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Wednesday Nov 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

As we join our loved ones for the holiday this week, it's a natural time to reflect on all we are thankful for -- families, friends, health and careers.

I also have a lot to be thankful for this year as AAFP President.

This year, the Academy's membership topped 100,000. That's a significant milestone for family medicine. And I'm thankful that so many of you responded to my recent calls for action regarding graduate medical education, Title VII funding and the sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula.

As of Nov. 21, more than 2,100 members had written more than 5,300 letters to Congress on these three issues, which are vital to the future of our specialty. Thanks to all of you who have joined in these efforts, and thanks to all our members who serve in family medicine leadership positions at the local, state and national levels.

I'm also thankful that interest in family medicine continues to grow. A record-breaking 94.4 percent of our residency positions were filled during the National Resident Matching Program, up from a then-record 91.4 percent fill rate last year.

Thanks to all the family physicians who invest in the future by participating in the education of the family physicians of tomorrow.

In  addition, I'm encouraged by the continuing increase in adoption of electronic health records by family physicians. Such investments will be necessary for our members to take advantage of opportunities like those offered by the Comprehensive Primary Care InitiativeThat program, which was announced by CMS in September, involves the agency working with commercial and state health insurance plans to support primary care practices that deliver coordinated care in the patient-centered medical home model.

There was more good news from CMS last month when it released a final rule regarding accountable care organizations that reflected a number of recommendations suggested by the Academy.

Finally, I'm thankful for the compassionate patient care you provide every day, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve you this year during this time of challenges and opportunities for family medicine. I hope you enjoy this holiday time with your friends and family.

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The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.