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2021 ASA Director Annual Report

Director’s Update – November 21, 2021

Greetings SCSA members! Another year of a rocky ride, but the Anesthesiologists across the state have stepped up to the plate as they always do and worked hard on behalf of the citizens of South Carolina. I thank you all for your hard work and sacrifices this year. Unfortunately, I do not think we will ever look at public health the same again and we will have to look towards adjusting our practices permanently to be ready for the future. But that is what we do every day…. We plan for every contingency for our patients. We hope we do not need anything but plan B but if so- then we are on it.

So, what is happening at the ASA/Federal level? First, membership is hanging in there. We are losing too high a percentage of our residents as they move out from residency because they just are not being taught the importance of supporting their professional societies and the absolute requirement of making sure that we collectively work together to keep the profession thriving. The work in the statehouses and DC does not happen by accident, the work on payment and policy formation requires our input, the scientific advances and dissemination of that education and research is mandatory to keep all tens of thousands of Anesthesiologists (and their team members) up to date on all the best for our patients. The expectation when a person finishes their residency or fellowship is that they remain ASA members and work hard to maintain our profession. This needs to be said loud and clear to your new graduates that come into your practices. Here in South Carolina, we will have ongoing scope and payment issues that will need active and informed boots on the ground. We have FAR TOO MANY ostriches with their heads in the sand and eventually creates our largest barrier for the specialty.

Other issues with the ASA include the legislative and regulatory battles (Medicare payments/cuts, out of network payment regulation creation, VA Scope issues, and more), and working to provide more resources for residents and early career physicians. Much of this information can be gleaned by the website or signing up for the ASA Grassroots Network. Also new over the last 14 months is the ASA Community! Finally, if you have a question about patient care… concern about facility policy… or just want to participate in a discussion covering the many aspects of being a physician, we have a nice platform for physicians to discuss pt care, share ideas, and debate policy. I have learned some helpful things that I can apply directly to my practice by going weekly to the ASA Community. (For full disclosure, I also chair the member advisory panel for the community).

We had a wonderful in person ASA meeting in San Diego and I hope that more of you consider going next year to New Orleans. I want to thank our delegates that gave so freely of their time- it is no small thing to leave your practice for 5 days. At the ASA Annual and board meetings all South Carolina physicians present are invited to participate with the Southern Caucus. It is where we gather, network, share governance materials, discuss the policies, and work products of the ASA, and work together to provide input to the ASA Leadership. If you come to New Orleans be sure and put the Southern Caucus meetings on your agendas.

Lastly, if any of you need help you can always reach out to me. I may not always have an answer, but I will work to do what I can. It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as your representative to the ASA and if you want to become more active in Organized Anesthesiology, please let me or Margarita know. It is not about who you know or impressive credentials. I simply showed up and raised my hand twenty years ago and that is all that it takes. A willingness to become informed, participate, and then lead. Who will lead us in this next Generation?

All the best to all of you,
Jennifer Root, MD, FASA
ASA SC Director

Jennifer Root, MD, FASA ( | 803 528 7566)