One of the many purposes of the Committee on Young Physicians is to educate and support our demographic within the ever-changing health care landscape. Recently, in August 2013, ASA members were able to hear a compelling webinar from Mike Schweitzer, M.D. on the changing nature of the practice of anesthesia in a post-Affordable Care Act environment. In his presentation, Dr. Schweitzer discussed the Perioperative Surgical Home concept of care and explained how preoperative health care management and improved integration in the postoperative care of patients will become essential. Most notably, he emphasized the impending changes related to payment and reimbursement, including penalties for readmissions and preventable complications. One of Dr. Schweitzer’s concluding thoughts was a challenge specifically for anesthesiologists, as leaders of the perioperative care team, to be on the forefront of adapting to these new payment methodologies coming in the future.
Young physicians have a great opportunity to meet the challenge put forth by Dr. Schweitzer by responding to these changes and positively influencing patterns of practice. For young physicians, the question that remains is not Will my practice change in the future? but rather To what degree will my practice change and how can I be best prepared to adapt?
Leading up to annual meetings, the committee considers resolutions and reports on policy issues, particularly those impacting young practicing physicians, including the aforementioned Perioperative Surgical Home. Whether in person, or via electronic means, the committee offers many avenues to be heard. As chair of the Committee on Young Physicians, I would like to encourage all ASA members who represent the young physician demographic to attend committee meetings at future ASA annual meetings. I also would encourage you to seek membership to the Young Physicians Community on the ASA website.
The annual meeting also presents an opportunity for members of the committee to network with other members. During these positive and productive sessions, we share thoughts on how best to carry out policies that will allow physicians to accomplish their highest goal: to provide the best care to patients. As alluded to earlier, young physicians need to be particularly active in this arena, given that even small changes in our health care delivery system will have vast effects on their practice patterns.
As a reminder, ASA ascribes to the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) definition of a “young physician,” which is a physician who is either: a) under the age of 40 or b) within eight years of completion of residency or fellowship. The transition from residency/fellowship to life as an attending physician represents one of the more challenging experiences in one’s clinical career. Similarly, the transition out of the Resident and Fellow Section within ASA is also challenging. Maintaining the degree of ownership and involvement one experiences as a resident/fellow can be difficult. The Committee on Young Physicians serves to facilitate and encourage continued involvement in the well-organized but often overwhelming structure of ASA.
The Committee on Young Physicians also represents the young physician demographic within ASA to the AMA’s Young Physician Section. As noted in prior committee updates, two members of the ASA’s Committee on Young Physicians serve as delegates to the AMA’s Young Physician Section during the AMA’s Interim and Annual Meetings. In the most recent meetings, delegates from ASA have represented the Society strongly on issues related to scope of practice and public health issues such as the clarification of obesity as a disease. The Committee on Young Physicians is happy to note that a member, Jesse Ehrenfeld, is running for the Young Physician Board seat within the AMA Board of Trustees.
The committee wishes to thank the ASA Board of Trustees and executive leadership for their continued support. The process of incorporating young physicians into the mainstream of ASA can be challenging, but with each passing year the committee counts further successes, and in doing so, helps to ensure a more positive and productive ASA.
Joshua Lumbley, M.D., MBOE is Assistant Professor, Clinical, Department of Anesthesiology, Director of Anesthesia Services, The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University.