Thursday, June 28, 2012

PETITE SELF PUFFERY

No serious blog today while we wait for the Supreme Court’s action on the Health Care Laws.

Those of you who know me have learned that I have never found a microphone I did not like. Thus I am not reticent to tell stories about myself.

In the early 80s, while President of the Hospital Medical Staff. I was one of the eight organizing members of the “Medical Society of N.J.’s, AMA Hospital Medical Staff Section”. As a member of its Governing Council and a delegate from our hospital, I would attend HMSS sessions at the semiannual AMA meetings. Several of us would routinely stay a few extra days in order to include the AMA Delegates Reference Committee meetings.

I would always attend the committee that was hearing proposed resolutions related to AIDS. Since the floor was open to all AMA members, I would advocate a more aggressive position then the AMA wanted to take. In fact the AMA was treating it a political and civil rights question from which it wished to disassociate itself.

I argued unsuccessfully that testing for AIDS was important; that it was not a matter of privacy or civil rights but public health. Also that there was the precedent of teh mandatory premarital serology testing for syphilis before it became a curable disease. I knew that we were faced with an epidemic and should not procrastinate.

Once when a prominent pathologist from California said it was not cost effective to test, I went to the microphone and after giving my affiliation, Muhlenberg Hospital, Plainfield N.J. I started my comments with “We who live between the gay white way and the City of Brotherly Love are seeing a rapid increase in cases”. I had not continued more than a few words, when a ripple of laughter began in the back and soon engulfed the room.

At another Reference Committee meeting there was a hearing on a resolution limiting the practice of the drug manufactures to give grants or gifts to physicians. Many of the speakers were opposing such a resolution especially those in academia who were afraid that this would stop there research grants.

This was not the target of the proposed resolution; rather it was the practice of the drug companies to reward those with large practices who were known to prescribe their drugs with dinners or day trips to some desirable site, or even “vacations” in the guise of educational courses. Of course spouses or significant others were included.

Post graduate education was becoming a requirement at that time and so many hours were needed. The companies would give a “course” part of the day on a subject that was related to a treatment they were pushing. There was always time for golf and or the beach.

I spoke for the resolution by alluding to the airlines frequent flyer programs as similar to the manufacture’s “rewards as “Frequent Prescriber Points”. My comments were quoted in the AMA news paper.

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