MAFP Members Highlight End-of-Life Care, Firearm Safety and Pharmacy Issues at 2014 AAFP Congress of Delegates

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Oct. 19-22, a delegation of MAFP members traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual American Academy of Family Physicians’ Congress of Delegates. Representing the Michigan chapter as voting delegates were Robert Reneker, MD, FAAFP (Grandville), and Angelo Patsalis, MD, FAAFP (Livonia). Peter Graham, MD (East Lansing), and Jennifer Aloff, MD, FAAFP (Midland), represented Michigan as alternate delegates to the Congress.

The AAFP Congress of Delegates—the policy-making body for the AAFP—is a multi-day event that includes discussion on dozens of resolutions proposed by member states, campaigns and elections of new AAFP officers and Board members and social events dedicated to uniting AAFP members and chapter staff.

The election on Wednesday, October 22, ushered in new faces to the Academy’s leadership, including a new President-elect, four directors, a new physician board member, a resident board member and student board member. Speaker, John Meigs Jr., MD of Brent, Alabama was re-elected as was Vice Speaker, Javette Orgain, MD, MPH of Chicago, Illinois. Robert Wergin, MD of Milford, Nebraska was installed as the new President, replacing Reid Blackwelder, MD, FAAFP of Kingsport, Tennessee.


Michigan Resolutions

The Michigan Chapter was particularly active this year, offering four resolutions before the AAFP Congress, each of which were approved by the MAFP Annual Meeting on July 18. The reference committee reports with Congress actions can be viewed here (AAFP username and password required).

MAFP’s resolution entitled “End of Life Care Planning”, which was referred to the Reference Committee on Health of the Public and Science called on the AAFP to support and develop policy on centralized registries for advanced directives, much like Michigan’s “Peace of Mind Registry”. MAFP Alternate Delegate, Jennifer Aloff, MD, FAAFP (pictured right), presented the resolution. After hearing the majority of testimony in support, the reference committee recommended a substitute resolution, which was ultimately approved by the Congress.

MAFP’s resolution entitled "Aligning AAFP Firearm Policies with Other National Medical Organizations” was referred to the Committee on Advocacy. The resolution called on the AAFP to augment its current policy on firearm safety. MAFP Delegate, Robert Reneker, MD, FAAFP (pictured below), presented the resolution, stating that it is “invaluable to get really good data [to supplement our efforts on this issue]”…and that this resolution is “not meant to restrict legal access and ownership”. Following testimony for and against, the reference committee recommended a substitute resolution, which was subsequently approved by the Congress.

MAFP also offered a resolution entitled "Rapid Diagnostic Testing in the Community Pharmacy." This resolution, referred to the Reference Committee on Advocacy, called on the AAFP to oppose rapid diagnostic testing and treating by pharmacists without proper physician supervision, an effort already underway in some Michigan pharmacies. MAFP Delegate, Angelo Patsalis, MD, FAAFP, spoke in support, stating that first and foremost, “Family Physicians are committed to patient safety”. The Congress approved the reference committee’s recommendation to refer the resolution to the AAFP Board of Directors.

Finally, MAFP offered a resolution entitled “Oppose Attempts by Health Plans to Limit Certain Procedures Provided by Primary Care Physicians." Referred to the Reference Committee on Practice Enhancement, MAFP Alternate Delegate, Peter Graham, MD, presented the resolution. Most of the testimony that was heard was supportive of the resolution and the reference committee recommended that the resolution be reaffirmed as current policy. Congress accepted the reference committee’s recommendation.

Other issues debated included AAFP’s ongoing alliance with Coca-Cola, e-cigarettes and single payer health care. For minutes from the meetings, please click here. For more information about the event, visit AAFP.org.