House of Delegates votes overwhelmingly to re-engineer CMS governance

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 03:53 PM
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This past weekend at our 145th Annual Meeting, the House of Delegates, in response to a comprehensive set of governance retooling proposals developed over the past year by a special CMS task force, voted overwhelmingly to dissolve themselves into a realigned model that connects a streamlined board to the widest possible spectrum of its physician constituencies. 

“The reforms adopted over the weekend were about member voice and empowerment and the ability of CMS to recruit and harness the intellectual and political muscle of physicians,” said CMS President Michael Volz, MD. “We will then infuse that expertise into the boardrooms and halls of the legislature and Congress.”

The revisions adopted Sunday contemplate extensive interactions between board members and the array of medical communities on policy direction and deployment, as well the thoughtful recruitment and involvement of emergent leadership drawn from a methodical process of issue-centric policy development.

“We will be building a farm system of our best and brightest and engage them where their ideas and insights will have real-world consequences,” he said.

Here are a few highlights of the new governance structure:

  • Throughout the year physicians can participate with CMS through a “virtual grassroots policy forum” that will:
    • Empower any member, component society, group of physicians or specialty society to submit resolutions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Provide the flexibility for physicians to identify and engage on policy issues immediately relevant to them.
    • Weigh in on policy issues directly with the board of directors before and after they vote.
    • Require the board to use an automatic reconsideration rule if members are not strongly aligned with their decisions on policy.
  • All members will vote to elect the CMS president and delegates and alternate delegates to the American Medical Association.
  • The size of the board of directors will be reduced from 36 to 15 plus section representatives to achieve the evidence-based benefits of a smaller board. We will continue the tradition of meetings being open to all CMS members.
  • The Annual Meeting will be re-engineered and more relevant to a broader demographic of CMS members.
  • The board of directors will routinely offer and be available for “listening sessions” to component societies and other physician organizations or groups.

All of the recommendations intend to reengineer CMS into a grassroots-centered governance model by flattening an increasingly outdated policy and governance process that was failing in its ability to draw broader, more demographically diverse physician engagement and member satisfaction.

The full recommendations and an online webinar discussion the governance changes can be found at (log-in required).

Additional highlights from the meeting include the following:

  • The Board of Directors and the House of Delegates voted to highly prioritize network adequacy and access for the rest of the decade based on the results of an all-member survey on managed care pain points.
  • Additional priorities will be maintaining the Medicaid primary code parity with Medicare and the impact of impending insurance industry mergers on physicians and patients.
  • Michael Volz, MD, was installed as CMS president. In his inauguration speech he predicted that public policy would be one topic to dominate his year but he remains hopeful for positive outcomes because of Colorado’s health policy and business leaders who have a long history of commitment to fixing problems rather than assigning blame. “We have policy advancements in system delivery that are to this day still unapproachable and not possible in many states, and we are fully engaged even now on multiple fronts. These accomplishments are turtles on fence posts – they didn’t get there by themselves. They came from our homegrown leaders and their constituencies and their hard work.”
  • Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, MD, completed his year as president and Katie Lozano, MD, was elected CMS president-elect.

Thank you to all physicians and guests who participated in the 145th Annual Meeting. Save the date for next year’s event, Sept. 16-18, 2016, at the Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colo.



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