The Heart and Muscle of PAMED: A Bet Gets Physicians Inspired

You can take the doctor out of the practice or hospital, but you can’t take the competition out of the doctor.

Two physicians recently made a bet that could make a big difference.

It was at the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED’s) House of Delegates and Annual Education Conference, Oct. 17-19 in Hershey. The two physicians — one from the Second District (John Pagan, MD) and one from the Fifth District (Margaret Atwell, MD) — made a bet of whose district could get the highest percentage of delegates contributing to the Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Pennsylvania Medical Political Action Committee (PAMPAC) throughout the weekend.

The competition was both fierce and friendly.

Drs. Pagan and Atwell led the Second and Fifth District Caucus at the annual meeting as geographic trustees of their respective districts.

Updates were sent to the two groups throughout the weekend. Physicians were pumped up about giving and enthusiastic about contributing to the cause.

“Dr. Pagan had the idea for the competition and it seemed that physicians were inspired on the spot,” said Dr. Atwell. “I jumped on the bandwagon with him, and we set an amount,” she said.

“At the House of Delegates, I shared my thoughts that if you value the time that you are spending this weekend thinking about medicine in Pennsylvania and how it can get better, you have to walk the walk in addition to talking the talk,” said Dr. Pagan.

“PAMPAC is the muscle of PAMED, and the Foundation is its heart,” he said. “If not you, doctor, then who?” Dr. Pagan often asks his colleagues.

Drs. Pagan and Atwell are extending the bet until Dec. 1, and encourage all physicians to consider contributing to the cause. What’s the cause some people may ask?

The Foundation

The Foundation, a subsidiary and the charitable arm of PAMED, offers scholarships and low-interest loans; a Physicians’ Health Programs (PHP) that helps physicians and physician assistants who may be experiencing addiction, physical or mental challenges, or work-related stress; and LifeGuard,® a program that helps physicians who need clinical skills assessment or clinical remediation.

Find out more about the work of the Foundation

“I think the Foundation has been both a shelter for me both in terms of finances, in terms of allowing me to go throughout medical school and worry a little a bit less about all of the repayments coming down the line, all of the debt that I’m incurring,” said Hallie Rozansky, a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. “But, it’s also been a shelter in terms of providing mentors and advisees,” she said.

“I believe that people should really reach out and support the Foundation because they have made my medical school experience infinitely better,” she said.

An anesthesiologist from Philadelphia told his own personal story of recovery.

“As I was preparing to take my own life, I remembered a physician who had become addicted to controlled substances, and I had heard had a successful career today,” he said. “I called him and he gave me a phone number and told me that I didn’t have to feel this way anymore. The phone number was the number of the Physicians’ Health Program. Today my life is beyond my wildest dreams. I cannot imagine the future if the future did not include a strong and healthy PHP.”

“Foundation programs such as LifeGuard, the PHP, and scholarships for medical students express physicians’ altruism and compassion in a very physician-specific context and enhance the health and safety of us all as well as our patients,” said Dr. Atwell.

“The Foundation is where our doctors can take care of their own,” said Dr. Pagan. “Students that need loans to train in Pennsylvania and hopefully then stay and care for patients thereafter; physicians who were injured or out of practice for a period of time or have fallen being in their clinical skills need LifeGuard; and physicians struggling with addictions and severe stress need the PHP,” he said.

“The Foundation provides all of these valuable programs, programs where Pennsylvania doctors help take care of our own,” he continued. “As a core part of the PAMED mission, we need to make sure that our doctors all have the tools they need to take the best care of Pennsylvania patients that they can.”

Watch the video that was played at the House of Delegates Meeting that shows how the Foundation is a “shelter from the storm” for so many medical students and physicians in Pennsylvania .

3 Things You Should Know about PAMPAC

Find out more about the work of PAMPAC.

“In the political arena, through PAMPAC, individual relationships and money are the keys to successful political activism and represent the unique accomplishments that can be achieved with member engagement and teamwork,” said Dr. Atwell.

Here’s three things you should know about PAMPAC:

  1. PAMPAC supports physician friendly candidates — Whether it is tort reform, scope of practice, or a health insurance fairness issue, the primary consideration in making PAMPAC candidate support decisions is that the incumbent or challenger support the pro-physician/patient position.
  2. We stick with our friends — PAMPAC has a long record of supporting legislators who have supported the pro-physician/patient positions, regardless of party affiliation or a challenge by a candidate who makes self-serving promises.
  3. The Physician Voice — Most Pennsylvania physicians do not have a state level political action committee (PAC). No county medical society has a PAC. PAMPAC provides the means for every physician in the state to have an effective voice in the political process, regardless of specialty, legislative district or party affiliation.

There is a renewed commitment to advocacy at PAMED. Your personal investment as a PAMPAC member this election year will help provide the political muscle that we need to be effective and support the right candidates.

Find out more about the work of PAMPAC.

Drs. Pagan and Atwell were proud to announce 100 percent membership in PAMPAC and participation in the Foundation from PAMED’s Board of Trustees — “a true example of our leaders practicing what we preach,” said Dr. Pagan.