31 Mar Top 10 AAP Leadership Forum Resolutions
In my last blog, I introduced readers to the American Academy of Pediatric’s (AAP) Annual Leadership Forum (ALF). Last week, the AAP made public the top 10 resolutions, which the board must now review, discuss, comment and consider for action. While the AAP Board of Directors considers resolutions “advisory”, some may spur Academy initiatives. In this follow-up blog, I will focus on some of the key resolutions.
The highest ranking resolution (#1): “Addressing the Legal & Mental Health Needs of Undocumented Immigrant Children.“ This is not just a border state issue. Many pediatricians have become aware of these children in our communities. Illegal immigrant minors can be placed in detention centers until their fate is decided, and many of them receive no medical or mental health care for months. Many more are in hiding in our communities for fear of being discovered and deported. All children deserve appropriate care, and it’s imperative that pediatricians lead advocacy efforts on their behalf.
Resolutions 2 and 6 are related and request that the AAP terminate existing sponsorship relationships with companies that produce soft drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages. As you may have noticed, soda companies are currently advertising on healthychildren.org (the parent-facing educational AAP website). This is directly contradictory to the healthy children focus, and the #2 resolution requests that the AAP no longer permit such advertising. The #6 resolution asks that AAP no longer allow these same companies to sponsor any AAP conferences or advertise in any AAP materials, including the National Conference and Exhibition (NCE). As one pediatrician put it, “if physicians are questioned about motives when we accept a pen from a vaccine manufacturer, how can the Academy in good conscience take money from companies that directly contribute to childhood obesity?”
I am particularly proud of resolution #3 for many reasons, not the least of which is that I wrote it! The resolution asks the Academy to focus on the “Use of Telehealth to Extend the Pediatric Medical Home.” There was much discussion on practice transformation and many realize that telethealth has a critical role in how we will practice medicine in the future.
It is imperative that we act quickly to find solutions that connect pediatricians and pediatric specialists to our patients wherever they may be. Only we can provide telehealth services based on our established relationship with the patient and their family and have the ability to escalate virtual visits into a face-to-face one. Many stand-alone profit-driven companies are already delivering these services which often lead to inappropriate or poor-quality care which is fragmented from the medical home.
WE should OWN this and find safe, accessible ways to provide it and get paid adequately to do so.
To learn more about how telehealth fits in our future as pediatricians, join us for an interesting discussion at the OP User Conference. To become an AAP leader and explore how technology, virtual visits and other innovations will shape our practice, join the Section on Telehealthcare!