Administrative Update  |   July 2017
Update on the Division of Professional Affairs: Advocacy Challenges Facing Us in 2017 and Beyond
Author Affiliations
  • Stanley W. Stead, M.D., M.B.A.
    ASA Vice President for Professional Affairs
Article Information
Advocacy and Legislative Issues / Administrative Update
Administrative Update   |   July 2017
Update on the Division of Professional Affairs: Advocacy Challenges Facing Us in 2017 and Beyond
ASA Monitor 07 2017, Vol.81, 6-9.
ASA Monitor 07 2017, Vol.81, 6-9.
As the year immediately following a national election, 2017 may lead physicians to want to relax and recover from such a tumultuous election. However, we must continue to advocate for our patients and our role as physician anesthesiologists in perioperative care, critical care medicine, pain medicine and medicine as a whole. Anesthesiologists need to plan and prepare for future success in a rapidly evolving and value-based health care system. We must remain vigilant.
I divide our advocacy challenges into four major areas: Value, Risk, Volume and Workforce (Figure 1).
Maintaining our value in patient care seems easy, but there are a number of forces to diminish our roles as physicians. Disruptive public policies are not just an existential threat. The right policies can drive innovation, not stifle it. New policies enable new technologies and new practice models to emerge, evolve and grow. A disruptive change in policy was the Affordable Care Act. Whether these policies are sustained or not, it fundamentally changed the thinking on how health care should be paid for and what services are included. These changes, in turn, have driven health care to become more transparent with regard to costs and outcomes, and subsequently the connection between payment and quality. How will these policies reduce the barriers to entry for new technologies or new practice models? Will the policies favor emerging alternatives or the scale of existing models? Will these policies provide new, critical infrastructure upon which new technologies, new business models and new practice models will operate and grow? Finally, will these policies apportion the social costs of competing alternatives, changing the value proposition of technologies, businesses and practice models?
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