The Executive Desk: The February Executive Board Meeting

Hal C Lawrence III MDHal C. Lawrence, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO

Hal C. Lawrence III, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO

ACOG’s Executive Board meeting took place on Friday, February 7, 2015. President John Jennings, MD, opened the meeting by welcoming the board members to the first Executive Board meeting in the new ACOG Board Room. As part of the renovation process of ACOG’s headquarters, ACOG donated old furniture to various groups. The furniture from the previous board room found a new home in the City Hall of Denton, MD.

A moment of silence was held to acknowledge the deaths of Harold Kaminetzky, MD, past ACOG president and past ACOG vice president, practice activities, and Morton Stenchever, MD, former editor of ACOG’s Clinical Updates in Women’s Health Care and ACOG’s Clinical Review. The board was also informed of some significant staff changes at ACOG. Albert Strunk, MD, deputy executive vice president and vice president, fellowship activities, will retire at the end of June. Gerald Joseph, MD, will transition from vice president, practice activities, to fill Dr. Strunk’s role as vice president, fellowship activities. We are also excited to welcome Christopher Zahn, MD, on April 1 as the new vice president, practice activities. In addition, two long-time ACOG employees, who had relocated from Chicago with ACOG, Margaret Goodman and Pamela Van Hine, have retired. 

President Jennings’ report pointed out that the Executive Board’s role was to establish direction for ACOG. He cited a team process with the Executive Board and how the Executive Committee can be a significant part of that team. He also highlighted the new EVP/CEO evaluation tool developed by the presidential officers and EVP/CEO. Lastly, he prepared us for a review of Nominations Committee’s revised Policies and Procedures.

President Elect Mark DeFrancesco, MD, laid the plan for the July Executive Board program, which will be a comprehensive review of our strategic plan. This review of ACOG’s operations, governance, and priorities will determine how ACOG should be positioned for the future. Be on the lookout for more information this summer.

Immediate Past President Jeanne Conry, MD, updated the group on her well woman care project and informed us of her activities surrounding her upcoming FIGO program on environmental toxins in reproductive health this October 4-9, 2015.

Treasurer Scott Hayworth, MD, reviewed ACOG’s financial documents and called attention to the fact that we ended up the year with a positive balance. Dr. Hayworth then identified the individuals who participated in ACOG’s Development Fund as President’s Society Members, and a fair number of them are currently on the Executive Board. He particularly highlighted Dr. Amanda Kallen, the JFCAC Chair.

The EVP/CEO report noted the excellent reports that had been provided by all members of the Executive Committee and the outstanding reports by the staff vice presidents. Moving on to a review of legislative activities, it was pointed out that President Obama’s budget included continuation of the Medicare to Medicaid bump for primary care, which also included ob-gyns. The outstanding activities of Ob-Gyn PAC were mentioned, including its high success rate of supporting winning candidates, as well as the fact that we reached well over $1.3 million in the last election cycle. The Board then learned about an upcoming article by the leaders of eight medical specialty organizations recommending policies to reduce firearm violence.

Barbara Levy, MD, vice president, health policy, reviewed the activities in the Advocacy Division, including that the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care is working with ACOG District II on the Save the Mothers Initiative. Advocacy is also working with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) to put forth a portfolio program for MOC Part IV. Dr. Levy noted the ongoing activities in coding and credentialing, spotlighting the issue with CMS about bundling pelvic support procedures with vaginal hysterectomy and how that will be undone April 1. You will be able to bill retroactively with the coding correction for activities going back to October 2014 when the CMS rule was changed. Later, she highlighted The Joint Commission’s change of terminology on sentinel event, and ACOG’s clarifying document with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), The Joint Commission, and the Association of Women’s Health and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).

Other division reports of note include the education report by Sandra Carson, MD, vice president, education, which featured the new educational module for residencies which will go on sale next month, and the practice report by Gerald Joseph, MD, which reviewed issues on ebola, morcellation and immunization. Our Immunization Task Force has received several awards, and we continue to collaborate well with SMFM on Obstetrics Consensus documents. 

Rounding out the reports:

  • Bert Peterson, MD, updated the Board on global women’s health activities and goals
  • Peter Nielsen, MD, Armed Forces District Chair, gave a great update on the Task Force on Collaborative Practice, to be completed by year’s end
  • Lisa Hollier, MD, Assistant Secretary, updated us on the Women’s Health Care Team Leadership Task Force and how the group are developing a course to be utilized at the Annual Meeting and at District meetings
  • Bob Yelverton, MD, District XII Chair, gave an update on the Work Group for Practice Transitions
  • Public member Cathy Whittlesey thanked everyone for allowing her to be a part of the Executive Board and how important it is to her
  • ACNM President Ginger Breedlove described the ongoing collaboration between ACOG and ACNM

Our special issues segment was a report regarding data collection given by Frank Opelka, MD, FACS. The American College of Surgeons is creating a system that enables medical specialty organizations to evaluate data being housed in different electronic medical records. The data is not transferred but utilized in a cloud format so that it can be evaluated in a secure HIPPA-compliant fashion.  

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