Editor’s note: SHM occasionally puts the spotlight on some of our most active members who are making substantial contributions to hospital medicine. Visit www.hospitalmedicine.org for more information on how you can lend your expertise to help improve the care of hospitalized patients.
This month, The Hospitalist spotlights Atashi Mandal, MD , a Med-Peds hospitalist in Huntington Beach, Calif. Dr. Mandal has been a member of SHM since for more than a decade, has served on the Public Policy Committee, and is currently serving on the Patient Experience Committee.
How did you initially hear about SHM, and why did you become a member?
I was a newly minted hospitalist and eagerly searching for a way to use my CME allowance, when I discovered SHM’s annual conference, which happened to be nearby in San Diego that year. I also was intrigued by, and excited to learn more about, an organization that dedicated itself only to hospital medicine. After attending the conference, I was hooked!
As a member of more than a decade, what aspects of your membership have you found to be most valuable?
I’ve always been very impressed by the quality and variety of the educational offerings. As a Med-Peds hospitalist, I can happily attest to greater inclusion of pediatric-specific content and a more robust presence of pediatric hospitalists over the years. Moreover, I am very appreciative of SHM’s progressive attitude as demonstrated by incorporating topics such as gender disparities, LGBTQ health, and the opioid crisis into our curriculum. I also have greatly enjoyed the networking opportunities with fellow hospitalists, some of whom I am happy to say have also become good friends over the years. More recently over the past few years, I’ve participated on committees, which has been an illuminating and gratifying way to help shape SHM’s current and future directives.
Describe your role on the Public Policy Committee. What did the committee accomplish during your term?
I was very honored to serve as a member of this committee for three terms. The staff is truly superhuman and amazing, considering how well they stay abreast of the swiftly changing administrative and legislative currents in health care. Just during my tenure as an SHM member, we’ve witnessed paramount shifts in our practice and culture, from the passage of MACRA, [the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act] to the opioid epidemic. The Public Policy Committee identifies issues that affect our practice as hospitalists and advocates on our behalf through various means, from submitting comments and letters as well as personally meeting with our regulatory agencies such as CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services], and our federal legislators. Some major victories were the acquisition of our specialty billing code and approval of an advanced care billing code. Additionally, the committee has been tirelessly advocating for reform with observation status. We have submitted comments to legislative committees regarding the opioid crisis and continue to work with MACRA as it affects our membership. While I served, I took a special interest in mental health and pediatric issues, including CHIP [Children’s Health Insurance Program] reauthorization and the 21st Century Cures Act.