of the future.

Nowhere will this energy and commitment to advocacy be on display more than at the annual meeting next month in Las Vegas.  As a matter of fact the highlight of the first day of the meeting will play out in front of all attendees (over 2,000 as of last week) in a session entitled “Obamacare is Here: What Does it Mean for You and Your Hospital” starring a panel of experts in healthcare policy and management.  Before you join us in Vegas, check out the credentials of the team that will spend almost two hours teaching us how to stay at the table (and off the menu) when we return to our respective programs.

Moderating will be Dr. Patrick Conway, an SHM member, a pediatric hospitalist, and the current Chief Medical Officer of CMS.  He is also in charge of the CMMI, the Innovation Center at Medicare charged with coming up with new payment and delivery models like bundling and ACOs.  He is also one of the finest individuals you will ever meet and we are all lucky to be able to claim him as one of us.

Panel members include Dr. Scott Gottlieb, also a hospitalist and a member of the SHM Public Policy Committee.  His day job is as a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.  If you have seen him recently on endless TV segments about the Obamacare rollout, you know that he is a brilliant and an articulate analyst of the impacts of the Affordable Care Act.

Joining Scott will be Dr. Patrick  Cawley, a former President of SHM and currently the CEO of Medical University of South Carolina.  Patrick has vast experience as a hospitalist, a hospital CMO, and now as a CEO.  He has truly walked in our shoes, understanding the challenges we face.  He will provide clarity as to what hospitals need from our specialty as they face the challenges of a post ACA world.

The final panelist is Dr. Patrick Courneya (yes another Dr. Patrick C) who is the Health Plan Medical Director at HealthPartners.  This integrated healthcare system based in Minnesota is not only the training ground for two past SHM Presidents (and our current President Elect) but is a model for successfully managing the health of a population. He will bring the very important health plan perspective to the discussion.

By the way, there is a reason I said that these folks are going to spend two hours educating us.  After the plenary session they are going to star in a breakout session specifically designed to answer questions from the audience collected after their first appearance. In this unique session Patrick Conway will move onto the panel and I will have the opportunity to moderate and present questions from all of you.

This year’s annual meeting is going to be one of the best ever.  And to be honest, I can’t wait!
See you in Vegas!

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