Tuesday, December 19, 2006

High Finance

ACEP’s Finance Committee met by conference call on Friday, December 15th. Finance Committee Chair Peter Jacoby, MD, FACEP conducted the meeting. The committee is charged with assuring the financial health and well-being of the college. Three important discussions occurred during the call. They involved the long term investment plan, the planned renovations of ACEP headquarters, and the status of member equity.

The long term investment strategy is moderately conservative and stable. The group reviewed the report of a subcommittee chaired by William Dalsey, MD, FACEP. The group is currently considering possible changes to the investment strategy. The Finance Committee agreed with the current direction of the investment subcommittee, and requested that they continue their work with the goal of presenting their recommendations to the Board of Directors in the spring.

Closely tied to the investment strategy is the subject of member equity. The term “member equity” in simple terms refers to the “rainy day” worth of the college. This currently is an amount equal to 30% of the operating budget. Most similar associations have an amount equal to 50 - 70% of the operating budget in member equity. ACEP has not raised dues in ten years, and most members would not look favorably on increase in dues during these lean financial times. The other way to increase the amount of equity is to cut spending. And….there are always risk takers who would prefer not to increase the amount of member equity. These are not issues limited to ACEP. Congress faces similar issues on a daily basis. The ACEP leadership is committed to resolving this issue with more finesse than the federal government.

Lastly, the Finance Committee discussed the proposed renovations to ACEP headquarters. The office has been cramped for several years, and options to maximize the space without renovation have been exhausted. Last year the Board considered moving versus renovation, and renovation was chosen as the most cost-effective solution. The Finance Committee reviewed the progress and budget for the project, approving minor changes.

I thank the Finance Committee for the time and effort voluntarily spent on behalf of ACEP. Your contribution assures the future of our college and our specialty.

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