Outgoing TMA President Dr. Michael Minch of Nashville (left) welcomes his successor, Dr. Wiley Robinson of Memphis, during the inauguration ceremony at the 177th annual meeting of the TMA. PHOTO: Crystal Hogg/TMA
The Tennessee Medical Association recently wrapped up MedTenn 2012, the organization’s 177th
annual meeting. During the three-day event held in Nashville in mid-April, the association, which represents more than 8,000 physician members and 44 component medical societies statewide, installed the new board and honored a number of leaders for efforts to improve the health of Tennesseans.
2012-13 TMA Officers
President: Dr. Wiley Robinson (Memphis), internal medicine specialist and hospitalist
President-Elect: Dr. Christopher Young (Chattanooga), anesthesiologist
Chairman of TMA Board of Trustees: Dr. Keith Anderson (Germantown), cardiologist
Vice-Chairman of TMA Board of Trustees: Dr. Richard Briggs (Knoxville), cardio-thoracic surgeon
Secretary/Treasurer: Dr. James “Pete” Powell (Franklin), internal medicine and pediatric physician
Meetings covered a broad range of topics impacting the delivery of healthcare and patient outcomes including the impact of the pending ICD-10 coding system on physician quality management and daily workflow, addressing the epidemic of Tennessee prescription drug use and abuse crisis, the impact of healthcare reform regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, and current efforts to create Tennessee’s health insurance exchange. The House of Delegates (HOD) also met for a two-day session to adopt new policies and resolutions.
The state’s per-capita prescriptions and prescription overdose deaths were main focuses of the meeting and of a new HOD resolution. In opening remarks as moderator of the “Tennessee Physicians’ Response to Prescription Abuse,” Michael Baron, MD, said, “Our country uses 95 percent of the world’s hydrocodone. This epidemic is out of control.” Panelis Steve Dickerson, MD, a Nashville anesthesiologist, noted, “Our goal is to treat as much pain as possible with as little opiate as possible.” To that end, the panel explored a number of solutions including best practices and public awareness. The TMA has also recently launched a video series pertaining to the topic.
Robinson Installed as President
Wiley T. Robinson, MD, co-founder of Memphis-based Inpatient Physicians of the Mid-South, was installed as the TMA’s 158th president during the meeting. Robinson, who has been a TMA delegate since starting practice, has served on the Board of Trustees twice including a previous stint as Speaker of the House of Delegates.
As for the coming year in his role as president, Robinson said, “We have a very ambitious schedule.” He added, “I’m a form and function kind of guy. I want to make sure our organization is structured properly so that it 1) serves the membership and 2) serves the public, as well.”
Robinson noted the TMA has a number of working committees that have been involved to various degrees over the years as need has warranted. “This year they will all be active as they all have duties and goals to achieve this year,” he said, adding, “One person can’t do it all. That’s why I value the committee structure.”
In the coming months, Robinson said, the Practice Management and Quality Committee will be focused on the implementation of electronic health records, issues surrounding ICD-10 implementation, and utilizing mid-level providers to enhance physician practices. The Insurance Issues Committee will study regulations and policy issues tied to the launch of accountable care organizations and health insurance exchanges.
The Professional Relations Committee typically works with physicians in medical specialties and other health-related entities. This year, said Robinson, “We want to ensure they enhance relations with hospitals and allied health professionals across the state. We want those relationships to be good … we all want to improve the care of Tennessee, and we want to be working together.”
The Public Health Committee will be fully engaged in dealing with prescribing issues in Tennessee, particularly as it relates to the growing prescription addiction crisis. “There’s actually legislation out there right now to deal with this,” said Robinson. “It does need some tweaking, but it’s a good first start.” He added an issue is that the current database isn’t always up-to-date and is sometimes difficult to access. “We feel like physicians need some assistance in complying with the law.” To that end, he continued, TMA is focusing continuing medical education on the subject of appropriate prescribing … not just of narcotics but also of antibiotics and other common drugs.
Robinson said the Membership Committee has a goal to exceed the current numbers with a focus on bot retention and attracting new members. He also said the Legislative Committee would, as always, be busy. “It’s really a year-round job,” he said of following, reviewing and explaining potential legislation.
The TMA, Robinson pointed out, has been around since the mid-1800s. “We’ve been serving the citizens of the state of Tennessee and its physicians for a long time.” The organization’s longevity and effectiveness, he continued, is attributable to teamwork.
“We’ve got a great organization and outstanding staff, and they deserve the lion’s share of the credit,” he said. “We also have a large number of physicians across the state that do a tremendous amount of volunteer work … largely unknown. They also deserve a tremendous amount of credit.”
Awards & Recognition
Along with business meetings and educational forums, the TMA uses its annual meeting to honor outstanding physicians and community members who have impacted medicine in the past year. In 2012, award winners, were announced in each of the three state regions.
In Middle Tennessee, Subhi D. Ali, MD, of Waverly was given the “Outstanding Physician” award by the HOD. Ali, a former TMA president, has held numerous roles in organized medicine including being a longtime delegate to the American Medical Association and member and secretary of the Tennessee Board of Examiners. The native of Palestine and decorated U.S. military veteran serves as chief of surgery and vice chief of staff at Three Rivers Hospital.
M. Craig Ferrell, MD, of Franklin received the “Distinguished Service” award, which is presented by the TMA Board of Trustees to exemplary members for notable achievements during the past year. Ferrell, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and founder of Vanderbilt Bone & Joint Clinic, was nominated by the Nashville Academy of Medicine for raising the bar in equestrian safety and for his support of adults with special needs. Ferrell is a former chair and current board member of Brightstone, which provides comprehensive programming for special needs adults in Middle Tennessee. He is also known around the globe for his work in caring for Olympic athletes, particularly the swim and equestrian teams.
The TMA “Community Service” award was presented to Mayor Karl Dean for his innovative quest to transform Nashville into a healthier city. In 2011, Mayor Dean challenged and inspired more than 10,000 Nashville residents to get more physically active through two highly-successful healthy living campaigns: “Walk 100 Miles with the Mayor” and the “Mayor’s Challenge 5K Walk/Run.” Last month, he held the “Mayor’s Field Day with the Tennessee Titans” at LP Field to help families explore new, fun ways to get active. Since taking office, Dean has allocated, and the Metro Council has approved, more than $108 million on health-related infrastructure.