Town Hall Meeting Strikes Sparks

October 4, 2005

Anyone who says family physicians are a drab bunch didn't attend the Town Hall Meeting that preceded the American Academy of Family Physicians Scientific Assembly in San Francisco. Issues included FamMedPAC, AAFP's political action committee, and strike forces on reimbursement and medical liability, but a new governance structure sparked the most questions.

Anyone who says family physicians are a drab bunch didn't attend the Town Hall Meeting that preceded the American Academy of Family Physicians Scientific Assembly in San Francisco. Issues included FamMedPAC, AAFP's political action committee, and strike forces on reimbursement and medical liability, but a new governance structure sparked the most questions.

What happened to the resident-student commission?

Who handles rural health issues now that the Committee on Rural Health is passing into history?

Why do we need to shake up AAFP's governance structure in the first place?

Blame the 2004 Board of Directors.

The Academy has deliberately and systematically set out to hone its focus on strategic planning, explained former Shreveport, LA physician and 2004 Board chair Michael Fleming, M.D. During the Board's 2004 assessment, members realized that a new strategic plan needed a new, strategically aligned structure of committees and commissions.

The Board created a Subcommittee on Governance in 2004. Recommendations were approved in May,2005 and the changes are slated to take effect in 2006. The most obvious change is the creating of nine commissions and eight subcommittees.

"This is a new governance structure," Dr. Fleming told the Town Hall Meeting. "These are not our old commissions and committees with new names or new charges."

And what about the questions?

Rural patient issues will be considered by a new Subcommittee on Health Disparities & Underserved Populations of the Commission on Health of the Public. Physician issues will go to the Commission on Membership & Member Services. Residents and students aren't losing representation, Dr. Fleming said. Individual subcommittees within the new Commission on Membership will represent each group.