Highlights from the 2008 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting
Is private practice in geriatrics really feasible? That’s a question geriatrics professionals in solo and group practices may ask themselves from time to time—particularly in times like these, when proposals to cut Medicare spending are making the rounds in Washington. The question is also the title of one of the presentations in “How to Survive in a Geriatrics Private Practice,” a practical and timely panel discussion scheduled during the American Geriatrics Society’s 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting. The meeting will run from Wednesday, April 30 to Sunday, May 4 in Washington, DC.
The AGS annual meeting is the premier educational event for geriatrics healthcare professionals, covering the latest in aging and geriatrics research, key clinical issues, health policy developments, and innovative models of care delivery. An abundance of the meeting’s presentations, workshops, symposia, and lectures, as well as paper, poster, and state-of-the-art educational sessions, are of particular relevance to clinicians—from all disciplines and working in varied practice settings—who provide geriatrics care.
Slated for April 30, “How to Survive in a Geriatrics Private Practice,” for example, offers expert advice—on setting up a practice, coding and billing successfully, and working with a “virtual” geriatrics team—geared toward making a private practice quite feasible. That same day, the “AGS Member Advocacy Briefing Session” briefs members who plan to participate in AGS’ special election year Congressional Visits Program on the issues they’ll be discussing when they meet with legislators and staff while in DC. The briefing session highlights another way to ensure the viability of not only the private practice of geriatric medicine, but of geriatrics in general: by advocating for public policy that supports the field. (For more information on the Congressional Visits Program, visit www.americangeriatrics.org/news/meeting/2008/cv_program.shtml)
Many of us are becoming more focused on electronic medical records and other information technology suitable for our practices. On May 1, “GRECC Workshop—Using Health Information Technology to Improve Medication Management of Geriatric Patients: Lessons Learned from Selected Implementations of Computerized Decision Support” highlights a range of perspectives on clinical decision support, primarily as it relates to medication management in outpatient and other settings and during transitions among these settings.
Later in the day, “Multidisciplinary Clinical Skills Workshop,” an interactive, hands-on program, features ten skills stations where clinicians can further develop skills relevant to the care of older adults. The popular “State-of-the-Art Clinical Updates” session, which runs from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM on May 1, offers updates on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of pressure ulcers, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, diabetes, alcohol abuse, and Parkinson’s disease in older adults. It also includes sessions on MRSA in long-term care and updates on immunizations for and the use of vitamins and complementary and alternative therapies among older people.
Two symposia focused on preventive care, “Preventive Medicine and Life Style Modification in Older Adults” and “Evidence-Based Techniques for Enhancing Health Behaviors of Older Adults: Multidisciplinary Perspectives,” are also scheduled for May 1. New research confirms that modifiable non-genetic factors are of primary importance in health and well-being. Getting older adults to change unhealthy behavior, however, can be a significant clinical challenge, and the value of collaborative self-management, health coaching, and other techniques and tools for motivating patients should be of interest. The annual Henderson State-of-the-Art Lecture on “Frailty in Aging,” scheduled for May 1 as well, is another must-attend. Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, 2008 Edward Henderson Award winner, Director of the Center on Aging and Health, the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, and the Training Program in Clinical and Population-Based Research on Aging at Johns Hopkins, will devote the lecture to the causes of frailty, disability, and their prevention.
There’s more. Throughout the five-day meeting, there are a wide range of additional sessions and programs concerning other issues central to quality geriatrics care. The list includes elder mistreatment, sleep disorders in later life, optimizing end-of-life care, the impact of payment reform on patient safety, translating dementia research into patient care, HIV and AIDS among older adults, making (and getting reimbursed for) effective house calls, and the ins and outs of the Medicare Advantage program and its many plans.
Pre-registration for the meeting, which also affords opportunities for earning continuing education credits, is now open. Register before March 24 to get a discount on registration fees. In addition, AGS members are entitled to a further discount on meeting registration fees, so this is an ideal time to join or renew your membership if you haven’t done so already. You can register and either renew your membership or become a member—all at the same time—simply by visiting http://registration.expoexchange.com/ShowGER081/Default.aspx
No matter where or in what capacity you practice, I hope to see you at what promises to be a highly informative and clinical practice–based annual meeting for geriatrics clinicians. It’s also a great opportunity to meet and talk with colleagues practicing throughout the country and to gain some expertise and insights to bring back to the office and to other practice settings. Join us in Washington, DC!