By Maurice J. Oakley, MD, KMA President
I’d like to begin my message by stating what an honor it is to serve as your President.
The Kentucky Medical Association has been a pillar of strength to Kentucky physicians. It has led us through some very trying times. Without the KMA we could very easily be saddled with a provider-tax and more mandated CME than you could imagine. The KMA has been incredibly effective in abolishing and preventing these.
This year the KMA achieved substantial victories in legislative actions. Senate Bill 4, which established medical review panels in malpractice litigation, was a huge success. The law is being challenged, but thus far has not been overturned.
The critical health issues of drug and tobacco abuse, as well as domestic violence, have also been addressed and feature new legislation which should help alleviate some of these problems. Throughout all of this, KMA played a major role.
In my inaugural address, I pledged to expose and abolish the burdens to our practice of medicine. We as physicians have been inundated with government regulations and insurers demands. Hardly any of these have resulted in good medical care. The AMA has also recognized this as a major problem and has also pledged to help alleviate these problems. In one of his final speeches as AMA President, Dr. Andy Gurman, who attended our Annual Meeting, said, “It is our duty to shed light on the challenges physicians face and to seek changes to protect the profession.” The burden of “prior authorizations” has been so destructive to the practice of medicine. They are both time consuming and non-productive and negates our skill as physicians to diagnose and test as we see fit. There is no replacement to actually being with the patient in order to evaluate and treat.
We as physicians train longer and more intensely than any other profession. We are continually updating our knowledge with CME. This is the way it should be as we are dealing with human life and there is nothing more precious than a human life. That is why it is such a waste to not allow this talent to work without outside interference.
Now we face a new set of challenges and obstacles in the new payment reimbursement system of MIPS and MACRA. This takes up more valuable time and ties up staff to submit the data required. Data that is not helping to treat our patients and data that if not submitted, cuts our reimbursement. I know of no other profession that would tolerate such a system.
This is just the surface of our problems. The KMA is working diligently to help eliminate these and more and with your help we will succeed.
Remember, we can ill afford to go to sleep, we must continue to aspire to our potential and do not forget medicine is both an Art and Science. The Art is what makes us healers and is the part that many times, government and insurers chose to ignore.
If you are a KMA member, congratulations, as you belong to a great and thriving organization. If you are not a member, you should seriously consider joining. It could change your future.