Page 4 - Volume 69 Number 2
P. 4

From the Editor
By Richard E. Burney, MD
Nota Bene
Ann Arbor, MI, April 8, 2017
The Washtenaw County Medical
Society Executive Committee
this week got its first look at an
important project that has been
ongoing at the Michigan State Medical
Society for the past 2 years when MSMS
Executive Director, Julie Novak, gave a
presentation entitled, “The Next 150
Years.” In it, she described the process
she envisions for the “organizational
remodeling” and preservation of what
was once the state’s largest and most
influential medical organization. This
process, which is both timely and critically important for MSMS, will continue in earnest on the afternoon of May 6 when Ms. Novak gives her presentation before the House of Delegates.
The reasons for “remodeling” – an equally apt term would be “reinvention” – are clear. Membership in MSMS has been slowly dwindling and is now around 5,000, which is a small fraction of the over 30,000 licensed physicians in Michigan. But that is just the symptom.
The underlying disease that must be confronted arises from structural changes in the organization and practice of medicine that are altering the needs and wishes of present and future members. These are what MSMS must confront as it redefines its mission and role. Independent private practice, the constituency that all medical societies were originally built to protect and serve,
has been on the wane for years. Hospitals and large physician organizations spanning the state now employ over 50% of Michigan physicians. Some of these organi- zations have almost as many physician members as MSMS. Many of the needs that MSMS once served, for insurance for example, or assistance with office practice matters, are now being served by employers. The social role of medical societies has disappeared.
The most important need for medical societies, which is to serve as a collective voice for members in their most important role – that of physicians caring for patients
– will not be necessarily be supported by others. In particular, physicians need to have a voice in local, state and national policy and politics. The WCMS legislative committee has, for example, maintained close working relationships with its state and national representatives as medical care delivery policy and reimbursement issues are debated in Washington and provided public forums in which to meet and hear from political
candidates. It is important that physicians in the state have a statewide organization that speaks for them at the state level.
The focus on the next 150 years is reflected in the updated MSMS mission statement, which now reads: The mission of MSMS is to improve the lives of physicians so that they may best care for the people they serve. I agree with the members of the executive committee who commented that this is an excellent starting point.
So, how should we proceed? What will be the most essential roles and services that MSMS should provide going forward? What is the most effective, efficient structure for accomplishing those roles? Is the House of Delegates an expensive, cumbersome anachronism or essential to our policy-making? Should we be thinking of the other large medical organizations in the state as competitors or as potential collaborators? The debate will begin in a few weeks. I hope it extends to all physicians, not just MSMS members and delegates, because that continues to be the constituency it rightly strives to serve.
Ave Atque Vale
The WCMS will be losing its executive director, Belinda Chandler, to the Michigan chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, where she will become the new executive director in June, 2017. This is a wonderful career opportunity for Belinda, whose skill and dedication as an advocate and manager for non-profit professional organiza- tions such as WCMS was immediately evident and has continued to be exemplary in every regard. Executive directors by necessity play an important intermediary role between leadership and membership as well as between the local and state organizations. This job requires diplomacy and tact in addition to high level social, financial, manage- ment and communication skills. The highest compliment that we can pay Belinda is this: in our search for her replacement we will be searching not just for a new executive director, but for another Belinda Chandler.
4 Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN

   2   3   4   5   6