Med Journal Jan 2021 Final - Page 7

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tinuing executive orders . The Medical Society will support public health measures that are designed to curb the pandemic . And those issues should not become part of the political football .”
As in past sessions , Smith and his team will again rely heavily on help from AMS counsel , the firm Mitchell , Blackstock , Ivers , & Sneddon , PLLC . “ Mike Mitchell and his firm have done a terrific job working with AMS for more than 40 years at the Legislature , and we are grateful for their expertise once again ,” said Smith .
Doctor of the Day
Particularly this year , life ’ s daily challenges will not suddenly stop for the convening of the Arkansas Legislature . Lawmakers from across the state , while dedicated to the tasks at hand , will contend with the daily hassles we all face – including the threat of COVID-19 or other illness and injury . Fortunately , they can enter the Capitol with the assurance that , during the legislative session , there is bound to be a doctor somewhere in the House … or the Senate .
The Arkansas Medical Society ’ s “ Doctor of the Day ” program , formally established in 1979 , ensures that a physician is almost always present to provide care and consultation . Wroten credits Dr . Elvin Shuffield with inspiring the idea . A longtime leader of the Medical Society , Dr . Shuffield spent years serving as a volunteer physician to the General Assembly . “ The Infirmary , located on the third floor of our Capitol , was dedicated in memory of Dr . Shuffield ,” said Wroten . “ For each session for more than four decades , 50 or more AMS physician volunteers have donated their time and expertise to provide medical care to those at our Capitol every day .”
The service has proved valuable to staff members and the public also and for a variety of reasons . “ We see them all ,” said AMS Special Projects Coordinator Laura Hawkins . “ We have seen everything from a sick child from a tour group to broken bones and other serious medical issues .”
This year , doctors may need to expect a new scenario . “ In this unprecedented time , the program may be a little different than in the past ,” warned Hawkins . “ Previously , the Doctor of the Day attended legislative committee meetings and had floor privileges in the House and Senate , but those activities may be restricted for the 2021 session .”
Andrew Monfee , MD , practices family medicine in Russellville and has enjoyed serving as Doctor of the Day . His past service enhanced his knowledge of the legislative process and
Andrew Monfee , MD gave him the chance to get acquainted with the legislators . “ I have been able to exchange ideas and viewpoints on health care issues that have come before our legislative body ,” said Dr . Monfee .
In relation to COVID-19 concerns , he assured , “ While serving during the pandemic , AMS physicians will use standard precautions and PPE that we have had in place in our offices and hospitals since the beginning of this health care crisis . I look forward to serving once again in the 2021 legislative session .”
Shannon Swift , MD , FACP , FAAP has served as Doctor of the Day during the last three sessions . She has enjoyed seeing legislators – and the AMS team – in action . “ I have learned
Shannon Swift , MD , FACP , FAAP more about how bills are developed and passed ,” said Dr . Swift . “ I am most impressed with how hard our AMS team works to better medicine in Arkansas , whether that is bringing new legislation to improve care or fighting legislation that would potentially decrease the quality of care for Arkansans .
“ In the past , I have sat in many a crowded meeting room as committees discuss various bills with those for and [ against ] giving their sides . I see this part of the process being very different this year due to COVID-19 . We will need to use our voices to carry our message . We will need all doctors in Arkansas to be ready to contact their legislators regarding the bills that are important to our ability to provide the best care .”
To learn more about what you can do , how to reach your local representatives , or for obtaining information on upcoming issues , call Scott Smith at AMS ( 501- 224-8967 ).

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Volume 117 • Number 7 JANUARY 2021 • 151