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From the president of the SMFM

      Dear Colleagues,
      This past year has been a busy and productive one for the SMFM. We have enhanced on our core missions of research and education and have started new and expanded previous service initiatives. The several SMFM Needs Assessment Surveys completed by you during the past four years have helped direct our initiatives in important ways. In those Assessment Surveys you have asked us to:

      Help you in your day-to-day practice

      The SMFM Coding Committee is one of the most active and hard-working of all the Society's committees. This group has compiled the MFM Coding Manual, a must have tool for every Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician whether in private practice or university setting. The Manual, which is updated yearly, focuses on the “nitty gritty” of proper coding and billing to help insure you receive fair and accurate reimbursement. The committee is working on what will likely become another staple of your office library, a book on “How to Run a Maternal-Fetal Practice”. If all goes according to plan, it should be available in time for the Reno meeting. After a six year campaign spearheaded by the Coding Committee, the subspecialty of Maternal-Fetal Medicine was granted a taxonomy code which went into effect this past April. The Coding Committee continues its ongoing educational efforts through twice yearly “Coding for Maternal-Fetal Medicine” postgraduate courses, and provides regular coding guidance to members through the “Ask a Coding Question” and “Coding Tips” sections on our web site.

      Network with other like-minded medical societies

      We have continued our ongoing involvement with the March of Dimes, once again partnering with them in sponsoring our 2005 Annual Meeting. We are also pursuing new relationships. Two such collaborations are much in evidence at the Reno meeting; the “Medical Complications” postgraduate course is a joint effort between SMFM and the North American Society of Obstetric Medicine (NASOM). A special pre-meeting workshop on High Risk Obstetric Anesthesia is being conducted by the members of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP). We have also had some initial discussions with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine about possible joint ventures, such as a formal exchange of plenary or break-out speakers at our annual meetings. The SMFM has joined with the Institute of Medicine as an active partner on their Premature Birth Initiative. We are working on strengthening relations with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its leaders with the goal of increasing the visibility and importance of the SMFM and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine subspecialists it represents.

      Take a proactive role in the medical liability crisis

      You told us at the 2004 Annual Business Meeting that you wanted the Society to take a proactive role in the medical liability crisis. We responded by creating a special SMFM Medical Liability Workgroup. Among other things, the group is looking into how the medical liability crisis affects MFM subspecialists as opposed to general ob/gyns and working with key allies such as ACOG to develop strategies to address this crisis.

      Increase SMFM visibility and demonstrate the value of care MFM specialists provide

      We responded through a Publications/Practice Committee that is working to place SMFM-branded publications in such journals as the Green, Gray and Contemporary Ob/Gyn, not to mention the occasional joint publication with ACOG. For years the papers and articles on intensive care, multiple gestations, diabetes, etc., were authored mainly by experts right here in our own Society, while our Society and the specialty it represents went unrecognized. The Publications/Practice Committee is making great headway in making sure our members and Society are recognized for their Herculean contributions in the management of high-risk pregnancies.

      Sustain MFM research

      The Society, through its Foundation (SMFMF), has launched a fundraising campaign in support of the SMFM/AAOGF Scholarship Award. The campaign's goal is to raise $3 million in order for these three-year scholarships, which fund outstanding young MFM scientists and their groundbreaking research, to become self-sustaining. And it is this cutting-edge research that is vital to improving the future outcomes for our patients and assuring the vitality and relevance of our subspecialty.
      We who have the privilege of serving the SMFM as an officer or Board member are keenly aware of the projects undertaken, programs developed and new services offered. As the Needs Assessment Surveys have helped direct our activities, they have also made us keenly aware of the need to improve communication with the membership so that you, too, are aware of the initiatives and the incredible hard work by the board and committee members. I am reminded of a quote by Bernard Shaw… “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” Communication after all is a two way street…someone has to talk and someone has to listen. If you keep talking, I promise we'll keep listening, and together we'll continue to build an organization that matches the excellence demonstrated by our members in patient care, education and research.