Help secure dermatology’s future: Vote in the 2013 AAD election


By Marta VanBeek, MD

I feel so strongly about voting that when the Academy asked if I would participate in a video shoot on this issue, I emphatically said, “Yes!” With only one-third of the Academy’s membership voting in any given election, I think we can produce a higher turnout. In fact, I know we can do better.

If having a voice in your association’s annual election isn’t motivation enough, think about the specialty and what you would like our future to look like. Are we headed in the right direction?

View more election videos from your colleagues here.

As I mention in my election video, I feel strongly that dermatology is at a crossroads. With health care reform starting to take shape, we need to decide how we as dermatologists fit into the picture. No one is going to do this for us; we must do it ourselves. That’s why your vote is so important.

We need to elect a president who is a good negotiator and can see where dermatology fits into the entire health system reform picture. We also need an innovator who can think outside the box. We need to be creative in proving our value to the house of medicine.

With health care reform starting to take shape, we need to decide how we as dermatologists fit into the picture.As you’ve no doubt been learning, accountable care organizations (ACOs) are frequently run by primary care physicians. We need to demonstrate that we add value and cost savings to this new health care structure. Dermatology has an excellent opportunity to prove that we treat skin conditions less expensively and more expeditiously than primary care doctors.

In addition, it is clear that both sides of the political aisle are in favor of phasing out the fee-for-service payment structure. As a specialty, we need to work to preserve a stable payment system so our members can continue to practice in a way that is best for patients while still fully supporting their infrastructure. 

Unfortunately, we also need to look at innovative methods of payment reform and determine how we can take care of patients under a different payment system while still maintaining our practices.

Finally, the president and board members who we elect have to be proactive in advocating for the care of our patients. Indoor tanning is an area where we have made huge strides in the past several years. We’re on the verge of making some big changes where tanning is concerned, in addition to the legislation that the Academy has already helped get passed into law. We need to continue to carry that message to the national level for the health and safety of our patients.

We’re all busy with the demands of work, family, and other obligations. Just as we make time for the other important things in life, I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes out of your day to vote. Be sure to visit the Academy’s election Web page and cast your vote by April 1. Your future and the future of our specialty depend on it.

Dr. VanBeek is clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and chair of the AADA Council on Government Affairs, Health Policy, and Practice.

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