In this issue of the newsletter, we stress the importance of involvement in organized medicine. Organized medicine benefits us all in many ways and has a phenomenal record of accomplishment in the United States. Physicians in organized medicine have delivered an amazing record of achievements in healthcare such as the development of standards of practice, codes of ethics, guidelines for medical education and journals containing the results of groundbreaking research. During this current period of enormous upheaval in medicine, we must not lose sight of the accomplishments we have made together and the huge influential role we play in our society.
Physicians were once considered the indisputable authorities on healthcare, and we still can fulfill that role if we vow to stand united and in solidarity. While our opinions were once unchallenged; now we are but one voice among many. While each of us has a role to play with our individual patients, together we increase quality, safety and efficiency, and improve outcomes for all patients. Together, we accomplish what none of us could have done alone. By standing together, united in vision and commitment, we physicians can shape the future healthcare system this country needs.
Anesthesiologists involved in organized medicine bring a wealth of knowledge and experience back to the anesthesia community. We are involved in ASA, MSV, AMA and other prominent medical organizations. We leverage the experience of other leaders to deal with issues we face in our practices. We are not alone in the desire to make medicine better for anesthesiologists and our patients.
We have accepted the responsibility to serve in professional organizations to contribute our professional expertise to the healthcare needs of society as a whole. There are commonalities to the issues we face and to the education we must offer to those who don’t understand the unique position of physicians in today’s healthcare environment.
We are also responsible to assess the social, economic and political forces that impinge in many ways upon anesthesia practice and the professional interactions with our patients. Anesthesiologists can and do make a difference in healthcare organizations.
Anesthesiologists involved in organized medicine also network across organizations. At a time when medical practice feels lonely and anesthesiologists face unprecedented rates of burnout and suicide, a professional network to interact with colleagues who are dealing with the same or similar issues is a welcome situation and a chance to stay connected. Organized medicine is an opportunity to build relationships. At a time when anesthesiologists are facing more and more intrusion by government regulation and restriction on how we practice, the strength-in-numbers unified front in organized medicine provides policymakers with our prescription for healing of the healthcare system using the power of advocacy and negotiation.
One example of the impact of organized medicine is the recent advocacy for balance billing legislation in Virginia. Although bills supported by VSA and MSV ultimately did not advance during the last legislative session, we demonstrated that a coalition of physicians, hospitals and patients speaking with a unified voice could provide a positive influence on this issue.
During the session, the House of Medicine successfully defeated harmful balanced billing legislation that was supported only by the health insurers. In the end, the voice of organized medicine advocating for our patients, was heard loudly by our lawmakers.
Finally, organized medicine serves as a platform from which our leaders in anesthesiology communicate and connect with other anesthesiologists. Organized medicine allows us the opportunity to build communities of anesthesiologists who share much in common with each other. Through the tools that have been developed, leaders can keep members informed about important issues. Organized medicine acts as a filter to remove all of the noise around us and allows us to stay focused on the priorities in healthcare.
If you would like to become more involved in any aspect of organized medicine including the VSA or MSV, please reach out to your local regional director or to me directly at Jeffrey.email@example.com.
One of the best aspects of organized medicine is its inclusiveness; there is always so much to be done and all are welcome to participate. I look forward to hearing from you or meeting you at an upcoming organized medicine event.