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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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July 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 7
Administrative Update: Good News – ASA More Than 50,000 Members Strong Linda J. Mason, M.D. ASA Secretary

As ASA Secretary, I am pleased to share with you that at the end of calendar year 2012, membership in the Society had surpassed the 50,000-member mark! This goal was met one year before the date set by the ASA strategic plan. A special thank you must go to Celeste Kirschner, Director of Membership Services; Rachel Rusch, Membership Development Manager; the Committee on Membership; and the others who worked so diligently at ASA to make this happen. In addition, all ASA members are to be commended for their support of the Society.

If you are reading this article, you are more than likely a member but it is very important to the goals of the Society that we continue to grow the active membership. We will need your help to make this happen – to encourage members of your groups who are not ASA members to join and residents who are joining your practices to transition to active membership. As active members, you see the importance of ASA membership, but I would like to give you some current information about the benefits of membership that you can discuss with your colleagues.

1. Advocacy: advocacy is the lifeblood of the Society. The ASA Advocacy Division works tirelessly at not only the national legislative forefront but also the regulatory and component society level to allow us to safely care for our patients. Current top national legislative efforts this year will be directed at drug shortages, rural access to anesthesiology services, Medicare payment reform (sustainable growth rate [SGR] reform, Independent Payment Advisory Board [IPAB] repeal), advancing the Perioperative Surgical Home, and maintaining physician-led care (maintaining the physician supervision requirement, truth and transparency, and repeal of non-discrimination provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [PPACA]).

 On the regulatory payment issues, the Society is working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) representatives to determine how the value-based payment modifier can be logically and effectively applied to anesthesiologists, and identifying 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System measures for potential use by anesthesiologists to measure quality for value-based payments. Also, the first Quality Conference will be launched in 2013.

 Three major state issues include chronic pain management payment from Medicare funds and the importance of recognizing that interventional pain management is the practice of medicine, opposing state Medicare opt-outs and promoting new legislation and training programs for anesthesiologist assistants. The yearly ASA Legislative Conference presents updates on these important issues.

2. Patient Safety: the Anesthesia Quality Institute is a data resource that will allow us to compare our outcomes and improve our patient care. The Committee on Standards and Practice Parameters is constantly revising and implementing ASA standards, guidelines and statements that are important to our practice and safe patient care. These are formulated by a team of experts who look at the scientific validity of the data and form a consensus. These are very valuable when there are negotiations with hospitals and regulatory agencies.

3. Practice Management: ASA sponsors a superb practice management meeting each year to update members on new billing and regulatory requirements.

4. Education: ASA organizes the premier anesthesiology educational meeting each year to keep our members updated on new scientific information. Members receive a discount to attend the ASA annual meeting and also receive a discount for educational materials such as the Anesthesiology Continuing Education (ACE) and Self-Education and Evaluation (SEE) programs, which are important to Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA®) for continued board certification. In addition, ASA is a large contributor to the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, through which new and established researchers can obtain support and keep the specialty at the cutting edge of the advancement of knowledge in medicine.

So why join ASA? The real question is why not join? Together we are stronger; and being stronger, our specialty will continue to fulfill the mission statement: “Advancing the practice and securing the future.” This allows us as anesthesiologists to practice our specialty at the highest level and safely care for our patients.

Linda J. Mason, M.D. is Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics, Department of Anesthesiology, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, California.

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