|Leonard Weather Jr., R.Ph., M.D.
The 2010 NMA Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly at the Gaylord Palms, Orlando, Fla., was a great success with large crowds and timely presentations, said NMA President Leonard Weather Jr., R.Ph., M.D.
"The event was well attended and, as we usually find at the NMA meetings, it was par excellence," Dr. Weather said.
Educational sessions focusing on the effect of health system reform and technical advances that could help reduce health care disparities were standout presentations on the program, he said.
"It allows reimbursement for physicians who use the certificated electronic medical record," Dr. Weather said of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. "Typically with these dictates, we are supposed to abide by them, but we are not given resources to comply with them. In this case, if people are compliant, they can get reimbursement.
"There is a timeline, so it was imperative to present this information to let the average physician know that he or she must begin to do something in regards to this or lose out. The longer they wait, the monies will decrease."
Traditionally, the elimination of health disparities is the emphasis of the NMA, and HITECH can play a key role in accomplishing that goal, Dr. Weather said. With the advent of health system reform, and HITECH, great strides could be made in the coming year to reduce or eliminate disparities.
"On the whole, due to the health reform bill, the NMA will be more involved," he said of the efforts to eliminate health disparities. "The law is not perfect; there will be changes.
"I have a positive view as we move forward because I think the bill does allow more access for more people."
Among the key sessions presented during the NMA meeting was a special session, "Meeting Meaningful Use Requirements: What Every Physician Needs to Know
," which featured a presentation by David Blumenthal, M.D., MPP, national coordinator of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Weather said.
Another key event was the Opening Session and Mazique Symposium: Health Care Reform, featuring Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., as the keynote speaker, he said.
Other highlights of the NMA meeting included the W. Montague Cobb, M.D., Lectureship and Symposium, featuring Robert Lee Satcher, M.D., an astronaut and assistant professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; educational sessions at which attendees earned continuing medical education credits; and Walk a Mile With a Child, at which more than 400 children learned about the value of healthy lifestyles with the help of the NMA and the Auxiliary of the NMA.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Weather was installed as the 111th president of the NMA, and he was honored by special guests at the President-elect's Luncheon.
Other new NMA leaders chosen during the event were Cedric Bright, M.D., the new president-elect; Gary Sheppard, M.D., the new chair of the Board of Trustees; and Ingrid Taylor, M.D., the new secretary of the Board.
The 2011 Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly will be July 23-27 in Washington, D.C.