FGH physician retains national board post

By STAFF REPORTS,

Thad Waites, MD, MACC, cardiologist at Hattiesburg Clinic and medical staff at Forrest General, has held many positions throughout his career, including chair of the American College of Cardiology’s Board of Governors and a member of the ACC’s Board of Trustees. This year, he was to pass on his position as chair for the ACC’s Health Affairs Committee and received a replica of the George Washington Gavel as a parting gift.

Owned and wielded by America’s first president, the original gavel was used to lay the cornerstone of the United States Capitol in September of 1793.

According to the leaflet included with the replica, “This is one of the most carefully guarded and treasured relics associated with the first president of the United States. The original is maintained in a bank vault in Washington. The gavel was removed only under carefully controlled circumstances.”

The Health Affairs Committee is one of the standing committees of the ACC, and its members offer feedback on congressional issues, all state government issues, and all regulatory demands from the Washington bureaucracy. Waites has served on this committee for five years, including his three years as chair.

“Starting as an ex-officio member of the committee several years ago, I started getting pretty awe-inspired of what the advocacy division of the college was doing,” Waites said. “It’s been phenomenal what we’ve been involved with during my five years on the committee. We get involved with everything regarding payment from CMS (Medicare Services), every bill that goes before congress involving cardiology, and many other important matters. I have really enjoyed being a part of it, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount.”

Before going to Congress, any official recommendations regarding legislation is vetted by the Health Affairs Committee, then signed off by the chair, and then receives the final sign off from the president of the ACC. The committee is made up of ACC members from all over the country who offer their commentary and expertise on a range of healthcare issues and regulations affecting the United States and, in some cases, the rest of the world, as well.

 

“Some of it is strictly U.S. Congress and U.S. regulations, but we do have chapters all over the world. For example, our policies on immigration affected both the world and the United States. The principles that we established on Obamacare and the healthcare initiatives that were coming out last year and after President Trump was elected all came through our committee to get the ACC’s position. Locally, we’ve had some issues regarding scope of practice and regarding accreditation for transesophageal echo that came through our Washington committee even though they were strictly Mississippi issues,” Waites said.

Waites was prepared to relinquish his position as chair of the committee at the ACC’s annual meeting, which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana in March of this year. The College chose to reappoint him to chair the committee another year, but he says he plans to keep his parting gift.

“I’m back in as chair, but I told them they could not have the gavel back! It’s mine,” he said, raising the gavel with a smile.