By Marian Benjamin

From March 17-19, 2005, pulmonary specialists gathered near San Diego for the NAMDRC (National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care) 28th annual meeting and educational conference, “Essentials in Pulmonary Medicine 2005.” I was fortunate to be invited to attend this informative meeting, where I met some of the “movers and shakers” in respiratory care and attended several educational sessions.

Marian Benjamin

NAMDRC’s meetings are unique in that companies that support NAMDRC are encouraged to attend all of the sessions. Thus, rather than have an exhibit hall, the NAMDRC meeting facilitates interactions between physicians and vendors in a less pressured setting. As well, while much of the meeting is devoted to clinical topics, speakers are also invited to address subjects that are uncommon at other educational meetings. One such presentation, “The Future of the Specialty Care Physician —Is There One?” was offered by William F. Jessee, MD, president and CEO, Medical Group Management Association. Jessee explored the economic environment that poses major challenges to the survival of many medical practices and also offered some strategies to keep medical practices economically viable.

Throughout the meeting, thought leaders in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine addressed a wide array of clinical issues, including the diagnosis of pulmonary emboli, weaning/extubation, and new COPD treatment strategies, as well as legal and regulatory issues.

During the welcome reception, I had the pleasure of meeting the new president, Joseph Sokolowski, Jr, MD, and other respiratory care and sleep experts from around the country.

This excellent conference was well planned and run thanks to the efforts of Phillip Porte, executive director of NAMDRC, and his assistant, Addie O’Connell.

NAMDRC, a national organization of 540 physicians, was founded 20 years ago. According to the Web site, its mission is to educate its members and address regulatory, legislative, and payment issues that relate to the delivery of healthcare to patients with respiratory disorders. The association provides support for physician management of pulmonary-related care services through its annual meeting and its monthly newsletter, “Washington Watchline.” The newsletter provides NAMDRC members with information about federal regulations and statements and notices from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, updates from the Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carriers, and news about Local Medical Review Policies.

In addition, NAMDRC has published several position papers on topics such as ventilator management, credentialing, and state respiratory care laws. NAMDRC also acts as an advocate for respiratory care practitioners before regulatory agencies and legislators.

More about what NAMDRC is doing for you can be found on its Web site, If you want to be “in the know” about issues that impact your profession and learn more about the work NAMDRC is doing for RTs, I encourage you to visit the site.


Marian Benjamin is the former editor of RT. For more information, contact [email protected].