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Membership in KMA: Our Success is Your Success

Membership in KMA: Our Success is Your Success
By Pat Padgett, KMA Executive Vice President

Every year, I provide a series of health care policy presentations to medical students and how it applies to practicing physicians.  When I presented at the University of Kentucky last year, I ran over a few minutes and apologized to the professor coming in behind me.  “No problem,” he said. “I wish I had known that stuff before I went into practice.”

The Kentucky Medical Association (KMA) also cuts through the onslaught of information practicing physicians get daily and focuses it to make it useful.  Our members and leaders use that information to focus our work so that member participation is most meaningful. Those concentrated efforts provide opportunities for physicians to be more connected to their colleagues, patients and the communities where they practice.

Take, for instance, a law passed in 2017 that forced insurers to pay for smoking cessation counseling and drugs.  It was passed on the heels of KMA’s “Commit to Quit” public health campaign, which encouraged Kentuckians to stop smoking.  Our physician members were a key ingredient to the success of that campaign, as well as the passage of legislation that, for those physicians who regularly counsel on smoking cessation, now have an extra $10,400 of reimbursements annually. 

A groundbreaking telehealth law also passed in Kentucky last year, opening the way for telehealth services to be reimbursed and providing options to patients and physicians for treatment.  Well-informed practicing physicians and physician leaders were the key to getting that law passed.

A few years ago, the local Medicare carrier sought to require physicians to complete all documentation within two days of the patient visit or reimbursements would be denied.  KMA and its members lobbied behind-the-scenes to keep this requirement from taking effect and prevented undue administrative burdens. 

Beyond this work are opportunities for physicians to engage and connect with the community.  KMA’s recent work in public health through campaigns such as “Commit to Quit” and more recent flu campaign provide opportunities for physician members to engage with patients, policy makers and local health leaders.  This work brought a direct tie to many local health departments, with one such entity publicly touting its work with the KMA to get the community engaged. 

Being a member also allows physicians to take advantage of invaluable networking and leadership opportunities beyond public health.  Our Community Connector Leadership Program includes physicians who now participate on boards, medical society and health system leadership, as well as local and statewide policy making.  And our new Kentucky Physician Leadership Institute received a statewide award after only two years in existence because it helped physicians take that next step into leadership positions and make an impact in their communities. 

All this work and opportunity for engagement is available to KMA members and allows the medical profession to make an even bigger mark.  If you are not engaged because of too many other commitments, keep informed and wait for the right opportunity.  Our work would not be possible without our members and KMA wants our success to be your success.