From the President
The Summit for the Future of Allergy and Immunology, taking place October 19-22 in Washington, DC, is quickly approaching. This event encompasses one of my presidential initiatives and I’ve focused on why I believe it’s crucial in a previous message. With the logistics and attendees solidified, I can now share further details with you about what will take place there.
First, let’s set the stage. The healthcare, research, pharmaceutical and regulatory environment in which physicians operate is rapidly evolving. Reimbursement for physician services is changing from “fee for service” to “outcomes” based compensation. Physicians are moving away from private practice to working as employees for healthcare systems. Compensation of physician employees is increasingly based on outcomes prioritized by the healthcare organization. These changes represent significant challenges for physicians of all types, but this is especially true for allergy/immunology (A/I).
I’m not saying all of this to scare you into early retirement. Rather the point is to emphasize that we cannot sit idly by and hope for the best. We have to take a proactive approach to ensuring our future. To do so, it is essential that we examine how A/I services are (and will be) compensated, as well as how we provide value added to patients, the public, organized healthcare entities and other stakeholders. We also need to understand how healthcare funding and organizational decisions will be made that impact our specialty.
Thus, the overall agenda for the Summit for the Future of Allergy and Immunology is built to allow us to undertake a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of specific factors facing our specialty. The format is designed to include a number of overview presentations by presenters with specific expertise or experience in these areas, followed by breakout sessions in which workgroups will be asked to undertake a SWOT analysis/discussion of specific questions.
At the end of Friday and Saturday, workgroup leaders will report out on the results of each workgroup discussion, followed by a general group discussion. On Sunday morning, a summary discussion will be conducted. The results of this Summit will ultimately be developed into a white paper and shared with AAAAI leaders and members.
To give you an idea of what the overview presentations will address, here is a list of the topics:
- Current A/I Clinical Revenue Streams
- Future Trends in Healthcare Delivery and Reimbursement
- How Do Payors View A/I?
- Corporate A/I and New Employment Patterns for Physicians
- Scope of Practice Opportunities for A/I
- A/I Clinical Finances in the Academic Healthcare Setting
- Research Funding for A/I
- Training the Next Generation of A/I Physicians
- Why Should Your Healthcare System Care about A/I?
- MOC and Other Regulatory Issues
The questions that the workgroups will discuss in the breakout sessions are related to these areas. Examples include: What is the future for immunotherapy and skin testing in allergy practice? What A/I activities and services will payors embrace as value-added? Will more A/I physicians be in practice or employed physicians, and what are the pros and cons of each? How do A/I physicians position themselves in the evolving medical market place?
As I’ve mentioned previously, it is very important that we involve both voices inside and outside the specialty at the Summit. Thus we will have representation from the AAAAI Executive Committee and Board of Directors, interest sections, the Federation of Regional, State and Local Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Societies Assembly, Office of Practice Management and our journals. We will also have representation from academic administrators, government, payors, large group practices and related organizations including the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Since we are a small specialty, I feel that it is important to have as unified a view on our future as possible, or at least to have an open discussion on our differences in opinion.
As I look forward to the Summit, I am eager to get all of our participants’ perspectives, which will help us organize our lobbying, programming and educational initiatives to prepare us to compete successfully in the ever-changing healthcare environment.
David B. Peden, MD, MS, FAAAAI
Last updated: October 12, 2017
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