December 4, 2015

This BOG Update is brought to you by Joel Landzberg, MD, FACC, Governor of the New Jersey Chapter of the ACC.

Joel Landzberg, MD, FACCDo you really want to know what keeps me up at night? Writing articles about what keeps me up at night. Truth be told, I'm usually a pretty good sleeper. Okay, maybe my wife says I snore a little bit, but in general it's lights out and I'm asleep. But now, it's late at night and I'm concerned about what to write for this BOG Update, because as you will find out, my biggest concern is relevancy.

I was concerned about relevancy when I used to write out checks for my annual ACC membership. What was I really getting for my membership dues? I was concerned about relevancy when I made the three hour round trip drives to our New Jersey council meetings. Would the meeting be worth missing several hours' worth of patients in the office and an evening at home? I was concerned about relevancy when I ran for Governor. Could I increase attendance at our chapter meetings, and would the BOG actually be relevant to the decision making process of the ACC Trustees on behalf of our members?

And of course, I am concerned about the relevancy of this message to my fellow Governors. I know how busy you all are. Busy practices. Busy home lives. Piles of unread journals and unread emails. In the last week, I counted 45 emails from the ACC, not including the emails related to my New Jersey Chapter. So if you actually happen to open my email, and then proceed to read it, will it be relevant? Will it be worth your time?

As a first year Governor, I think the early returns and answers are yes! We are relevant. But there is certainly room to grow.

On the state level, we have quadrupled attendance by adding featured speakers to our seasonal business meetings. We have increased Fellows-in-Training participation by appointing liaisons from each training program, awarding grants to the ACC's Annual Scientific Sessions for fellowship programs that work with us, and we have started a fellows research symposium. But we have plenty of room to grow, with active engagement of less than 10 percent of our members.

On the national level, we must increase our focus on remaining relevant to our members. We can be relevant in the areas of population health, education, and transforming care, but we cannot lose sight of what should be our primary focus: to be relevant to our cardiovascular team providers. We were slow to respond to the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) unreasonable Maintenance of Certification (MOC) demands, as we waited for others to start the rebellion before joining in. We need to remain committed to seeing that ABIM eliminates the 10-year recertification exam and substitutes more meaningful Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities. If we think the mindless memorization of useless facts was bad for ABIM recertification, as a father of two children in medical school, I can attest that Step 1 and Step 2 are orders of magnitude worse, and would love to see this changed. If anyone is involved with this process, let me know and I will be glad to help. Also, in the rush for government to pay us based on quality, and for the media to publish our quality report cards, we must be at the forefront in acknowledging that we really don't do a very good job measuring quality at the current time. Yes, we should develop better metrics, but let's be honest with the public, the media and the government that we really don't know how to measure quality yet.

On a personal level, the BOG has been very relevant and worthwhile. In just a short time, I have made friends from around the country, and developed a support system where I can get answers to patient questions, practice questions or referral questions with a quick phone call or email.

With my experiences of the last 18 months, I do feel better about having written 24 years' worth of membership dues to the ACC, my numerous evenings spent traveling to state chapter meetings, and the time commitments of being a Governor. I look forward to continuing to learn from my fellow Governors and working to keep our ACC relevant to our members. Wishing everyone a good night's sleep and pleasant dreams.