What happened at the ASA 2015 House of Delegates?

  • Moore, James, MD
| Nov 02, 2015

moore_james_90x125The 68th ASA House of Delegates (HOD) sailed through calm waters in the port city of San Diego at ANESTHESIOLOGY 2015.  The weather stayed sunny and warm all meeting, unlike the rains of 2010.  The good weather set the tone for this year’s HOD – while there was animated debate over some issues in the caucuses and reference committees, the House reached consensus with ease.

CSA members will be delighted to hear that no ASA membership dues increase will happen this year!

champeau_hertzbergOn October 28, the governance activities culminated in the election of Michael Champeau, MD, to the office of ASA Assistant Treasurer.  This was the only contested race, with three able and well-qualified candidates – Dr. Champeau, Steven Hattamer, MD (New Hampshire), and James West, MD (Tennessee).  After a yearlong series of visits to state society meetings, interviews, and parrying questions in the various regional delegate caucuses, our own past President, Dr. Champeau, won the election.  The candidates ran great campaigns, demonstrating professionalism and mutual respect.

Congratulations to Dr. Champeau, and thanks to all of you who helped contribute to the success of his campaign!

California leads ASA officer lineup

Continuing the CSA’s strong showing within ASA leadership, Dr. Champeau joins fellow Californians President Daniel Cole, MD, Secretary Linda Mason, MD, and Vice President for Professional Affairs Stan Stead, MD, MBA, as elected ASA officers.

Other ASA officers who ran uncontested for new office were Jeffrey Plagenhoef, MD, President-Elect, Jim Grant, MD, First Vice President, and Mary Dale Peterson, MD, Treasurer. Staying in their current offices are Beverly Philip, MD, Vice President for Scientific Affairs, John Dombrowksi, MD, Assistant Secretary, Steve Sween, MD, Speaker of the House, and Ronald Harter, MD, Vice-Speaker.

Recorded on location, ASA TV features video highlights and interviews from the meeting. Spotlighted in these are three Californians: Dr. Mason explains why “ASA Membership Matters,” Dr. Stead talks about the Perioperative Surgical Home, and I discuss quality reporting. You can find these and other video highlights by clicking here.

The CSA hotel suite was lively once again this year in the evenings at the annual meeting. It served not only as a social hub and a meeting place – for the Committee on Leadership Development & Nominations and other CSA activities – but also as a real asset for California, drawing many ASA leaders, delegates and visitors from across the country.

There were 14,366 attendees among all categories at this year’s Annual Meeting. Alex Hannenberg, MD, a past president of the ASA, was voted the Distinguished Service Award winner for 2015. The award will be presented at next year’s meeting.

Actions of the HOD

A few actions from the HOD regarding professional and scientific affairs are worth noting.  In the Professional Affairs Reference Committee report, the ASA Guidelines for the Ethical Practice of Anesthesiology were noted, specifically No. 5: “Physician anesthesiologists should provide preoperative evaluation care and should guide the process of informed decision-making, especially regarding the choice of anesthetic technique, regardless of whether the physician anesthesiologist is personally performing, medically directing, or supervising care.”

advocacyThe Committee on Performance and Outcomes Measurement (CPOM), which I chair, develops performance measures that the ASA submits to the National Quality Forum (NQF) for endorsement and to CMS for approval for use in federal quality reporting programs. Creating meaningful performance measures and having them approved for federal use for anesthesia care is now more important than ever with the government’s new emphasis on payment for value.

The HOD approved a new streamlined process for performance measure approval. With this change, the HOD can no longer amend proposed measures but can still approve, reject, or refer measures until the time that they are submitted to the NQF or CMS. Members of the HOD and all ASA members will have opportunities for input into the performance development process via a public comment period. When developing quality measures, CPOM will utilize committee expertise as well as additional resources (other ASA committees, the Anesthesia Quality Institute, and ASA methodologists).

The HOD affirmed the recommendations of the Board of Directors regarding practice guidelines for obstetric anesthesia, which are beginning the traditional ASA 2-year, $250,000 full review process. In addition, statements on pain relief during labor and on non-obstetric surgery during pregnancy were approved. Updated  “Practice Guidelines for the Prevention, Detection and Management of Respiratory Depression Associated with Neuraxial Opioid Administration” were also approved.

Congratulations to ASA President, Dr. Cole!

Dr. Cole received the gavel from departing President J. P. Abenstein, MD, and took office as the 80thpresident of the ASA. In a brief speech at the end of the HOD, he listed his goals during his presidency:

  • Protecting the highest quality, safest medical care, including physician-led anesthesiology care at the VA and in every state;
  • Navigating health care reform and the new MACRA mandates;
  • Differentiating ourselves as physician anesthesiologists in the areas of patient safety, scientific advancements, and advancing our physician “brand;” and
  • Fostering a member-driven organization; listening to and adopting priorities from the membership.

This year’s meeting serves as further evidence that California hosts the most outstanding meeting sites for the ASA. With the success of Dr. Champeau’s outdoor reception on Saturday evening, the Charitable Foundation Networking Event held at the Central Library on Sunday, and the President/President-Elect reception honoring Dr. Cole at the San Diego Natural History Museum on Monday, once again San Diego proved to be a great venue for the meeting.

CSA leadership would like to thank all members for their support of CSA over the past year. You have helped make CSA an example that the other state component societies respect and admire. We are proud to represent you and all California physician anesthesiologists at the ASA.  

Mark Zakowski, MD, CSA President-Elect, also contributed to this article.

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