The Surgeon

A News Bulletin published by the Foundation for Abdominal Surgery,
One East Emerson Street, Melrose, MA 02176-3195
Editor: Demostene Romanucci, MD

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American Board of Abdominal Surgery

January 2004

In this issue:

28th HepatoBiliary Symposium

The 28th N. Frederick Hicken, M.D. Hepato-Biliary Symposium, November 7-9, 2003 was a resounding success. It was by far the largest number of registrants in the last 5 years. In addition, the tuition of $400.00 for Fellows/Members was the lowest in many years-$20.00 per credit with meals and refreshments. The $400.00 tuition was made possible by a Grant from the Foundation for Abdominal Surgery. The Foundation was created by you The Fellow with your donations and the understanding that income from these funds were to be used for CME by the ASAS, thereby reducing the cost of tuition. Honoraria is covered. (Phase I). Additional contributions will further reduce the tuition and cover the expenses of housing and travel for the faculty. This would conclude Phase II.

Phase III would create income to cover printing, announcements of meetings and mailings in addition to the final
program with abstracts of presentations.

Income needed for Phase II expense coverage in 2003 prices, is in the vicinity of $6000.00 per meeting.

Income needed to cover Phase III expense in 2003 prices is in the vicinity of $4200.00.

The completion of the three phases could reduce the tuition to around $300.00 (in 2003 prices)-to cover meals, staff and equipment. Estimated funds required to meet this goal is $175,000.00.

Your contribution is tax deductible and should be ear-marked CME-Income Producing Fund. As events have unfolded, we are no longer in need of soliciting funds from outside sources.

The Foundation for Abdominal Surgery (FAS) and its support has come through at the right time. Currently, the high cost of prescription drugs is being partially blamed on the prescribing practices of the physician, who by many sources feel is bought by the pharmaceutical industry with its heavy financial support of CME, gifts and entertainment. This is also projected to specialty societies, other medical organizations, medical schools, hospitals and pharmacists.
Recently, the ASAS received a questionnaire concerning the pharmaceutical companies financial support for their CME program for the most recent budget year and our reply:

  • Pharmaceutical Support for CME
  • Pharmaceutical Advertising in Journals
    and other publications
  • Other Grant support, donations from
    pharmaceutical companies

The ASAS attached an N.B. to its reply:

  1. Organizations writing most Rx's get the grants and contributions
  2. Reported Estimate - 5% of each CME dollar is for physician education
  3. CME is an excellent source of income
  4. Our CME cost is $20.00/credit, including breakfast, refreshments and noon meal.

Machiavelli wrote a treatise on the necessity of surveillance of the recipient of ones largesse. Its only a matter of time, events and fashion… and they will turn on you.

Should this assault on the pharmaceutical industry's financial support of CME continue, many organizations will be feeling severe financial constraints, due to their reliance on this funding.

We will not have to be concerned with conflicts arising for commercial support. We have none.

The 28th Hepato-Biliary Symposium was outstanding,
particular praise for the Real Time Surgery and operative video. This has had a very strong impact on the Society's Fellows and Members in that the Director of CME has been asked to contact Stryker Endoscopy for a survey of our Study Center and what it would involve, in equipment and cost, to install a Real Time Audio Visual System on the premises with direct and instant connection.

The non-video presentation was its usual excellence. The general evaluation forms supported this rating and more of the same has been requested. Dr. Albrink was asked by the overwhelming majority of attendees to cut short his prepared papers on Difficult Cholecystectomies and Management of Biliary Tract Injuries and instead address the Malpractice Problem in Florida.

New to the faculty were Dr. Murray Shames: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Management and Mesenteric Ischemia and Dr. John Cromwell on Hepatic Manifestations of Colorectal Disease. These presentations were rated excellent. Dr. Emmanuel Zervos made his usual superb presentation. Dr. Michel Murr and our own Dr. Kent Skogerson were praised for their presentations on Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Lewis Flint's presentation and particularly his abstract was rated outstanding. Professor Alexander S. Rosemurgy, MD is to be commended for the outstanding
program prepared by his department and for his excellent Grand Rounds, Sunday morning November 9, 2003.

The new caterer at the Study Center is the Cox Family. They come well recommended and performed up to their reputation. The Study Center was redecorated along with many changes and has a new refreshing look.

Room rates at the Wingate Inn have been negotiated for the meetings of the year 2004 @ $72.00 per day plus tax;
Tel: 813 979-2828 Fax: 813 977-1818; 3751 Ea. Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33612-6489.

An interesting item has been brought to our attention, by a person connected with the Medical Board.

To be implemented January 1, 2004 - A new Florida electronic continuing education tracking system for health care professionals.

This will create what they call Official Providers with a certificate fee of $250.00. The providers will submit attendance credits and topics, electronically, within 5 days of the CME meeting's conclusion.

Supposedly, in addition to the $250.00 for the certificate for the provider, the provider will likely pay a "Head Tax" to a CE - Broker, for all physicians licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the State of Florida.

Will this be specialty specific in addition to those state mandated topics?

The latest word is that the MD, DO is exempt. If this is a concern contact the Florida Medical Association.

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The American Society of Abdominal Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide Continuing Medical Education for Physicians. The American Society of Abdominal Surgeons is approved by the AMA/CME to grant Category1 credits towards the Physician's Recognition Award of its educational endeavors.

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