Combining education and advocacy at Internal Medicine 2008

This issue highlights events at Internal Medicine 2008, the College's annual meeting.

This issue highlights events at Internal Medicine 2008, the College's annual meeting. More than 6,000 physicians, students and allied health professionals attended the meeting in Washington, D.C., which featured more than 260 lectures, panel discussions and workshops focusing on clinical issues, practice management and health policy. Our coverage continues throughout this issue.

This year was especially notable for coinciding with Leadership Day. More than 500 attendees took advantage of the opportunity to lobby their state legislators on Capitol Hill about the potentially devastating impact of continuing Medicare payment cuts, including primary care shortages, students opting for subspecialties and physicians turning away Medicare patients. They got a sympathetic ear from many legislators, who agreed that the system is in need of an overhaul, but their support stopped short of firm financial commitments. College members pushed for approval of $500 million to fund a Medicare pilot of the patient-centered medical home but it was a tough sell.

The patient-centered medical home has garnered widespread support and is emerging as the best hope for sustainable, long-term system reform. Under this model, primary care physicians would be compensated for coordinating patient care and rewarded based on quality rather than volume of services. For more about Leadership Day, read Stacey Butterfield's article.

Also, read the latest installment of Mindful Medicine with Jerome Groopman, FACP, and Pamela Hartzband, FACP. The columnists consider the case of a young woman who is hospitalized for persistent congestion and breathing trouble, initially diagnosed as asthma. However, the true diagnosis turns out to be something quite different.

ACP Internist's blog is up and running. The site is updated daily with news and commentary as well as some lighter fare, such as the weekly feature “Medical News of the Obvious.” The blog will feature posts and discussions by some of our expert columnists in the coming months. I look forward to hearing your comments.