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The American Society of Anesthesiologists is an educational, research and scientific association of physicians organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology and improve the care of the patient.

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February 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 2
2012 ASA House of Delegates Speakers’ Summary Steven L. Sween, M.D. Speaker, House of Delegates

Ronald L. Harter, M.D. Vice Speaker, House of Delegates



Jerry A. Cohen, M.D. (2012 President) called the opening session of the 65th meeting of the ASA House of Delegates (HOD) to order at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., at 8 a.m. on Sunday, October 14, 2012. There were 364 properly credentialed delegates seated, easily comprising a necessary quorum. The proceedings of the HOD were prefaced by guiding and inspirational words of invocation, this year provided by ASA member Michael C. Lewis, M.D. During his opening remarks, Dr. Cohen recognized the numerous honored guests present, who represented anesthesia and medical societies from across the globe.

The winners of the 2012 Resident Research Essay Awards were acknowledged. They received their awards in conjunction with the ASA Celebration of Research program held on Monday, October 15. The 2012 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Research was Ralph Lydic, Ph.D., of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who is Bert La Du Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, at the University of Michigan. Dr. Cohen announced that the 2012 Presidential Scholar Award recipient was Peter Nagele, M.D., M.Sc., Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University. Dr. Cohen also recognized the 2012 resident group of FAER Scholars.

Jeff Mueller, M.D., Chair of the ASA Political Action Committee (ASAPAC), presented the 2012 report of the committee. Dr. Mueller gave a thorough and encouraging summary of the important work of ASAPAC, which is recognized as one of the leading and most respected medical advocacy organizations on Capitol Hill. He then announced three awards for outstanding performance by state component societies in 2012.

n Highest Percent Participation: Maine Society of Anesthesiologists n Highest Total Dollars Raised: Florida Society of Anesthesiologists n Special Distinction: Maine Society of Anesthesiologists
President Cohen introduced J.P. Abenstein, M.D., Speaker of the House of Delegates, and yielded the chair to him for the conduct of the meeting. Immediately upon establishing the presence of a quorum, Dr. Abenstein commended the Committee on Credentials for its service to the House during its deliberations. The Rules of Order were adopted, and the minutes of the ASA 2011 annual meeting of the HOD were approved without amendment.

Dr. Abenstein recognized Dr. Cohen, who presented remarks covering the events that occurred during his year as president. Dr. Cohen described the steps taken during the transition to a single CEO leadership structure and the process of conducting a national-level search for a new CEO. He described Dr. Fossum’s accomplishments as interim CEO and thanked her for her staff leadership. Dr. Cohen described ASA’s efforts related to scope of practice and increasing support in state-level advocacy. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as president and his appreciation for his fellow elected officers. The chair then recognized President-Elect John M. Zerwas, M.D., who presented remarks about his goal to align his presidency with ASA’s strategic plan. Dr. Zerwas described plans to focus on the society’s financial security, member benefits, advocacy efforts, educational materials and ASAPAC participation. He noted the importance of looking to the future, focusing on health policy and recognizing members for quality of care. Dr. Zerwas thanked the House for the opportunity to serve as president and for its deliberation on issues that will secure the practice of anesthesiology for those to come.

The 2012 meeting had two contested races. For ASA First Vice President, J.P. Abenstein, M.D. and Arthur Boudreaux, M.D., were candidates. For ASA Assistant Secretary, Scott B. Groudine, M.D. and Jeffrey Plagenhoef, M.D., were candidates. All other offices had one nominee each: Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D. for President-Elect; Arnold J. Berry, M.D. for Vice President for Scientific Affairs; Norman A. Cohen, M.D. for Vice President for Professional Affairs; Linda J. Mason, M.D. for Secretary; James D. Grant, M.D. for Treasurer; Mary Dale Peterson, M.D. for Assistant Treasurer; Steven L. Sween, M.D. for Speaker of the House of Delegates; and Ronald L. Harter, M.D. for Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates. Each nominee addressed the House as the concluding order of business of the Sunday HOD meeting. On Sunday afternoon, the four ASA reference committees heard testimony regarding the numerous reports and resolutions. The ASA HOD Handbook contained nearly 1,400 pages with more than 280 reports, many with associated action items (motions), making the work and recommendations of the reference committees even more important in ensuring that the deliberations of the HOD are accomplished in a fair and complete manner.

The Speaker, Dr. Abenstein, called the second session of the HOD to order at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 17. A quorum was confirmed with 364 properly credentialed and seated delegates. The registration figures for the annual meeting were announced: 14,100 for 2012 compared to 14,805 for 2011. A ballot vote was taken regarding the nomination of Jeffrey B. Cooper, Ph.D. for the 2012 Distinguished Service Award, and it passed by greater than two-thirds vote. Dr. Cooper will receive ASA’s highest honor, to be awarded at the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2013 annual meeting in San Francisco. The slate of uncontested candidates nominated for ASA offices was presented. There was no objection, and the officers were duly elected. It was announced that Dr. Abenstein had been elected ASA First Vice President, and Dr. Plagenhoef had been elected Assistant Secretary.

The balance of the deliberations of the 2012 ASA HOD was to consider the recommendations of the four reference committees, presented by their respective chairs in the following order:

Administrative Affairs Erin Sullivan, M.D.
Professional Affairs James R. Mesrobian, M.D.
Scientific Affairs Brenda A. Gentz, M.D.
Finance Christopher A. Yeakel, M.D.

The four committees considered the many reports referred to them and entertained testimony from ASA members. On the House floor, debate was offered on the Prevention of Post-Operating Vomiting (Pediatrics) – Multimodal Therapy, and the Clinical Performance Measure was passed with amendments. Similarly, ASA’s Statement on Granting Privileges to Nonanesthesiologist Physicians for Personally Administering or Supervising Deep Sedation was approved as amended. The House also adopted a Definition of “Immediately Available” when Medically Directing after extensive debate. Several revised statements and guidelines were approved, including the Statement on Comparing Anesthesiologist Assistant and Nurse Anesthetist Education and Practice and the Statement on Security of Medications in the Operating Room, which was reintroduced into ASA’s review cycle.

In conclusion, the ASA 2012 House of Delegates was an energized, concerned and passionate deliberative assembly ultimately responsible for nearly all of ASA’s activities and policies. As always, the wisdom and character of the HOD was most impressive, and the decisions were thoughtful. We hope all ASA members feel that the business of the HOD was guided by procedural safeguards and an orderly process. It is an honor and privilege to serve the ASA as speakers, and we pledge our continued service to improve the efficiency and the electronic sophistication of the ASA House of Delegates meetings.



Steven L. Sween, M.D. is on the Board of Directors and staff anesthesiologist at Physician Specialists in Anesthesia, PC in Atlanta.

Ronald L. Harter, M.D. is Jay J. Jacoby, M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Department of Anesthesiology, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio.



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