By Jesse Spencer, UAFP Delegate

Greetings from Philadelphia, day #3!  We are having a great time advocating for our patients and for our peers, surrounded by like-minded people who radiate passion for our craft. It’s hard to summarize but I thought I would try my hand at a haiku to mix it up a bit.

Revolution- YEAH!

Country and family med.

Philadelphonic!

Turns out, I’m not real good at haiku but I do find a little happiness in counting out consonants and thinking of you all doing the same. Feel free to stop there or read on for some more specifics.  

The day in Congress had several highlights. We were able to recognize and award family physicians who have given their all to their patients and communities. It’s always inspiring to hear their stories and reflect on our own hero family physicians in Utah who have done the same and inspire me to be a better physician daily. 

The Congress heard from the candidates running for AAFP President and we will be voting on Wednesday. We are certainly going to be in good hands with our leadership moving forward. These are dedicated physicians who recognize well our value and challenges.

 

We heard about revolutionary changes that need to occur in primary care payment models and workflows, protecting our own physicians to ultimately protect our patients, and not letting other people define who we are as family docs. It really is powerful to hear and see the passion of those who lead our AAFP. 

We spent most of the day hearing back from the multiple reference committees as they reported on the resolutions that had been debated the day before. These committees have a tall order- take all the information from the debates and present a final suggestion for the Congress to consider. We hear that one committee was still working at 3 AM this morning to get it right. The resolutions from Utah did well and were not debated today. The Congress agreed that the AAFP should work to better cross promote CME events of state chapters by improving the functionality of the online platform. Thanks Utah!  Our resolution about tax incentives and loan forgiveness for choosing family medicine was referred to the Board of Directors. The reference committee and Congress felt that this is a complex issue with not fully understood ramifications. Referring to the Board means that this group commits to further study and make an official decision sometime within the next year. Stay tuned!  We also co-sponsored a resolution with Colorado about making a new CME category to help learning on health care economics and policy. This was also sent to the Board of Directors despite a challenge on the floor today that this should happen sooner rather than later. Again, stay tuned!

The Congress experienced some crazy parliamentary procedure madness. Amendments, second amendments, and a call to suspend parliamentary procedure rules as an attempt to get things back in order. Very interesting and very grateful that there are people willing to lead us through these wicked parliamentary webs. The debate was always respectful and again made me proud to be a family physician.  A lot of the discussion focused on several resolutions that came up this year about reproductive rights. Essentially, it was felt that the AAFP already has a strong position that represents our physicians and patients. Here is a link to current policy, it’s worth a look:

https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/reproductive-decisions.html

Your delegation spent the evening walking around old town Philadelphia and marveling at the history and courage of our earliest Americans.  It’s truly an honor to represent you and I appreciate the opportunity to be here with our FM leaders from across the nation. It’s invigorating and refreshing. It inspires hope. As we think of our profession, our communities and the many challenges that seem insurmountable, I think it wise to consider the words of a Philly favorite, Benjamin Franklin, “When in doubt, don’t.”

The Utah delegation, left to right, Chad Spain, alternate delegate, Jesse Spencer, delegate, Maryann Martindale, UAFP Executive Director, Sarah Woolsey, alternate delegate, and Kirsten Stoesser, delegate. Picture taken on Elfreth’s Alley, the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited residential street.