11/03/08 — Tayloe takes over as president of American Academy of Pediatrics

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Tayloe takes over as president of American Academy of Pediatrics

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 3, 2008 1:46 PM

Dr. David Tayloe, left, is inducted as president of the American Academy of Pediatrics by Dr. Renee Jenkins, outgoing president. Ceremonies were held recently in Boston.

Now that Dr. David Tayloe has been officially inducted as president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, he plans to take his experience and passion into the federal arena.

The upcoming year will be a whirlwind, he said during a brief visit to Goldsboro this past week and will include speaking engagements, administrative duties and, after the election, lobbying legislators and Congress.

Tayloe has taken a leave of absence from Goldsboro Pediatrics, which he helped found in 1977 and went on to expand to locations in Mount Olive, Princeton and LaGrange. He has long been an advocate for school health issues, child abuse prevention and adolescent pregnancy prevention.

The national presidency brings with it a salary and essentially a three-year commitment -- one year each as president-elect, president and then immediate past president.

Tayloe's induction marks the first time in five years a community pediatrician has been in the leadership role. The last few presidents have worked at teaching hospitals, he said.

Once elected, he set up five areas of concentration for the coming year -- Medicaid payments, vaccine financing issues, fair payment of pediatricians, retail-based health clinics and funding medical students' education.

"I think Congress probably assumes that if children are eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program, a federal program that provides funding for each state), they assume they're all getting services," Tayloe said. "In North Carolina, we have been very fortunate because we have had the government, legislators, governors and then administration who have to take budgets and make children eligible and assure the kids actually have access to services."

The state already has a system in place that has proven effective, he said. But it's not perfect.

"There are provider shortages and kids don't have services for a variety of reasons. We have a lot of work to do," he said. "But by and large because the state of North Carolina appears to value their children, it's giving them access to physicians and now across the country ... I think Congress needs to probably increase the amount of money they're sending to the state for Medicaid."

Tayloe also favors keeping insurance companies out of Medicaid programs and instead ensuring that children receive health care.

"This will be something (where) we have to find that person inside the beltline in Washington who's got some power and convince them that Congress should assist the states in paying the Medicare rate," he said. "What Congress needs to own up to is that Medicaid was flawed from the beginning. ... You have got 50 different states setting up 50 different programs and paying providers 50 different ways, and a lot of children do not have services they're entitled to, and Congress needs to fix that."

While the AAP office is in Chicago, there is also one in Washington, D.C., a resource Tayloe plans to utilize after the election.

"The staff in Washington will arrange for me and other pediatricians to talk with officials in the new administration and with members of Congress and the staff to do whatever we can to increase the number of children who have access to medical services," he said.

It will be a full-time commitment, Tayloe said.

Another area of interest is providing preventive care for children, Tayloe said.

"The U.S. spends probably less than 5 percent on preventive care. It's a sick care system," he said. "Nowhere do we need more preventive care than with children."

Immunizations have also been a hot topic of late, specifically in the area of autism. On one occasion, Tayloe was included on a panel on TV's "Larry King Live" that featured a heated debate with celebrity mom Jenny McCarthy, who attributed her son's diagnosis to vaccinations received.

Tayloe maintains the AAP's position that immunizations are necessary.

"We have absolutely got to convince the government to educate the public that vaccines are good," he said. "Vaccines do not cause autism and we're not afraid of the truth -- if something's wrong with a vaccine, we would pull it. It's ridiculous to argue with a bunch of Hollywood actors about this."

For at least the next year, Tayloe's schedule is not his own.

His itinerary in the coming weeks includes trips to Chicago for leadership meetings, attending an American Medication Association meeting in Florida to discuss crossover issues, a trip to Egypt to speak to pediatricians from Arabic countries and a visit to Dubai, where pediatricians are seeking to establish the group's first international chapter.