GAPI Hosts Quarterly Meeting
On January 25, 2003 GAPI (Georgia Physicians of Indian Heritage) held its quarterly meeting at the Palace Restaurant in Norcross, Georgia. The meeting, which was organized by Drs. Naresh and Asha Parikh, had approximately 175 members and guests in attendance.
At the meeting GAPI?s recent accomplishments and future goals were discussed. Additionally, members addressed several pressing challenges facing Georgia?s health care industry.
Dr. Manoj Shah, current president of GAPI, initiated discussion about the current malpractice crisis facing Georgia and introduced two guests speakers who further spoke on the issue: Dr. Alan A Plummer, President, Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) and Director of Advocacy, Ray Williams. Due to rapidly rising malpractice costs, nearly one in five Georgia doctors is abandoning high-risk medical procedures such as delivering babies and emergency room services. Compounding the problem, hundreds more doctors are leaving the state or retiring due to high medical insurance rates according to a study by Georgia Board for Physician Workforce. Many physicians have difficulty in securing affordable malpractice insurance. Georgia is one of the 12 ?crisis? state identified by American Medical Association where increasing insurance cost are forcing doctors to move out of the state or change their practice. GAPI is one of many organizations pushing for meaningful tort reform where damages for pain and suffering are capped.
John Oxendine, the Georgia Insurance Commissioner, spoke about the hardships endured by both patients and physicians due to recalcitrant payments from health insurance companies. He and Dr. Arvind Gupta, Vice President of GAPI, held a forum about the importance of GAPI member?s involvement in politics. Dr. Gupta adamantly suggested that members from each region should form local Political Action Committees, which would help fund-raise for politicians supporting GAPI goals. Dr. Gupta also suggested that one of GAPI?s members should be on the licensing board of Georgia. John Oxendine supported the idea and said he would endorse a GAPI physician to the Governor when the next vacancy arises.
A long time goal of GAPI has been to create an IMG (International Medical Graduate) section in MAG (Medical Association of Georgia). After persistent lobbying by GAPI, MAG has approved an IMG council and will charter a full section with voting rights in August of 2003. MAG has 5,700 members out of 14,000 physicians in Georgia. There are 350 IMG members in MAG out of 2300 IMG in the state. GAPI desires to increase IMG membership in MAG and at the meeting were able to enroll 13 new members in MAG.
GAPI is working toward hosting the 2006 annual convention of the American Association of Physician?s of Indian origin (AAPI) in Atlanta. There currently exists strong support within AAPI for an Atlanta venue. Such a convention would bring approximately 10,000 AAPI members and guests to Atlanta for a week.
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