Let Your Voice Be Heard EDwiN N. BOgONkO, M.D.
SPRING OF 2013 IS UPON US and it is hard not to think of all that lies ahead. A health care
landscape that is changing and likely to present us with new beginnings including a health insurance exchange and migration to various total cost of care models. As a profession, we face an ever-dwindling number of independent physicians who have been the pillar of our society’s membership. In this issue, we invite you to participate in the discourse surrounding proposed changes to the MMA governing structure. For many, it is unclear what those changes mean yet, for some, change is inevitable and indeed welcome. As these discussions move forward, it is important to take a look back to understand our history and the legacy our forefathers handed down. In reviewing TCMS history, I noted that our precursor — the St. Anthony and Minneapolis Union Medical Society was formed on June 20, 1855 marking the beginning of the oldest medical organization in continuous existence in the state of Minnesota — one year older than the MMA. The purpose of our creation was to cultivate the science and art of medicine, promote the interchange of professional experience, encouragement of professional zeal and the promotion of a friendly feeling among its members. One remarkable St. Paul leader was Eduard Boeckmann, M.D. He is best remembered for his undying devotion to his profession and the Society. He developed catgut absorbable suture technology and was to later endow proceeds to the library of RCMS to the latter’s unquestionable prosperity. He died in 1926 at the age of 79. His determination to ensure a library for the RCMS members was a testament to the unrelenting principle of physician leaders of their time — that the elements that underlie the best medical care then (and now) were “education, practice qualification, a library to share gathered knowledge and a membership organization to hold all things together.” In an op-ed written in 1995, John Coleman M.D. opined that “the leaders gone before us left behind legacies that we thoughtlessly leave to a few officers to preserve for us rather than taking up the privilege of offering our own ideas and labors. We have an obligation to do better, to help regulate ourselves, support care delivery systems designed to better the care our patients get as well as continue to retain a position of honor and esteem in our communities.” In these changing times, it has become even more imperative that we, in organized medicine, take responsibility to see that we adapt to a changing social structure in such a way that we preserve the best of our practice to the benefit of our patients … to honor those before us who contributed valuable time and material resources to ensure our profession thrives. The changes being proposed by the MMA are as profound as they are groundbreaking — challenging history with a hopeful but unproven redial to a new paradigm of organized medicine, with little time for reflection. Many of you have raised valid questions. For example, as proposed, the House of Delegates ceases to be the policy making arm of the MMA with its obituary carefully written; the MMA board will shrink to more than half its current size and its composition a hoped for balance between representation and competency; MMA officers will craft policy more and more and it is unclear what oversight the membership will be entitled to of both the board and of employed staff of the association. What there may be no debate about is the introduction of listening sessions and policy forums to engage members in matters of importance to our profession. The question, however, may well be why haven’t we had these avenues available to the members in the first place. Nevertheless, should the House of Delegates be abolished or phased out over time until the suggested mechanisms have been validated? I am very well aware that the proposed changes are a result of ongoing apathy among physicians toward organized medicine, dwindling membership and poor attendance at the House of Delegates (HOD) — the (Continued on page 10)
The Journal of the Twin Cities Medical Society
Published on Apr 23, 2013
In this issue: Perspectives on MMA Proposed Governance Changes, Health Eating Active Living Resolution Success, Updates from the East & West...