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West Virginia State Society of Anesthesiologists
March 6, 2018

      1. Drs. Alex Skaff and Bob Johnstone represented West Virginia anesthesiologists at the Interim Meeting of the ASA Board of Directors last weekend. This is one of three meetings each year of the board – one in March, August, and October. The Board of Directors has legal responsibility for the financial management of the Society, and this was a focus of this meeting.ASA Board of Directors meeting – March 4, 2018.

        (L-R) Bob Johnstone, MD
        Paul Pomerantz (ASA Exec Dir),
        Jim Grant, MD (ASA President),
        Alex Skaff, MD

    Items of interest

    A. The revised current-year Society operating budget is negative, with revenues of $51.1million and expenses of $52.6 million. This resulted from dues revenue less than forecast, and annual meeting expenses higher than expected. The incorrect budgeting resulted from a budgeting cycle that started so early in the year that it was based on projections from 2016 data and missed current trends. The directors moved the budget cycle to start in May and conclude in October of the year before, meaning annual budgets can be based in part on previous year information.
    B. The largest ASA revenue component is dues, and growth of active members has stagnated.

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    Anesthesiologists who have not joined reported four main results: the cost of membership, the value of membership, not like something about ASA advocacy, and the required co-membership in a state society. When asked about details, most had little knowledge about ASA programs and the benefits of membership. Advocacy issues involved PAC support for legislators who also had pro/anti- abortion or pro/anti-gun views with which the member disagreed. Interestingly West Virginia anesthesiologists reported the highest value for their state society. Look for programs that inform anesthesiologists on the value of their membership, including a Benefit of the Month announcement.
    C. The ASA PAC ended 2017 as the #1 healthcare PAC again, collecting $2.2 million. This is widely noticed in Washington and gets access for us with legislators to explain our patient-safety message. If you have not contributed for
    D. 341 anesthesiologists have now earned the FASA designation, including several in West Virginia.
    E. The Mid-Atlantic Caucus of Anesthesiology Societies confirmed their support for an annual resident research conference that will be held in West Virginia this year April 20 and 21. Find information at, Any anesthesiologist is welcome to attend and can learn about point-of-care ultrasound technology.


    1. The West Virginia legislature is in session. The WVSSA leadership group and the anesthesiologists practicing in Charleston have represented us at numerous hearings this year. Alex Skaff, MD leads our state advocacy effort. His report: WVSSA Interim Legislative ReportI have been attending the WVSMA Legislative meetings every two weeks starting before the current State Session began. The State Medical Association is using a new lobbyist this year, Alex Macia, who works for the Spillman, Thomas, and Battle law firm. One bill reintroduced this year, HB 2521, the APRN Compact continues to worry us and is quite important on a national level. This bill, if passed by ten states, would allow any nurse practitioner to be governed by an outside nursing council which determines the rules and conditions of their licensure in all participating states. This would usurp all state authority to manage and control their conditions of licensure or scope of practice. I have been assured several times by Chairmen of both the Senate and House Health Committee that this bill would not run and there has been no activity so far. Another interesting bill introduced allowed full independent practice of PA’s with the
      argument that they deserve the same rights as APRN’s, who were successful in passing legislation two years ago that significantly expanded their independence and prescriptive authority. This bill seems like it will not move. Much time and effort has been spent on the opioid bill with many moving parts and much work to be done to “improve’ the language and fix inherent problems. This bill impacts our pain physicians the most and we are involved with the finer logistical details regarding prescription limits, mandatory referrals to pain clinics, and tracking requirements. Most people believe an opioid reduction bill will pass this session and our main concern is that the requirements of the final bill are attainable and reasonable for practicing physicians and not too restrictive for patients who indeed need narcotic therapy. Finally, please stay in touch with your local representatives, and/or get to know them
      through fundraisers or town hall meetings and contribute when you can because if weren’t involved someone else will tell us how to practice Anesthesiology.
    2. Legislative Conference. This year, ASA’s premier grassroots advocacy meeting on legislative, political and regulatory issues affecting the practice of anesthesiology will be held Monday, May 14 – Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Both the House and Senate will be in session this year during the conference.
      Please let Bob Johnstone, WVSSA Secretary, know if you would like to attend. You can only register through a state anesthesia component.
      The WVSSA pays the registration fee and $250 towards expenses for any active member attending and pays for one group dinner at the conference.
      Find more information at,
    3. The WVSSA Annual Education and Business Meeting will be at the Greenbrier on August 25 and 26. Drs. Pavi Ranganathan and Jim Cain are planning the educational meeting, tentatively a demonstration workshop. The meeting is free to all WVSSA members.
    4. 2018 WVSSA officers

      President Matt Ellison, MD (
      President-elect Matt Delph, MD (
      Immed Past-Pres Seth Crislip, MD
      Sect-Treas Robert Johnstone, MD (
      Asst Sect-Treas Brian Grose, MD
      ASA Delegates Jim Cain, MD
      Brian Grose, MD
      ASA Alt Delgs Matt Ellison, MD
      Chad Sizemore, MD
      ASA Res Delg Payam Heiraty, MD
      ASA Director Bob Johnstone, MD
      ASA Alt Dir Alex Skaff, MD (
      Legislative Dirs Alex Skaff, MD
      Seth Crislip, MD


Bob Johnstone, Newsletter editor

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