This is an example of the community coming together to help those in need. The Daily Signal spend a day with us and captured it well. If we had 100 such clinics in the state, we could make a huge difference without taking so much from the taxpayers. Our economy would bounce back.
Dear NJ AAPS Members and Friends,
Earlier this week the NJ Assembly passed A2270 which would legalize physician assisted suicide.
The bill now moves to the NJ Senate and we urge you to ask your Senator to oppose this bill. CLICK HERE to find your Senator's contact information. AAPS Past-President Dr. Alieta Eck's letter to the Senate follows below.
To: Members of the NJ Senate
Re: Death With Dignity Bill to legalize Physician Assisted Suicide
On November 13th, the NJ Assembly voted to pass A2270, the Death with Dignity Bill. I urge the NJ Senate to vote “No” when it comes before them.
I am a physician in private practice and served as President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons in 2012. This organization was founded in 1943 to preserve the private patient-physician relationship. It is our belief that physicians have earned the trust of their patients, and a patient should never have to wonder whether the physician is coming to improve his life or end it.
Physicians who have taken the Oath of Hippocrates know that it is their solemn duty to respect all human life. Every unique person has a different course in life, and it is our role to minimize suffering wherever possible.
Depression, terminal illness and financial issues can lead to despair, and rather than helping see a reason to live, it would be a violation of good medicine for a physician to assist his patient in the irreversible course of assisted suicide. There is never enough evidence to insure that there is not a hidden coercion on the part of family members who do not have the best interest of the patient at heart.
We physicians have learned how to save lives, and we use our training and experience to determine when the process of dying has begun. At that point we do not want to employ heroic measures, as this would only prolong suffering. There is often a fine line between allowing a patient to die a peaceful death and making that death happen.
It is always dangerous for the government to intervene in any way other than to promote the culture of life. Instead of legalizing physician-assisted suicide, we need to promote all avenues of improving mental health. And in the case of a patient who has entered into the dying process, the physician needs to supervise the compassionate, life-affirming programs of hospice and palliative care.
Thank you very much for giving careful consideration to these viewpoints.
Alieta Eck, MD
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
New Jersey taxpayers provide “charity care” to thousands of patients each year at a cost of over one billion dollars.
This massive expenditure is in addition to the $12 to 13 billion dollars spent annually in the state for 1 Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite promises to the contrary, will neither address the needs of the destitute for medical care, nor control the costs associated with that care, and may, in fact, increase the hardship and costs for needy residents of New Jersey. A new resolution put forth to the New Jersey State Legislature, NJ S239, has been written to ameliorate these concerns, reducing costs while providing muchneeded care.
The Problem: Government Run Medicine
- Medicaid rolls are expected to double under the ACA.
- Medicaid patients, according to an Oregon study, are more likely to seek care at an emergency room than are patients with no medical insurance coverage. This adds to the problem of unnecessarily overused emergency rooms.
- Emergency rooms are frequently used by patients with nonemergent illnesses. This causes overcrowding and places a tremendous burden on physicians, nurses, and hospital staff.
- Physicians, in greater numbers, are refusing to take new Medicaid patients as this government run program fails to cover their costs. This only adds to the ever increasing demand for care exacerbated by problems with the Medicaid program.
- Bureaucrats are being hired in greater numbers to handle Medicaid regulatory paperwork under the guise of controlling fraud and abuse while, in essence, rationing care.
- Physicians, unable to meet their financial obligations, are leaving the state or closing their offices and retiring early. This increases the demand and cost for medical care.
- Patients, frustrated with problems inherent in the system, are becoming increasingly angry and filled with despair.
- Physicians and nurses provide ready access to free, local primary care. This is true charity.
- Volunteers from the community provide nonbureaucratic, practical, lowercost staffing.
- Physicians who provide care through free clinics receive free medical malpractice coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) which deems them part of the national public health service for the purpose of such coverage.
- Patients, regardless of economic circumstances, have access to medical care. Poverty is usually fluid and temporary, so those in need can continue to utilize clinics while working in entry level positions until they are able to pay for primary care on their own.
- Taxpayers do not bear the costs of providing care.
- Citizens gain a sense of satisfaction that local needs are being met.
- Community residents learn by example to help those in need in ways beyond health care, such as contributing to food pantries and clothing drives.
- Former patients often give back to the community by volunteering in free clinics.
- Providers and patients share in a mutuallyuplifting experience.
- Taxpayers benefit from economic improvement due to the reduced burden on the state’s budget.
The Proposal: New Jersey Charity Clinics
- Legislators pass and the Governor signs NJ S239 into law providing medical malpractice coverage for the entire practice of each physician who donates service, extending coverage for attending and resident physicians and medical students in state medical schools (the cost of covering medical school physicians is approximately ten million dollars per year).
- Legislators facilitate the opening of new, nongovernment charity clinics by freeing empty government buildings such as office space, old schools, or previouslyclosed hospitals.
- Churches assist is setting up clinics near the emergency rooms of existing hospitals. Such clinics do not use taxpayer funds to run their operations but solicit donations from philanthropic individuals and businesses.
- Physicians donate four hours per week either working through or in a nongovernment, free clinic.
- Surgeons participate by agreeing to handle two cases per month in the hospital.
- Clinics and hospitals screen and list FTCA participating professionals thereby demonstrating quality control measures (the FTCA deeming process is renewed annually).
- Clinics establish the criteria by which patients receive care reducing the need for bureaucratic oversight or the issuance of identification cards.
- Hospitals may use the charity care program for patients who need hospitalization but cannot afford care.
The Bill: NJ S239 (Prime Sponsors: Singer, Stack, Oroho)
Physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals who donate four hours in or through a nongovernment, free clinic, having been deemed fit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, shall be immune from any civil liability or other legal action. Any such liability and resulting legal action shall be borne by the State of New Jersey.
Summary and Conclusion
The Medical Society of New Jersey, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the New JerseyInstitute of Civil Justice, and several religious organizations (eager to open clinics) support this legislation.
Legislators in both the Senate and Assembly have been fully briefed through numerous meetings, and many are supportive. In addition, the legislative staff of the majority and minority leadership and staff in the office of the Governor have also received full briefings on the proposal. Senator Singer, who serves on the board of a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), estimates that, if enacted, the state would save 250 million dollars per year.
Members of other state legislatures have reviewed this proposal and the response has been very positive. The bill has been introduced in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Presidentelect of the Medical Society of Virginia supports the bill and has asked for help to pass this legislation.
NJ S239 will be a force for positive change in New Jersey for patients, physicians, and taxpayers – your constituents!
Alieta Eck, MD
Cofounder, Zarephath Health Center, www.zhcenter.org
2012 President, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, www.aapsonline.org
AAPS has released FREE of charge, the video, audio, and other resources from all 12 talks at the AAPS Spring Meeting held May 17, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. CLICK HERE to find links to presentations containing important ideas, strategies, and practical tools that will help win this fight. Please watch, listen, and feel free to widely share these talks.
June 2, 2013
The Board took the following actions at its June 2, 2013 meeting.
5. Resolution on the Maintenance of Certification. The Board made the following recommendations.
RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of New Jersey acknowledges that the certification requirements within the Maintenance of Certification™ process are costly, time intensive and result in significant disruptions to the availability of physicians for patient care; and be it further Adopted by Board.
AAPS Immediate-Past President Alieta Eck, MD, attended the Benjamin Rush Society debate in Philadelphia on April 20, 2013 on Maintenance of Certification and compiled the following summary:
This debate laid out the case that ending counterproductive Maintenance Of Certification is a worthy goal for the medical profession.
Video streaming by Ustream
By: Alieta Eck MD,
Imagine the amazement of an Ecuadorian Auca Indian on his first visit to a modern American grocery store. He described the wonder of walking down the aisles, filling his cart with his colorful choices. Once his purchases were scanned, his American host handed him a plastic card which he was instructed to give to the young lady at the register. Not only did the card allow him to take all the groceries “for free,” but the clerk gave the credit card back to him! This visit to the store cost him absolutely nothing. America is a wonderful place!