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From the Executive Director



Greetings from the team here at the UHMS! 

Annual Scientific Meeting

It's an exciting time as we approach our 50th Anniversary date – April 10, 2017. However, we’re going to hold back celebrating this golden achievement until we get to the beach in Naples, Florida, for the UHMS’s Annual Scientific Meeting.

We hope you will join us, as we are preparing for a remarkable meeting at the Naples Grande, a luxury beach resort on Florida’s southwest coast. The resort is family-friendly, and there are villas available for larger parties. There are numerous activities including diving, fishing, paddle boarding, golf, tennis and lounging, so bring your flip-flops, sunblock, swimming attire, dive equipment and golf clubs and prepare to have a great time.

Consider making your reservations early, as the UHMS is expected to occupy more than 90% of the resort. 

Operationally, the team is busy and focused on serving you, the members of our great organization. UHMS President Dr. Enoch Huang provides an update on the launch of the UHMS Program for Advanced Training in Hyperbarics CAQ program for practitioners in his column. The PATH-CAQ program will be housed in our education department led by Stacy Rupert, with administrative support from the executive office. Stacy is also leading our ACCME reaccreditation this year, and we tremendously appreciate her efforts.

Additionally, Tom Workman and Beth Hands of the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs department and the Accreditation Council are working to approve the new criteria for “With Distinction” status for UHMS Accreditation and also on approving the new Probes in the Accreditation Manual. Renée Duncan is focused on the continued elevation of the UHMS’s peer-reviewed publication, the UHM Journal. She is leading the initiative to incorporate DOI numbers for each article published in UHM. This will be another milestone achieved for the publication. Renée’s role of managing editor in the Publications department has evolved into a larger one over the past several years. To acknowledge the shift, we have rebranded her department Communications.

Lisa Tidd in the Membership and Meetings department is actively involved planning the six UHMS meetings in 2017, including the ASM in Naples, the Gulf Coast Chapter meeting in Clearwater, Florida, the Mid-West Chapter meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, the Medical Examination of Divers course in New Orleans, Louisiana, the UHMS-NOAA Physicians Training in Dive Medicine, Seattle, Washington, the Northeast Chapter meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the Pacific Chapter meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

Eric vanBok, Information Services, has been actively involved in creating and launching a host of new systems including the new abstract review platform, the PATH-CAQ platform, the UHMS’s new Accredited programs map and the new UHMS website.

However, while these team members represent the tip of the spear, the backbone of the UHMS is made up of our numerous volunteers. These folks are completely selfless. If you have an opportunity to thank them, I ask that you do because without them the organization would wither.

If you’re interested in volunteering or serving the membership, please let us know and we will do our best to get you plugged in.


As a reminder, voting is open for the two open positions on the UHMS board of directors. PLEASE, take a moment and cast your ballot in support of your favored candidate. The link is on the home page of the website:
The UHMS Awards nominations are open. Take a moment and nominate those who go above and beyond. Awardees are recognized at the ASM banquet on Saturday evening, July 1. Find the link at 
As you probably know, the UHMS has launched its own version of “ask-the-experts.” Called MEDFAQs, it can be found at the following URL:
    This is a valuable tool for our membership. We continue to be excited about the number and types of questions being submitted and the level of detail in the answers from some of the most prominent thought-leaders in the fields of undersea and hyperbaric medicine. Look for these questions to be syndicated throughout the UHMS’s other publications, including this one.

    If you’re already familiar with MEDFAQs, check back, as new Q&As are posted regularly.
We continue to see issues with regard to ICD-9 to ICD-10 crossover and are working with the Quality, Utilization, Authorization and Reimbursement Committee QUARC and industry stakeholders to address the gaps.
    Most recently, we received notice that “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has instructed all Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to not post new or revised Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs) or Local Coverage Articles (LCAs) until further notice.”  (From the Cahaba Website February 23, 2017.) This should mean that all draft or final policies on hyperbaric oxygen therapy are on hold. We do not have any additional information at this time. If you are not aware, the Office of Inspector General of the United States (OIG) has listed hyperbaric oxygen as number one on its 2017 work plan.
    For more information on these and other regulatory and reimbursement topics, please login to the UHMS website and view the QUARC page: under the Resources Tab on the main page of the UHMS website.  


We continue to solicit questions from members and we have a couple here to address. Thank you for your time and contributions.  
Q:  Is UHMS aligned with any management or publications companies?   
A: The UHMS is an independent 501(c)(3) organization. It is required to report all closely related company transactions to its financial auditors. As a 501(c)(3), the UHMS is required to have a formal financial audit annually and the UHMS is compliant in this regard. All employees and governance members of the UHMS sign conflict of interest statements as part of the overall organization’s compliance program. 

    The UHMS does not owe debts to any external organization, and where there are purchased goods or services bids are made when applicable.
    The UHMS values the fields’ stakeholders and more than ever it is working more closely with those stakeholders as market and regulatory forces threaten the field’s long-term viability.    
Q:  How is the UHMS doing financially and is it growing its membership? 
A:  The UHMS is performing well according to the UHMS auditors in the 2015 audit review and our financial position is solid. In 2016, we met budget and made a surplus. 

    It’s very important to note that over the past two years we have had to make substantial updates and investment in our systems and processes to create a solid foundation in order for the Society to project and propel forward.
    Our membership is healthy.  While it has not grown as quickly as we would like, this is quite common problem among many medical scientific societies since many employers don't pay for membership.  


I continue to appreciate communicating with you, the members, about the challenges you’re facing on a regular basis. Just as importantly, I enjoy hearing about your successes, including patient outcomes, new research opportunities and overcoming barriers. I value every call. Please know that we hear you and understand how dynamic the healthcare environment is at this point and time. If you have a question or a concern, most likely someone else out there has one similar, please give me a call and if I cannot help, we will try and find someone who can.

    We need to hear how we can better serve you. If you have a suggestion or comment, please send me an email directly at or call me at +561-776-6110 extension 100.

    It is my pleasure to serve you, our membership, and I continue to look forward to hearing from you. We thank you all and wish you the very best!

John S. Peters is the Executive Director of the UHMS.

Tags: Pressure First Quarter 2017