Looking Ahead to 2024 – From 2024 President Raymond E. Pontzer, MD

By: Raymond E. Pontzer, MD – 2024 ACMS President

In its 159th year, the Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) stands at the threshold of a new era, committed to enhancing healthcare across the county, region, and state. Recent years have witnessed a significant shift in leadership and operational strategies, with a renewed focus on meeting the evolving needs of its members. Spearheading this transformation is Executive Director Sara Albert-Hussey, alongside a dedicated staff that has not only stabilized and modernized administrative infrastructure but has also injected a fresh perspective into outreach efforts, utilizing multiple social media platforms.

The leadership transition has been a pivotal aspect of ACMS’s rejuvenation, with departing Board Chair Peter Ellis and current Board Chair Matt Straka working synergistically to propel ACMS forward. Their energy and determination have set the tone for the society’s revitalization, laying the groundwork for a more dynamic and responsive organization.

As ACMS strides into 2024, its unwavering commitment to the mission remains at the forefront – to improve healthcare through education, advocacy, service, and physician well-being. Actively engaging in administration and educational activities with various specialty societies, ACMS recently expanded its scope by incorporating the Allegheny County Immunization Coalition (ACIC) under its association management umbrella. The successful coordination of conferences and events, including the recent ACIC conference, showcases the society’s dedication to seamless execution and member engagement.

The fall House of Delegates meeting in Hershey, led by Rick Hoffmaster, underscored ACMS’s dedication to advocacy. The delegation worked collaboratively to advance resolutions aimed at enhancing physician well-being and overall healthcare. Looking ahead, ACMS aims to amplify its advocacy impact by closely collaborating with key healthcare stakeholders in the legislature and partnering with the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED). This strategic approach involves keeping members informed about ongoing healthcare bills in Harrisburg and Washington, empowering them to influence legislators in real-time.

Addressing the pressing issue of physician well-being, ACMS, in collaboration with PAMED, is launching a program to assist members facing burnout. Initiatives with UPMC, AHN, and the integration of Abridge’s artificial intelligence for EHR documentation highlight ACMS’s proactive stance in alleviating the burdens on physicians. The collaboration with Abridge is particularly promising, with reports indicating a significant reduction in time spent on EHR documentation.

The emergence of the Women in Medicine committee within ACMS reflects the society’s commitment to inclusivity and addressing the unique concerns of its women members. This rapidly growing committee, supported by ACMS staff and leadership, is poised to become a driving force in advocating for and supporting women in the medical profession.

As ACMS reflects on a year of growth and transformation, the society is resolute in its mission. The collective efforts of the staff and leadership have positioned ACMS as a stronger entity than ever before, ready to navigate the future of healthcare. Members are encouraged to share their comments and contributions as ACMS embarks on a promising journey towards a healthier and more fulfilling 2024.

You can read more from Dr. Pontzer in the upcoming January edition of the ACMS Bulletin.