As I travel the country, and indeed the world, a question I often get is: “How is it that ACP can pursue so many agendas?” Often I simply respond that the College can walk and chew gum at the same time!
ACP is simultaneously:
- advancing our specialty of internal medicine and its subspecialties,
- tackling reimbursement issues, such as the new Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA),
- decreasing the “hassle factor” affecting our members to enhance or maintain the joy of practice,
- working toward reform of the American Board of Internal Medicine's Maintenance of Certification process,
- advocating for decreased numbers of uninsured by supporting the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, and
- calling for commonsense measures to stem firearm violence in our country.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms explains the phrase “walk and chew gum” very succinctly, as being “able to do more than 1 thing at a time.” The expression clearly fits ACP as an organization because of our impressive membership, administrative acumen and strength, robust public policy development process, and proven track record of improving the lives of the patients we serve. It is a compliment that the College has earned over its 100 years of existence. This breadth and depth of activity really set our organization apart from many others.
As I undertake my daily work on your behalf, I never for a moment forget that my job as President is to give voice to members of our College who are struggling to maintain their small, independent internal medicine practices. At the same time, I am mindful that many of our members are moving to larger multispecialty group practices and joining forces with larger health systems to serve communities.
In addition, I cannot soon forget the contributions of our internal medicine colleagues who have devoted their careers, like I have, to educating medical students, training residents, and pursuing scientific discoveries in our academic health science centers.
Moreover, in issues of health and public policy, the College invests significant resources in assuring that ACP remains at the forefront of honest, evidence-based policy positions consistent with our time-honored mission to “advocate for just medical laws.”
As 2016 takes fuller shape and we begin our second century of service, rest assured that as the “conscience of American medicine,” ACP is nimble and adroit enough to be able to “walk and chew gum at the same time” for many years to come on behalf of our profession, our patients, and the communities we serve.