Recent Postings


  1. The ASA Board of Directors met the first weekend in March in Park Ridge, IL. Dr. Robert Johnstone represented West Virginia anesthesiologists. Items from the meeting:
    1. ASA membership exceeds 50,000, and is growing.
    2. The two most heavily debated items were whether to support the revision of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) program proposed by the American Medical Association, and how to respond to the proposed shift of all advanced practice nurses in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals to independent practice. Ultimately directors voted to take no position on the SGR reform bill, because supporting the proposed program would lock anesthesiologists into unfairly low payments relative to other specialties, the 33 percent issue. Directors remained concerned about patient safety if nurse anesthetists work independently from physician anesthesiologists, and supported efforts by ASA leaders to improve anesthesia safety for our veterans.
    3. At the BOD meeting. Drs. Jane Fitch (ASA President), John P. Abenstein (Pres-elect) and Robert Johnstone
BOD meeting 2014

Drs. Jane Fitch (ASA President), John P. Abenstein (Pres-elect) and Robert Johnstone

  1. An ASA committee is weighing a study of physician versus nurse anesthesia outcomes. It is unclear what the committee will recommend, because this would be difficult to study and potentially expensive.
  2. Advocating for Perioperative Surgical Home remains a major ASA activity.
  3. The new ASA headquarters building in Schaumburg, IL (a few miles from the O’Hare airport) will be completed in two months, and  is on budget. It will feature exhibits on the history of anesthesia, and should provide an infrastructure to better support member services.
  4. ASA finances for 2014 were reviewed. Expenses were set at $44.7million. Revenues are projected slightly higher.


  1. The Wood Library Museum had 9166 visitors last quarter, who viewed 33,275 pages, indicating much interest in anesthesiology and its history.
  2. The West Virginia legislature ended its 2014 session last weekend. Thanks to Drs. Michael Panger, Chris Payne, Seth Crislip, Eric Persily, and Alex Skaff for monitoring bills for anesthesiology issues and patient safety, and discussing them with legislators.
  3. 2014 WVSSA dues of $200 are now payable. To date more than 100 members have renewed their memberships. WVSSA collects its dues in conjunction with ASA, so both can be paid with one check or credit card payment. To pay on line go to, and log into MyASA or click on Join ASA.
  4. The WVSSA will hold its Annual Meeting at The Greenbrier in conjunction with the state medical association on Aug 23-24. Dan Cole, MD, ASA First Vice President, will attend the meeting and provide an update on national issues. Any member who would like to present a talk during the educational session should contact Dr. Johnstone, WVSSA Secretary.
  5. The ASA will hold its annual Legislative Conference on May 5-7 in Washington DC. During the conference attendees review current issues affecting anesthesiology practice, learn how to advocate, and then visit the offices of our two senators and three representatives. So far ten WVSSA members have signed up. We have room for a couple more. Please let Dr. Johnstone, WVSSA Secretary, know if you would like to attend. WVSSA pays the registration fee, plus $250 towards the expenses of active members who attend and make congressional visits.
  6. ASA Political Action Committee. ASA again won the top medical PAC ranking last year, earning great respect in Washington.
Top Health PACs 2013 Calendar Year Receipts
ASAPAC $1.86 M
Radiology $1.34 M
AAOS $1.2 M
AMPAC $1.13 M
AAJPAC (Trial lawyers) $2.7 M
Dentists $1.3 M

We have started our 2014 campaign. Thanks to the following WVSSA members who have already contributed.

B. Apple, E. Cornett, T. Douglass, R. Driver, M. Ellison, J. Gao, J. Jeffers, R. Johnstone, C. Julian, K. McNeil, J. Parsons, J. Phillips, S. Presseau, D. Rodgers, J. Shepherd, A. Skaff, D. Sloyer, AJ Snider, R. Westmoreland     

  1. WVSSA Officers

President                     Michael Panger, MD   (

President-elect            Seth Crislip, MD   (

Sect-Treas                   Robert Johnstone, MD   (

Asst Sect-Treas           Brian Grose, MD

ASA Delegates           Alex Skaff, MD

Brian Grose, MD

ASA Alt Delgs           Michael Panger, MD

Richard Driver, MD

ASA Res Delg            Drew Rodgers, MD

ASA Director              Robert Johnstone, MD

ASA Alt Dir               Alex Skaff, MD

Medicare MAC           Alex Skaff, MD   (

Legislative Rep           Eric Persily, MD  (


Robert Johnstone, MD, Newsletter Editor


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