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Foundation looks to up contribution levels in 2021

Beth Bales

Led by chair Peter Nelson, MD, the SVS Foundation Development Committee works with Foundation chair Peter Lawrence, MD, and the SVS Foundation Board to develop strategies to promote SVS member donations. The active membership contribution percentage continues to grow, with last fiscal year hitting 17.5%, Nelson says. “Our goal is to have 100% support from SVS members and leaders in advancing our field.”

Giving tends to be more weighted toward the end of the tax year, he continues. “However, the Committee is working on ways to encourage donation more continuously throughout the year by approaching specific audiences and creating seasonal promotions. This starts with peer-to-peer solicitation and encouraging the SVS leadership to lead by example. We can then appeal to younger and senior members, among others, to encourage participation with matching programs and other incentives.”

Vascular policing: Developing a ‘robust’ internal evaluation program

By Beth Bales and Bryan Kay

The Conflict of Interest and Professional Conduct Committee occupies an important role in the SVS polity. “One of our committee’s charges is to evaluate the actual or potential conflicts of interest of its members who serve in leadership positions,” chair O. William Brown, MD, tells Vascular Specialist.

“For 2021, we want to develop a robust internal evaluation program and encourage members to report any actions they believe are code of ethics violations.

As per protocol, the committee routinely evaluates such conflicts each year and forwards its recommendations to the Executive Committee.”

However, the second charge—to evaluate concerns regarding the professional conduct of the SVS membership—is rarely performed, Brown explains.

This has most often been a result of the membership’s reluctance to report cases of misconduct, and the Society’s reluctance to review cases it believes most often are the result of local politics, he says. However, the SVS code of conduct states that a “member shall not participate in any activity that is not in the best interest of the patient.”

Today, as evidenced by articles in national newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, the vascular community is under siege, Brown goes on to argue.

Vascular surgeons have been accused of practicing medicine purely for their own benefit—and not for the benefit of the patients they treat, he points out.

“Accordingly, it is clear that when a physician places his or her income above the quality of patient care, it falls under the auspices of the SVS,” Brown continues.

A committee goal this year is to encourage all members to report any activities they see within the vascular community that they believe rise to the level of a code of ethics violation.

Vascular surgeons are being evaluated by the public, insurance companies and the legal community, Brown argues. “However, vascular surgeons are the most capable of evaluating the actions of other vascular surgeons. If we do not assume this role now, as noted, others will take our place,” he explains.

“I believe that the last thing vascular surgeons want is to have lay people evaluate the medical treatment that a vascular surgeon provides to his/her patient. Physicians agree that such an approach has not been very successful or satisfying when applied in the field of medical malpractice litigation.

“If vascular surgeons do not police themselves lay people or—even worse—the government will assume that role. The committee’s goal is to develop a robust internal evaluation program and avoid others from assuming a duty that we are most suited to perform.”