Published in the December 2011 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
I HAVE BEEN A MEMBER of the Society of Hospital Medicine since 2000, the year I finished residency. I still have my original membership certificate and a NAIP hat that might actually be a collector’s item some day. Point being, I couldn’t imagine being a hospitalist and not being an SHM member.
SHM is a great organization that has played an important part in the collective success of all hospitalists. So if you aren’t a member, I would strongly urge you to become one. And if you are a member, I recommend that you utilize your membership to its fullest. Attend a national conference, go to a leadership academy, join a committee or get involved in a local chapter. I have no doubt that you will become a better hospitalist in the process.
Given my affinity for SHM, I am honored to be nominated for its board. I believe 10 years spent in leadership as a hospital-employed hospitalist in a community-based setting would bring unique expertise to that board. Further, I trust my writing demonstrates an understanding of the many challenges our specialty face “and that these editorials reflect insight, humor and concern. But for whomever you vote, you can’t go wrong; your society will be in good hands.
If you read my blogs, you know that I try to find at least a little humor in most matters, when appropriate. And no matter where you sit on the political spectrum, from Tea Party activist to Wall Street Occupier, I believe we can all agree on one thing: Our politicians willfully promise us so much more than they can deliver to get elected. If only the truthful debate still existed. Wishful thinking.
However, I do understand that most politicians aren’t stupid. Getting elected with 100% honesty is as likely as winning the Indy 500 in a Prius. Not happening.
So what follows is a completely satirical take on my run for office and our current political process, as if the two were analogous. Please understand this is only an attempt at comic relief and not meant in any way to disrespect the seriousness of our country’s political woes “or a slot on SHM’s board.
“A Vote for DeLue is a Vote for You!”
My Five Pillar platform
I will run my campaign based on integrity, compassion and honesty. But if that approach fails to gain traction, I have my “Five Pillars of Hospitalist Paradise” platform.
Debt relief. First, lets start with what the American hospitalist wants. Medical school debt is out of control. If you vote for me, I will see that SHM pays off your loans. Too good to be true? I’ve done the math and as long as I haven’t made any rounding errors, we are in good shape.
Here’s how the magic happens: Our first move will be to cut annual dues to $9.98 a year. Cut taxes AND increase spending? Sure! Why should our government have all the fun?
Next, I will invest your dues in credit default swaps, IPOs, emerging markets and, of course, Ponzi schemes. And on the off chance that this doesn’t yield the needed 100,000% ROI I will need, well, I live only an hour’s drive from Atlantic City. I suspect no other elected board member would have the courage to take SHM’s entire endowment and place it on black 33. Risky, you say? Well, I say risk is what built this country! And on the further off chance that the little ball lands on some other number, I have a backup plan. Trust me.
Daily census. American hospitalists are clamoring that they are overworked. The government can’t save the environment with a carbon cap and trade, but I can save us all with a patient cap each day. Under my leadership, we will cap encounters at 14. How? Simple: See only 14 patients a day. If there are more to be seen, see them tomorrow. Some may call this is irresponsible, but I say, “Think how much more grateful our patients will be to see a doctor after waiting 48 hours.”
Time off. Get ready to enjoy your favorite holidays all over again because you won’t be working them if I become a board member. No way, you say? Just call me and I will cover it for you. On the off chance I am unavailable, no worries. I will use my persuasive powers to convince any non-SHM hospitalist in your group to work it for you.
Education. Now that your education is paid for, you still have to worry about the ever-increasing cost and competiveness of college for your offspring. Again, problem solved. My wife is a professor at Princeton, a connection I will use to ensure your child is enrolled gratis at one of the finest universities in the world. Why would she do this for me? Because she is the rare politician’s spouse who knows that the worst pictures I have posted to Twitter involve our cat in a non-suggestive pose.
Salary. The final pillar of my leadership plan is compensation. By this time, with medical debt eliminated, patient load capped, holidays covered and your children’s education assured, I suspect you will be one very happy hospitalist. Just think how contagious your happiness will be. So virulent, I am certain, that even the most cash-strapped curmudgeon of a hospital administrator will be compelled to offer you no less than a 10% raise. Bank on it.
So vote early and vote often. And if you want to buy my influence, err, I mean support my campaign, please send your nonsequential, unmarked, large-denomination bills to my new SuperPAC: DeLuePAC. Your anonymity is assured.
And in closing, and in all seriousness, Happy Holidays and New Year to all!
Erik DeLue, MD, MBA, is medical director of the hospitalist program at Virtua Memorial in Mt. Holly, N.J. Check out Dr. DeLue’s blog and others on the Today’s Hospitalist Web site at www.todayshospitalist.com.