Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2020 - 4

President's Message

Dear BCMS Member,
PAMED Priorities Set at the House of Delegates
Your Berks County Medical Society team continues to play a significant role in Harrisburg. One of
the most valuable is active participation in the Pennsylvania Medical Society House of Delegates (HOD),
an annual meeting each October. During this event, the PA Medical Society Board of Directors is given
clear instructions for the upcoming year. For those of you who "geek out" on politics and rules of order,
the HOD allows us as individuals to have an active role in the statewide efforts of PAMED. If you have
any interest in having a direct effect on the Medical Society and our state legislators (which you should!),
participation gives you this power.
Michael L. Haas, MD
President

This year we fielded a strong team of Delegates, including the majority of the officers. I was joined
by Dr. Jin Xu (Secretary), Dr. Ankit Shah (Treasurer) and Dr. Jillian Ventuzelo (President Elect). Dr.
Raymond Truex and Dr. Dan Kimball were active participants as always, providing a strong historical
perspective to guide our votes. Drs. Vinti Shah and David Del Negro rounded out the Berks County
squad. Of course, our influence did not stop there. Specialty societies have seats at the table and
multiple Berks County physicians were there as representatives of their specialties.
The HOD resolutions generated a great deal of discussion. The area that received the most attention
was whether PA Med would take a stand on the legalization of recreational marijuana. The original
resolution would have called for PA Med to strongly oppose legalization. Not surprisingly, many
delegates struggled with this language. During the session one of the representatives of the Early Career
Physician section proposed alternative language that would support decriminalization of marijuana,
which the House strongly endorsed, while still suggesting that education/study regarding effects of
routine use should be undertaken. It was invigorating to watch the process unfold. The HOD got
it right.
#FixPriorAuth required less discussion. Not surprisingly, Delegates were vocal
in their support of resolutions to address this issue that (as we have previously
discussed) is severely affecting quality, safety, and appropriateness of care. The
HOD also voted in favor of a resolution to support a ban on the sale of energy
drinks to those under 18 years of age.
The opioid epidemic continues to be of great concern to PA doctors. The
HOD approved a resolution to support the creation of safe injection sites,
where people can use illicit drugs with trained staff ready to respond in case of
an overdose. Not surprisingly, there have been court challenges to attempts to
build the first safe injection site in Pennsylvania. As noted in a recent PAMED
press release, "Safe injection sites have existed in Europe, Australia, and Canada
since 1988. Studies from those countries show that safe injection sites can reduce
overdose deaths, disease transmission, injection-related infections, and emergency
department utilization." It is also estimated that such sites in PA would save the
state over $70 million annually.
During HOD, Lawrence R. John, MD, was sworn in as the 170th President of
PA Med with an agenda that promises action to improve quality of life for member
physicians and prevent/minimize physician burnout. Also, our own Dr. Truex
was honored with the Pennsylvania Medical Society's (PAMED) Distinguished
Service Award for Lifetime Achievement. Those of us who have had the privilege
to work with Dr. Truex recognize that his dedication to service and support of his
colleagues and patients are unparalleled.
For a more thorough review of resolutions adopted this year, visit https://www.pamedsoc.org/houseof-delegates/hod-articles/HOD-2019-overview.

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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2020

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