Passion and Perseverance Unites Hawaii Chapter with Society, ABPLM for Action on Issues

August 4, 2017


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“When post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) practitioners get together, they can accomplish great things. That can be a challenge when you live in Hawaii, where you might be hundreds of miles from colleagues. However, Aida Wen, MD, CMD, Hawaii Medical Directors Association President, has found a way to unite colleagues for education, information exchange, and—most recently—a focus on antibiotic stewardship. And she has done this with the help of the Society, the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (ABPLM), and some user-friendly technology.

Dr. Wen and the Hawaii State Chapter have been holding quarterly meetings to provide education and networking opportunities to members. Participants can obtain Certified Medical Direction (CMD) credits from most of these, thanks to the many resources available from the Society and the ABPLM. For instance, she attends sessions that offer CMD credits at the Annual Conference, subscribes to the online library of conference sessions, and she invites guest speakers on related topics. She recently began using Zoom web conferencing technology to enable members to participate easily from remote locations. She notes that traveling to the mainland for meetings isn’t practical or even possible for many practitioners in her state, and she is pleased to bring the programs to them. “Our members really appreciate the opportunity to get the CMD credits,” she says.

“Over time, we have realized that we are stronger as a group, and we decided to use that to tackle some issues together,” says Dr. Wen. They chose antibiotic stewardship because “it touches all facilities and all must comply with federal regulations by fall 2017.” She notes, “Instead of every facility reinventing the wheel, we could be more efficient by working together to share existing tools, materials, and best practices.” Dr. Wen obtains numerous resources from the Society, including articles and other materials from programs at the Annual Conference.

As word got out that the chapter was working on this, she notes, “People came out of the woodwork to participate. They were very excited about this project.” Members requested monthly meetings, and these involve medical directors, attending physicians, nurse practitioners, directors of nursing, representatives from the state Department of Health (DOH), pharmacists, infectious disease specialists, and others, Dr. Wen explains. The Department of Health has embraced the program and is inviting all of the state's nursing facilities to join a Hawaii Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative. “They will debut this at our next meeting, at which time we also will be working on putting together a uniform surveillance form that we can all use.” Mountain Pacific Quality Health, the state’s Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) is also on board, and will work together with the Hawaii DOH to provide a series of inservices to support these efforts as well. “With this strategy, we ensure that we not only meet required standards and share best practices, share resources for education; but we also create practical practices and tools that are usable in daily practice. We succeed together,” says Dr. Wen.

“I wanted to bring practitioners together, and I chose the Society because it is such an inclusive organization. When I expressed interest in establishing a state chapter here several years ago, the national organization was extremely helpful and supportive,” she says. Society leaders offered to travel to the state to speak at meetings, and other state chapters shared their bylaws and other organizational tools. Dr. Wen appreciates the national organization’s and other chapters’ support and encouragement in her chapter’s start-up and efforts to continue its mission. “Realizing that the state chapter is an essential lifeline for practitioners in a state that is both small and removed geographically from others, it was always a goal to try to include providers from all of our neighbor islands. In earlier years, the technology proved challenging, but everyone is excited that it has finally become a reality,” says Dr. Wen “We run on a shoestring,” she says, “However, the energy and enthusiasm from the members and the community is infectious. We actually have local insurance companies and assisted living facilities requesting to sponsor our programs! They see how worthwhile this is, and they want to support our efforts.”

Dr. Wen doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk. She is the Program Director for the University of Hawaii Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program in her state, and she makes it mandatory for her fellows to participate in at least two Hawaii Medical Directors Association meetings. She also encourages her residents to get involved in a Society state chapter wherever they go after their training. “I tell them that this is where they will find colleagues who share their passions.” Dr. Wen is also looking at opportunities to share her chapter’s programs and activities with colleagues in Alaska, who share many of the same challenges as practitioners in her island state.

Is your state chapter interested in supplying CME/CMD credits for educational programming? State chapters can enter into a joint providership with the Society to provide CME and CMD credit for their educational programs. Contact to receive an application. State Chapters may also apply with the American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (ABPLM) for credits toward Certified Medical Director (CMD) certification and recertification (CMD clinical and management credits). Applications are available for either chapter meetings, or small groups. Click here for more information. Learn more about your state chapter here.