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Georgia’s Indian Physicians Meet at Picturesque Chateau Elan

May 2003
Georgia’s Indian Physicians Meet at Picturesque Chateau Elan

April 19, 2003. The annual meeting of GAPI (Georgia Physicians of Indian Heritage) was held with aplomb amidst the elite backdrop of the vineyards of Chateau Elan, north Georgia?s striking French styled resort and conference center.

Approximately 150 members and guests were present in the meeting. Some of the special guests included US congressman, Dr. Phil Gingrey; president elect of American Association of Physicians from India (AAPI), Dr. Sharad Lakhanpal; president of Medical Association of Georgia (MAG), Dr. Alan Plummer; and past president of MAG, Dr. Walker Ray.

A varied agenda held the attendees? interest. Five continuing medical education meetings were held under the leadership of Dr. P. K. Natrajan. Additionally, four financial advisers provided investment guidance. Many other vendors representing groups such as pharmaceutical companies, jewelry retailers, insurance companies, and Indian garment manufacturers were present.

At the annual meeting Dr. Manoj Shah, current president of GAPI, initiated a discussion concerning the current malpractice crisis facing Georgia. He cited malpractice insurance companies such as Zurich, which discontinued issuing such insurance in Georgia as it was no longer profitable.

Dr Shah then introduced three guests speakers who spoke further on the issue. Congressman Dr. Phil Gingrey said that being an obstetrician himself, he understood the problems facing physicians and is able to educate other members in congress. He explained that a reform bill which would have a $250,000 cap for pain and suffering had been passed in the congress but was stalled in senate.

Dr. Allan Plummer, president, MAG discussed the importance of tort reform in Georgia. 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. He also stressed that GAPI and other IMG physicians should join MAG so it can better address the issue. GAPI is one of many organizations pushing for meaningful tort reform where damages for pain and suffering are capped.

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. Dr. Ray also felt that it is a win-win situation for both organizations.

GAPI has also formed a grievance committee which will help members who have problems with hospital privileges, licensing board or getting contracts with health insurance companies. The committee will investigate and if it is appropriate will write letter on the member?s behalf.

AAPI?s annual convention to be held in Atlanta in 2006

Dr. P. B. Rao and Dr Manoj Shah attended the AAPI quarterly meeting in Washington, DC in April, and reported with great satisfaction that AAPI plans to hold its 2006 annual convention in Atlanta. The AAPI non-profit foundation supports many charitable activities in India such as hospitals and clinics. They have initiated a fund raising drive with the support of the popular film star, Hema Malini, which will visit 10 cities across USA including Atlanta on August 24th. The profits from the program will support the AAPI foundation.

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