Together, we have faced significant challenges this year. But as my presidency comes to an end on May 2 at the 2021 ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting, I can report to you that the ACOG Board of Directors; ACOG CEO Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, FACOG; the executive leadership team; and the ACOG staff have been very active on behalf of our members and the patients we serve.
Throughout my presidency, my focus has been on delivering more to our members, because that is the only way our patients’ health can be improved. Here are just some of our wins:
- We have made several commitment statements, including our statement on changing the culture of medicine and eliminating racial disparities in women’s health outcomes; our statement of solidarity with the ACOG community after the murder of George Floyd; and our collective action statement on addressing racism, which we made in collaboration with 24 other organizations.
- We continued the work of creating diversity and equity within ACOG and our membership through staff initiatives and the member Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence Workgroup led by Wanda Nicholson, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOG. The workgroup has been developing a blueprint to ensure that their recommendations are implemented successfully.
- We established an executive-level collaborative group consisting of ACOG and all ACGME-approved subspecialties in obstetrics and gynecology to strengthen our advocacy efforts and to assist in resolving issues that affect the group.
- We have led the medical community in a federal court case challenging the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement on mifepristone in the pandemic, securing nonenforcement of the requirement for more than six months and paving the way to greater abortion care access.
Members and Patients
- Our advocacy helped secure additional funding for practice relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, additional funding for women's health research, and funding for graduate medical education.
- We convinced Congress and the CMS to stop harmful cuts to obstetric and gynecologic payments.
- We established a private-payer advisory group to enhance capability to negotiate with private payers. Successes included convincing multiple private payers to extend reimbursement for telehealth, work on removals of prior authorizations, and ensuring that noninvasive prenatal testing was reimbursed by greater numbers of payers.
- Our Board of Directors crafted the language for and passed unanimously the Physicians’ Bill of Rights.
- Our advocacy was instrumental in securing bipartisan maternal mortality legislation that provides states the option of extending Medicaid through the full 12 months postpartum. This legislation has been signed into law and is anticipated to have a positive effect on the maternal mortality crisis.
- Our Board of Directors authorized ACOG Chief Legal Officer Skye Perryman and her team to file more than 25 briefs in federal and state courts throughout the country on issues affecting our members and their practices, and the courts listened. Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, relied on ACOG's legal filings in striking down laws and regulations harmful to our members and to our patients.
- We have advocated for national designation of January 23 as Maternal Health Awareness Day.
As we prepare to welcome incoming 72nd ACOG President J. Martin Tucker, MD, FACOG, I invite you join us at the 2021 ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting, taking place from April 30 to May 2. The theme of the meeting is Personalizing Care: A Way to the Future. The Committee on Scientific Program and ACOG staff have organized a fantastic educational event, and I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all involved in organizing the Annual Meeting for their tireless efforts.
The Annual Meeting will showcase more than 70 sessions over three days, with nearly 100 CME hours of both livestreamed and on-demand content in formats you have come to appreciate in prior national meetings. We will hear from experts such as Janine Austin Clayton, MD, NIH associate director for research on women’s health and director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health; Douglas Lowy, MD, NCI principal deputy director; and Anthony Gregg, MD, MBA, immediate past president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. We will also hear from the Presidential Initiative Task Force, chaired by Mary Rosser, MD, PhD, FACOG, and Katie McHugh, MD, FACOG, FACS, whose invaluable work has produced, among other incredible results, six educational webinars that close gaps in knowledge and provide important tools for counseling and coding.
I extend a special welcome to those of you who plan to attend the Annual Meeting for the first time. Know that you will find the meeting very exciting and informative and that you will have an opportunity to connect with your colleagues.
This very unusual year has resulted in unprecedented amount of hard work in an uncertain environment. I am privileged to have been able to partner with Dr. Phipps and ACOG’s Executive Leadership Team: Erin Hultman; Skye Perryman; Jeanne Robinson; and Chris Zahn, MD, FACOG, who have been outstanding leaders of their divisions and have truly exceeded my expectations of excellent performance. Their work was critical to addressing the impact of the pandemic, advocating for our members and patients, and continuing our educational mission.
I also want to thank Dr. Tucker; Immediate Past President Ted L. Anderson, MD, PhD, FACOG; and all of the board members for their dedication to ACOG’s mission and their unwavering support. The Board of Directors has worked harder this year than any other and has remained inspiring, resourceful, and focused. They have served as superb stewards of the organization and are worthy of the highest accolades.
Finally, to all ACOG staff: it has been an honor to work with you. I cannot thank you enough for your dedication to our members and the patients we care for.
We have accomplished much, but much can’t be enough. Let us continue to raise the bar on our goals, promote our profession, and work diligently to improve the health of our patients!
Thank you for the honor of serving as your 71st president.