Recent Postings

  1. Dr. Johnstone represented West Virginia anesthesiologists at the ASA Board of Directors meeting last weekend in Chicago. Approximately 90 anesthesiologists attended, including the 12 ASA officers, 53 directors, and foundation heads. Any ASA member who registers ahead of time can attend the board meeting.

    L-R, John Zerwas, MD, ASA President, Jane Fitch, MD, President-elect,  Robert Johnstone, MD at March ASA BOD meeting

    L-R, John Zerwas, MD, ASA President, Jane Fitch, MD, President-elect,
    Robert Johnstone, MD at March ASA BOD meeting

    • The ASA is transitioning to a single-Chief Executive Officer model. The new CEO, Paul Pomerantz, started this week.
    • Linda Mason, MD, ASA Secretary, informed board members that ASA membership is at an all-time high of 50,600.
    • The ASA has out-grown its existing Park Ridge headquarters. Work has started on a new headquarters at a 7 acre site in Schaumburg, also near the Chicago O’Hare airport. The new headquarters building will have 3 floors, a 200-person all-purpose room, a 150-person conference center, and house the Wood Library Museum. It will be ready in June 2014. The new building will cost $20million. The existing one is being sold for approximately $7million.
    • The new ASA Health Policy Research Institute is located in the Washington office, and has recruited a director, Thomas Miller, Ph.D, MBA.
    • Richard Dutton, MD, Anesthesia Quality Institute director, updated board members on AQI achievements. 20 percent of all anesthesiologists now participate in the AQI National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry. The registry contains 8 million anesthetics, and is growing at the rate of 1.5 million anesthetics per quarter. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently awarded AQI $200,000 for a study. The primary goal of the AQI is local quality improvement of anesthesiology care.

      Richard Dutton, MD with Robert Johnstone, MD at  the Board of Directors meeting in March
      Richard Dutton, MD with Robert Johnstone, MD at the Board of Directors meeting in March

    • Directors ranked 44 ASA priorities. The three highest ranked: 1.Ensure anesthesiologist-led care, 2. Promote anesthesiologist role in safety and quality, 3. Define the relationship with subspecialties and components.
    • The ASA will not support the Society for Cardiovascular Anesthesia application for subspecialty certification in cardiac anesthesia.
    • Two charities that the ASA assists: Run for the Warriors and Lifebox.
    • The ASA will provide education on deep sedation for non-anesthesiologist physicians. The program objective: “Non-anesthesiologist physicians will receive training to personally provide safe and effective, routine deep sedation for procedures only in their specialty, and to rescue patients from any intended or unintended levels that they may achieve.” Directors approved $200,000 to bring this new educational program to market. Market studies indicate it should operate profitably. There are 3.7 million cardiac catheterizations, 14.2 million colonoscopies and 500,000 bronchoscopies per year in the US.
    • The ASA Annual Meeting in Washington DC last October had lower attendance than the previous one, but generated more income, primarily from industry support.[table id=1 /]The Annual Meeting this fall will be in San Francisco, which generally attracts high attendance.
    • The ASA will discontinue its management of subspecialty societies. The cost was too high to continue, approximately $2.9million. The ASA will concentrate on building strong and collaborative relationships with the subspecialty societies, rather than managing them.
    • ASA remains strong financially. Total reserves at the end of 2012 were $72.5 million. The 2013 budget  projects revenues of $42.4 million, and expenses of $42.0 million.
  2. The ASA Legislative Conference will meet Monday, April 29 through Wednesday, May 1 in Washington DC. Find meeting information at, The conference theme this year is “Focus on the Future”, and will cover both state legislative and federal regulatory issues. WVSSA members who would like to attend should contact Dr. Johnstone, WVSSA Secretary-Treasurer, at, to register. We currently have four signed up, and would like a few more.
  3. Alex Skaff, MD and Michael Panger, MD will represent West Virginia anesthesiologists on the Medicare regional Carrier Advisory Council. Our CAC is one of 10 in the United States, and now covers both Part A and Part B Medicare policies. Members with concerns about regional Medicare policies can contact Drs. Skaff and Panger.
  4. The West Virginia House of Delegates is now in session, with several bills introduced that could affect anesthesiologists and the practice of medicine, including two scope of practice bills. The ASA and WVSSA monitor bills and activities. Members should be ready to support or intervene on pertinent bills.
  5. Annual dues. WVSSA and ASA dues for 2013 are now due. Members can find information about membership categories and the benefits of being a member, as well as the link to pay their dues by credit card at, The deadline for renewals is March 31.
  6. ASAPAC. Please contribute to the ASAPAC to help our advocacy efforts, and to ensure a safe environment for our patients. Contribute at, Or WVSSA members can send a check made out to ASAPAC to Dr. Johnstone, Secretary-Treasurer, who will forward it and request a PAC pin.
  7. WVSSA Annual Meeting. The WVSSA will hold its Annual Education and Business meeting again this year in conjunction with the WV State Medical Association on August 24 and 25, at the Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs, WV. After review, we will continue with our existing format, with the education meeting on Saturday morning and the business meeting on Sunday. John Abenstein, MD, ASA First Vice President, will attend and present an ASA Update. Any member who would like to present at the educational meeting should let Dr. Johnstone or Grose know.
  8. Newsletters. Find past issues of our Newsletter on the WVSSA website at,

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Robert Johnstone, MD

WVSSA Secretary

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