Hal C. Lawrence, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO
At ACOG’s 2014 Executive Board Retreat in Charleston, South Carolina, on October 31 and November 1, we had the opportunity to review a productive year and look forward to the challenges—and opportunities—that lie ahead. The annual retreat enables the board to accomplish its important business functions as well as examine where the Congress and College are and where we would like them to go. The retreat is always very helpful in this regard; board members and staff gain valuable insight and information that help us to continue driving ACOG operations in a positive direction. ACOG President John C. Jennings, MD, presided over this year’s retreat and reviewed current activities with assistance from President-Elect Mark DeFrancesco, MD, and Immediate Past President Jeanne Conry, MD, PhD.
A major topic during the retreat was the exciting changes being made to the 2015 Annual Meeting, May 2-6, in San Francisco. With the focus of “Teaming Up Women’s Health,” the Annual Meeting will follow a brand-new format. (For more information, please see “A Really New Annual Meeting” in this issue and the Annual Meeting section of the website.)
Dr. Conry provided an update of her activities and informed the board of a planned session on environmental toxins and their reproductive impact, which she will co-present with Dr. Linda Giudice at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics meeting in October 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Throughout the past year, ACOG has been engaging the American Medical Association (AMA) and advocating to Congress to include ob-gyns in the Medicaid to Medicare bump for primary care services reimbursement and to extend the bump past December 31, 2014. Since the retreat, the AMA House of Delegates has approved a resolution supporting inclusion of ob-gyns at the full Medicare reimbursement status, in line with the other primary care specialties. (For more on this topic, please see Dr. Jennings’ article in this issue, “Top ACOG Advocates Storm Hill for Higher Medicaid Payment.”)
Annually, the ACOG budget is reviewed at the retreat. Over the past five years, ACOG’s expense change has been increased by only 1.4% per year. The Finance Committee also reviewed ACOG’s investment portfolio and requested minor adjustments to certain allocations. The Executive Board approved this along with the proposed 2015 budget. We are confident that these minor changes will help to ensure ACOG’s longevity and allow us to continue serving our Fellows.
As executive vice president and CEO, I reviewed other ACOG activities, including our recruitment efforts for a new vice president for practice activities. I also highlighted the expanded utilization of ACOG’s Washington, DC, office, the renovation of which was completed this year. We are able to host district advisory council meetings in our updated conference space and look forward to welcoming you to our renovated national ACOG office.
Continuing our focus on effective partnerships, we’ve been increasing our collaboration with the neighboring Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in the UK. One example is a recent statement, “The Role of Professional Health Associations in Reducing the Global Burden of Maternal Mortality.”
Dr. Marty Tucker, District VII chair and chair of the Council of District Chairs, reported on the CDC retreat, which preceded the board retreat. The CDC is working with the Junior Fellow Congress Advisory Council on a project to create an ACOG video documenting membership benefits, paying particular attention to the ways that ACOG helps practicing ob-gyns on a daily basis. You can watch this video at the 2015 Annual Meeting.
Dr. Haywood Brown presented a follow-up on the “Levels of Maternity Care Consensus” statement being developed jointly with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM). Several edits were recommended, and we followed up with SMFM. The Executive Board was then able to endorse this document.
ACOG staff members Carla Wojnaroski and Mark Wilson, heads of communications and IT, respectively, presented modifications to the ACOG website and the homepage refresh project. ACOG’s communications activities remain robust, with the department responding to more than 1,500 media requests on an annual basis and engaging in increased media engagement through pitching articles and opinion pieces.
During a special presentation, Dr. Tony Ogburn, chair of CREOG, updated the Executive Board on key issues regarding ob-gyn residency curricula.
The final session of the November Executive Board meeting was a strategic planning session led by Dr. Jennings. This conversation will greatly inform President-Elect Dr. Mark DeFrancesco’s Executive Board strategic planning session in July 2015, which will focus on eight priorities in four areas:
- Relevance/what members want
- Resident obstetrics and gynecologic curriculum
- Governance/membership structure
- Collaborative practice
I hope this brief overview of the Executive Board retreat leaves you up to date with ACOG’s broad range of activities. We continue to remain dedicated to women’s health and to you, the professionals we serve. I look forward to providing you with updates about future Executive Board meetings and seeing you at the Annual Meeting in San Francisco.