MESSAGE FROM THE MCMS PRESIDENT
John f. clark, MD President, Monterey County Medical Society
Meet John Clark My Background And Goals For My Tenure As Your President By John F. Clark, MD President, Monterey County Medical Society As the new president of the Monterey County Medical Society, I have been honored to be elected to represent you, the physicians and members of the society, and as your new president, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself. I was born and raised in San Jose, CA, and as a child came to Monterey regularly with my father, who was an avid sailor and was fond of racing his 18” lead keel mercury, “Red Fox,” in regattas on the Monterey Bay. When I graduated from UC Davis medical school with the intention of “specializing” in family medicine, the opportunity to complete my training at a top-notch residency in Monterey County proved irresistible. After completing my training, I was fortunate to join a primary care group here managed through Natividad Medical Center, which I directed for eight years. I was equally fortunate to then go on to join the largest primary care group in Monterey County, a group I continue to be a part of as it continues to grow. I am a busy practicing physician, and I think this is valuable perspective to bring to the office. It is from this perspective that I would further like to share with you some ideas I have concerning what I see as the role of the Monterey County Medical Society in the local practice of medicine. It is abundantly evident that we live in a time of mass medicine. Our national health care system is a $3 trillion industry that must meet the needs of over 311 million citizens with a work force of over 660,000 physicians, 83,000 physician assistants, and 106,000 nurse practitioners. Locally, the over 420,000 people of Monterey County depend on more than 600 local physicians for their care. A myriad of large, private national health insurance companies, as well as several enormous state and national public health care programs, facilitate the majority of this care. The recently passed Affordable Care Act attempts to organize this 10 | THE BULLETIN | JULY / AUGUST 2012
system globally on an unprecedented scale and continues to be the subject of ongoing policy debates, political wrangling, and legislative activity. Yet there is a simple fact that can get lost in all the numbingly large numbers and reams of policy papers. Medicine happens most immediately between just two people, a patient and their doctor. It is this relationship, which is at the center of health care, and the actions and policies of any company, organization, or government in regards to health care are ultimately judged by their impact on this relationship. To the practitioner who spends the vast majority of his/her time in these relationships, to contemplate the political, economic, and societal forces that come to bear on the exam room can seem overwhelming. The idea of trying to influence these forces can seem daunting at best and, at worst, impossible. From the position of standing next to the exam table, it is easy to feel helpless. A practitioner could use some help in the face of such titanic forces; help advocating for their patients and themselves within the larger health care system. I believe that the job of the Monterey County Medical Society is to offer such assistance, partnering with physicians as they approach the edifice of organized medicine. MCMS is well positioned being part of District VII. District VII (San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties) enjoys the largest voting block within CMA. That means our collective voice has clout and influence, both at the House of Delegates, CMA’s Board of Trustees, and at the capital. As I begin my tenure, I believe that the Medical Society must use this power to be the collective voice in advocating for the needs of our members and their patients. Since a significant portion of your dues goes to provide legislative access and influence, I would like to try and facilitate increased communication and participation to ensure your voice is heard. To that end, we will be rolling out some new ideas in the next several weeks, designed to increase accessibility and responsiveness to your views
and needs. These enhancements will come in several forms, mostly organized through our website. These ideas include improved access to your local, state, and national legislative representatives, as well as CMA representatives, polling on current/proposed health care policy, consultation to legislators, regular legislative updates, and more. I hope through these changes to increase the value of the service that you have purchased by becoming a member of the society, and I am always open to additional ideas to increase that value. Please feel free to contact me through the MCMS website at www.sccma-mcms.org. The essential role of the physician is as patient advocate, through the practice of medicine and through the maintaining of the quality of that practice. There is no reason that that advocacy needs to stay constrained to the exam room. The MCMS and I look forward to helping further your advocacy in the upcoming year.
John F. Clark, MD, is the 2012-2013 president of the Monterey County Medical Society. He is a board certified family medicine physician and is currently practicing with Salinas Valley PrimeCare Medical Group, Inc.