by Bryan Campbell, CMS Chief Executive Officer
Featured in the November-December 2020 Colorado Medicine Colorado Medicine.
Wow. I tried to come up with a pithy comment that would summarize my experience in my first year serving as your CEO for the Colorado Medical Society. “Wow” is the best I could come up with.
When I started in January 2020, who would have predicted the deluge of dramatic worldwide changes that would affect how you practice medicine every day? Now, after spending nearly an entire year working from home, trying to help the physicians of Colorado navigate this deadly pandemic, I have some thoughts on 2020, and how it will propel CMS and its members to new heights in the coming years.
Start with why
Back in February, the CMS staff participated in a retreat focused on making sure that we are providing the best service to our members. We focused our analysis on the concept of “start with why.” This principle was introduced by the author Simon Sinek in his book, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.” The concept is that most organizations focus on the thing that they do well and promote that thing. More successful organizations start with understanding what motivates people to buy something or join a specific organization.
This insight was critical just weeks later as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered offices, stopped elective procedures, and put the lives and livelihood of you and your families at risk. Your physician leadership and CMS staff immediately began working to tackle the issues that were important for you. From weekly Town Halls to up-to-the-minute Virtual Grand Rounds, we worked to ensure that you had the information and resources needed to continue to practice medicine.
Speaking of resources, we heard your call for better access to PPE, so we worked with vendors across the globe to provide access to PPE for practices around the state, and have entered into a partnership with ActionPPE that provides on-demand PPE for your practice every day.
When you told us that maintaining access to telehealth services and appropriate reimbursement was a priority, we worked to get that bill passed in the Colorado General Assembly. Additionally, we worked to ensure that in the difficult pandemic budget, a plan was in place to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of Coloradans left without health insurance due to the pandemic would have access to coverage.
While we were all adapting to the new normal, the world was devastated by the death of George Floyd. CMS was quick to condemn systemic racism, especially its impacts on health equity. Thanks to the voices of many of you who have called for CMS to take a more impactful role of leadership in this area, CMS will be embarking on the creation of a diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan. This effort will help CMS be a model society where all members feel welcome and included, regardless of background. As a result, we will be in a position to have real impact on how these iniquities affect health care outcomes.
Like many of you, I was stunned that now, in the middle of a pandemic, the state would make a dramatic change in the very successful Colorado Physician Health Program. This program has been providing physicians access to confidential counseling for more than 30 years, but a stunning revelation this summer informed all of us that this protection would be going away when the state awards the contract to a new provider in early 2021.
CMS has rallied together the entire House of Medicine to fight this short-sighted decision. While the issue plays out today in the court system, we are prepared to take the issue to the legislature to ensure that you do not lose this critical resource.
As we continue to inch back toward life as we once knew it, the realities of your profession remain unchanged. The demand for your services will not change, even if the settings, reimbursement models, and regulations continue to shift. The more we adapt to the “new normal,” the more we will be able to focus on those things that matter to you. Your why.
In 2021, I look forward to engaging with even more of you. I want to know more about what drives you and how CMS can help to fulfill your needs. I am excited by the energy of new CMS President Sami Diab, MD. He and I are planning to visit communities across the state just to hear from you. And with your selection of Mark Johnson, MD, MPH, as your president-elect, I know that the string of great CMS leaders is preserved.
Thank you for your dedication to the art and science of medicine, for taking care of your patients in the most turbulent moment of our lifetimes, and for belonging to the greatest membership organization in Colorado, the Colorado Medical Society.