The world was a different place in 2008, the last time SHM’s annual meeting was in San Diego. Attendance at the yearly confab of hospitalists was almost half of what it is expected to be this year, healthcare reform was still just a bullet point for a presidential candidate’s talking points, and society leaders were drumming up interest in a new fellowship program they’d created.
Now, more than 2,000 hospitalists are expected to fill the San Diego Convention Center April 1-4. Reform isn’t just a political buzzword; it’s the subject of landmark legislation and three plenary addresses—including the requisite convention-ender from HM pioneer Robert Wachter, MD, MHM. And the now-three-tiered fellowship track is more than 1,000 physicians strong.
“Hospitalists really are on the radar of policymakers both inside and outside of our field,” says Jeff Glasheen, MD, SFHM, HM12 course director. “We really have evolved from an insular hospitalist group to the bigger picture that really touches healthcare in many different ways.”
And nowhere is that breadth on display more than the annual meting.
Among the most popular components are the April 1 pre-courses. The schedule features popular sessions on practice management, billing and coding, and ABIM Maintenance of Certification, along with a couple new offerings. The debut class generating the most interest is “How to Improve Performance in CMS’s Value-Based Purchasing Program,” led by SHM senior vice president Joseph Miller and Patrick Torcson, MD, MMM, FAACP, SFHM, chair of SHM’s Performance Measurement and Reporting Committee.
Then there is the Research, Innovations, and Clinical Vignettes (RIV) poster competition. So many entries came in for HM12 that the poster sessions have been split up to give attendees more time to interact with their authors. The Research and Innovations poster reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. April 2. The 90-minute Vignettes session will start at noon April 3.
And, of course, the featured speakers always draw a crowd. This year offers three keynote addresses. First up will be Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, FAAP, SFHM, a pediatric hospitalist and chief medical officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). His talk is titled “Affordable Care Act Implementation and How Hospital Medicine Can Help Lead Health Care System Transformation.” Political commentator and analyst Norman Ornstein, PhD, MA, BA, will follow with a presentation dubbed “Making Health Policy in an Age of Dysfunctional Politics.” HM12 also continues the tradition of having Dr. Wachter give the last talk, “The Great Physician, Circa 2012: How Hospitalists Must Lead Efforts to Identify and Become This New Breed.”
Throw in a new offering of educational sessions, a new way for attendees to design a thematic schedule of classes that cross different categorical tracks, and a sunny seaside locale, and this year’s meeting would seem destined for success.
“Hopefully the weather will hold up,” says local hospitalist Pedro Ramos, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego. “My fear is it’s going to be rainy that one week.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.