ATTENTION: IF you only have a few minutes to read this, please skip to the paragraph that begins “On a shorter and more serious note.”
I promised to keep you up to speed with what we are up to at the IPMA Board level and I can tell you that we have a couple of initiatives going on right now that are important to our profession. Notably, if you haven’t already heard the VA Provider Equity Act passed into law and now DPMs have advanced one more step towards parity with our MD/DO colleagues. As always, we have to earn it and not just demand it. But, thanks to the APMA and its state components, each and every one of you who is a dues paying member shares in the credit of this accomplishment. Thus, if you haven’t donated to the APMA/IPMA PAC, please do. We achieved the $5,000.00 in donations at the annual Meeting last September and I matched it as challenged in my acceptance speech. More importantly, it doesn’t need to be a huge number. Let’s put it this way, we have about 720 members of the IPMA (and we need to keep growing) and if everyone gave just $500.00, that would put $360,000.00 dollars annually into the political action committee war chest. That would be something to be proud of and formidable. But, we all have dues, mortgages, car notes, dependents in school, practice overhead etc. So where are we to come up with an extra $500.00? Many of us just get busy and forget, so don’t…I guess. Some of us think it is too much and not worth it. It all depends on how we look at it. According to salary.com in a list of about 30 regions around the State of Illinois, the average salary of a DPM is from $181,393.00 to $209,223.00 annually. I know there are exceptions on both sides, but we are working with the law of averages for this thought experiment. I submit to you, that this is simply a matter of optics. For many of us, myself included, Podiatry has been a wonderful blessing in my life in terms of lifestyle and career satisfaction. It would be analogous to an apple or orange (insert favorite fruit here) tree in your back yard that produces fresh fruit for your consumption everyday. You would be very likely to take care of that tree by watering it; pruning it and protecting it from frost if needed and not just pick the fruit. We need to take care of our profession that takes care of us and affords us the mortgage, car note and dependent’s school tuitions. So, I challenge you again to look at your finances and ask yourself if the day after you submit a donation to APMA/IPMA PAC whether it is $50.00 or $5,000.00 will you truly have buyer’s remorse? I suggest, not! So, $500.00 is about what we would get (again give or take on payer, etc.) for providing one pair of orthotics to a patient, just one pair! Still can’t afford to donate? I thought of a bit of old advice our Biochemistry Professor at Scholl College told us in her first day of class in our first year of school. She basically told us to go and buy a coffee maker. “If you live like a doctor when you are a student, you will live like a student when you are a doctor.” I still remember that fancy coffee stand in the White Hen Pantry across the street on Dearborn Avenue.
At Frugal-Mama.com, Amy shares some math about her coffee expenditures at home vs. going to a coffee store such as Starbucks. Essentially, she maintains that she drinks as high of quality coffee at home with no additional burden on her day’s time for a huge savings over café bought. Home cost for 2 coffees – $0.39 vs. estimated Starbucks cost for 2 similar coffees – $3.63 She estimates an annual savings of $1,183.00. Check it out for infinite detail here.
If you aren’t a Starbucks person, then what do you do with your roughly $200k per year? It’s a perk that we can afford “Starbucks” and other nice things because of our profession. We all also deserve those “nice things” for the hard work you put in everyday at the office and in the OR, but remember to water the tree that bears the fruit.
On a shorter and more serious note, if you have been reading these news letters and following what we are up to, you will remember that in the face of a very quickly changing health care environment we, the entire IPMA Board, unanimously voted on a resolution to begin searching out pathways to pursue unlimited licensure for the DPM degree. Recent CMS issues also support our desire and need for unlimited licensure. Part of our mission was to look at the differences in education today’s DPM students receive compared to the MD/DO students, and it boils down to very small differences. Essentially, Dr. Dickey and I with the help of some very knowledgeable people, wrote to the CPME and outlined that we need to add some Physical Diagnosis, Pediatric, OB/GYN, and Psychiatry training and rotations to fill out the same curriculum as an MD/DO student. We also had several meetings with the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine to see if they would support our mission and work with us and residency programs to ensure that our future colleagues are given the opportunity to practice in parity, by doing the same work and passing the same exams as our MD/DO colleagues. Unfortunately, after several meetings with Scholl College as far back as February of 2018, we have been unable to secure the College’s support for pursuing unlimited licensure for DPM graduates. We will publish the letter to the membership as this is your society, but of note I would like to share one small portion, out of the letter from Scholl dated June 13, 2018.
“While we respect the roll of the association [IPMA] in pursuing those opportunities, as a non-profit institution, we are unable to engage in those endeavors. Therefore, it is not within our purview to support your efforts to change the scope of practice within the state. Instead our position is one of neutrality.”
We at the IPMA Board would love to gain insight into your thoughts as an IPMA member, for it is you that we represent. First, I need to share some salient points: We too are a non-profit organization of dues paying members with an all-volunteer Board of Directors and Executive Council. We do not propose to change our scope of practice, but only to fold our specialty into the same education process as our other health care counterparts. How do we demand full parity in an administrative and bureaucratic sense with out parity in education? The CPME sets minimum standards for the educational curriculum and the school has the ability and power to set the curriculum above and beyond. We understand that the school has a fiduciary responsibility to its students and not the IPMA and we also understand that we cannot dictate to the school which course it chooses to pursue. We were hoping that they would recognize that the IPMA represents practicing DPMs, who are in the trenches of the “what happens after school” and we had hoped our assessment of where the profession should strive to be would have been better received.
Please write to the IPMA Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts on where we are correct and where we should reconsider.
All the best,
Douglas J. Pacaccio, DPM, FACFAS