Featured in the September/October 2018 Colorado Medicine.
As my term of president of the Colorado Medical Society comes to an end, I wish to express my gratitude to all the members of the society for allowing me to serve this organization. As you all know from your own experiences in life, when you give your time, your talent and your courage to solve problems in the service of others, you gain more than you ever give. I have always been a person who loves to learn new things. That is part of the reason I enjoyed the practice of urology. There were very few things I was doing in the operating room at the end of my career that I was taught to do during my residency. Isn’t that an amazing tribute to the scientific discoveries that have been made during my 50 years in practice?
This position has allowed me to learn a great deal about the challenges our profession faces that I knew little about. The first and most heartbreaking problem was understanding the complexities of the opioid crisis. Working with our staff and leaders in this field, including a committed group of legislators and elected officials, we will bring change to help save lives and restore dignity to many broken individuals. A great deal of work remains to be done, so please take the time to learn what each one of us can do.
The second, and perhaps an even more complex problem, is looking at how to reduce to cost of U.S. health care without sacrificing quality. Working with the CMS Cost Containment Committee and working with the committee on cost containment that the Denver Chamber of Commerce brought together has been enlightening. We all want to have the ability to care for our patients with the highest quality care at the lowest cost, but often we have no idea what or where the lowest cost is for our patients. Identical services or pharmaceutical costs can vary widely in the marketplace. If we were able to obtain this information and make it available to our patients, we could help bend the cost curve. This is but one of the many facets of the cost problem we will continue to work to solve for the benefit of our patients.
The last thing I will share with you is that I have learned how important our organization is to preserve the financial viability of our practices regardless of whether you are self-employed or employed by an organization. This organization’s advocacy efforts benefit all of Colorado’s physicians. Many physicians who are not members of our society do not know that they directly benefit from the work of our talented staff. We recently hired a new staff member who will be taking the evidence of our achievements to non-members to help them understand why we need their dues dollars to maintain the long string of successes that we have achieved. We have a dedicated and talented staff that shoulders the majority of the burden of getting the work done from which we all benefit. Without the dues required to pay these salaries, we would be unable to achieve the successful representation from which we all benefit.
Your next president, Deb Parsons, MD, is a talented and hard-working physician who has achieved much in her year as president-elect. I can confidently assure you that you will be well represented as I slip into obscurity. Goodbye and thank you.