AAFP selects a new president

The new president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) opened his first speech with words of wisdom about family physicians listening to their patients. Michael Munger, M.D., of Overland Park, Kansas, said that engaging with patients is what family physicians do. “It’s what separates us from many specialties,” said Munger.

Dr. Munger was addressing AAFP’s 2017 Family Medicine Experience (FMX) in San Antonio, just hours after being named the new president of the organization. With over 31 years of experience, Dr. Munger started out as an independent physician and worked in his own practice for 16 years. Now he travels the country, listening to other family physicians and relaying their concerns back to the AAFP board.

Some of those concerns involve the interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs). Dr. Munger noted in an interview that the lack of interoperability “really is one of the biggest challenges” that “leads to fragmentation and to the potential for gaps in care.” Dr. Munger also plans to address other major issues facing primary care physicians, such as administrative complexities and payment reform.

Dr. Munger has been involved with AAFP since the beginning of his career. In addition to his concern for patients, some of whom have been with him for his entire 31-year career, he is also focused on helping family physicians who may be facing burnout. Part of his mission as the new AAFP president is to “work on the drivers that lead to physician burnout; identifying solutions will remain at the top of the AAFP’s priority list.”

Regarding the continuing national issues of healthcare coverage plans, Quality Payment Plans, and value-based reimbursements that are causing headaches for many family physicians, Dr. Munger emphasizes that AAFP is a “bipartisan membership organization.” He adds that he and AAFP “will continue working to reduce administrative complexity in medicine and will keep pushing our messages out about the value of primary care.”