2013 ASA House of Delegates Speakers’ Summary

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January 1, 2014 Volume 78, Number 1
2013 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

President John M. Zerwas, M.D. called to order the opening session of the 66th meeting of the ASA House of Delegates (HOD) at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco at 8 a.m. on Sunday, October 13, 2013. There were 380 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 Father Dick Sparks, CSP, of Old St. Mary’s Cathedral. Thomas H. Swygert, M.D. then led members of the HOD in the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” During his opening remarks, Dr. Zerwas recognized the many honored guests present, representing anesthesia and medical societies from across the globe.


The winners of the 2013 Resident Research Essay Awards were acknowledged. They received their awards in conjunction with the ASA Celebration of Research program held on Monday, October 14. The 2013 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Research was James C. Eisenach, M.D., of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who is Professor of Obstetrical and Gynecological Anesthesiology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. President Zerwas announced the 2013 Presidential Scholar Award recipient, Sachin Kheterpal, M.D., M.B.A., Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Zerwas also recognized the 2013 resident group of FAER Scholars and retiring board members.


Dr. Zerwas introduced John F. Dombrowski, M.D., Chair of the Committee on Communications, who presented the 2013 ASA Philip S. Weintraub Media Awards. The broadcast award was presented to Adam Rubenstein, M.D., the print award was presented to Joe Cantlupe, the online award went to Eryn Brown, and the overall award was presented to Laura Beil.


Jeff Mueller, M.D., chair of the ASA Political Action Committee (ASAPAC), presented the committee’s 2013 report. 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 2013.


Highest Percent Participation  Maine Society of Anesthesiologists
Highest Total Dollars Raised Florida Society of Anesthesiologists
Special Distinction Arkansas Society of Anesthesiologists


President Zerwas introduced Paul Pomerantz, ASA’s CEO, who provided an executive office update to the HOD. President Zerwas then introduced Steven L. Sween, 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. Sween commended the Committee on Credentials for its service to the HOD during its deliberations. The Rules of Order were adopted, and the minutes of the 2012 annual meeting of the HOD were approved.


Dr. Sween recognized President Zerwas, who presented remarks covering the events that occurred during his year as president. Dr. Zerwas 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. Barbara Fossum’s important contribution as interim CEO and thanked her for her staff leadership. Dr. Zerwas spoke to changes in the specialty; the power of strategic planning; the need for anesthesiologists in a central role in delivering care; the spirit of volunteerism; and the sense of family ASA members create as they serve the interests of the specialty. Dr. Zerwas thanked his colleagues at the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists and his medical practice in Houston, as well as his family for their support.


The chair then recognized President Elect Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D., who described the issues most critical to patients. These include physician supervision of anesthesia care; the Perioperative Surgical Home initiative; efforts to take a critical look at how to improve anesthesia care; advocacy efforts; and truth and transparency legislation. Dr. Fitch also spoke of current ASA initiatives, such as the “When Seconds CountTM” educational efforts; communicating with patients, members and the public; providing up-to-date education for members; and publishing the journal Anesthesiology. Dr. Fitch thanked ASA leadership, the Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists, her department at Oklahoma University, and several friends and family for their support.


The 2013 meeting had one contested race. For ASA Vice President for Professional Affairs, Erin Sullivan, M.D. and Stanley W. Stead, M.D. were candidates. All other offices were uncontested: J.P. Abenstein, M.D., for President Elect; Daniel J. Cole, M.D., for First Vice President; Beverly K. Philip, M.D., for Vice President for Scientific Affairs; Linda J. Mason, M.D., for Secretary; Jeffrey Plagenhoef, M.D., for Assistant 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 more than 1,500 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. Sween, called the second session of the HOD to order at the Moscone Convention Center at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 16. A quorum was reconfirmed with 384 properly credentialed and seated delegates. The registration figures for the annual meeting were announced: 15,400 for 2013 compared to 14,566 for 2012. A ballot vote was taken regarding the nomination of John Neeld, Jr., M.D., for the 2013 Distinguished Service Award, and it passed by greater than two-thirds vote. Dr. Neeld will receive ASA’s highest honor, to be awarded at the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2014 annual meeting in New Orleans. The slate of uncontested candidates nominated for ASA offices was presented. There was no objection, and the officers were duly elected. Dr. Stead was elected ASA Vice President for Professional Affairs by ballot vote.


The balance of the deliberations of the 2013 ASA HOD was to consider the recommendations of the four reference committees, presented by their respective chairs in the following order:


Administrative Affairs  Mary Ellen Warner, M.D.
Professional Affairs Arthur M. Boudreaux, M.D.
Scientific Affairs Gary E. Palman, D.O.
Finance Peter Goldzweig, D.O.


On the House floor, significant debate and a number of amendments were offered for the report from the Committee on Governance Effectiveness and Efficiencies regarding revising the ASA Bylaws. After approximately two and a half hours of debate on the topic, the House approved the proposed bylaws language to provide for budget approval authority by the Board of Directors. The Committee on Governance Effectiveness and Efficiencies, in conjunction with the Committee on Bylaws, has been asked to provide continued clarification regarding the duties and authority of the HOD. Discussion also occurred regarding a motion for ASA to cover the cost of AMA membership dues for ASA residents; the House upheld the Board’s action to disapprove this motion. The House approved amendments to a resolution from the Committee on Critical Care Medicine regarding training EMS providers to manage the airway. The House approved a dues increase to $665 from $625 for active members.


In conclusion, the 2013 ASA House of Delegates was an energized and passionate assembly. 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 sophistication of the ASA House of Delegates proceedings.

Steven L. Sween, M.D. is Chair and Medical Director at Physician Specialists in Anesthesia PC, Atlanta.


Ronald L. Harter, M.D. is the Jacoby Professor and Chair, Department of Anesthesiology, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus.