by Michael Volz, MD, President, Colorado Medical Society
Featured in the January/February 2016 Colorado Medicine.
With your input and support, CMS has started the New Year with a groundbreaking – and very busy – start. The New CMS as envisioned after two years of careful study, surveying and planning is coming into focus and I am continually energized by the dedication of the many physician volunteers – including many who are volunteering for the first time – who give their time to ensure The New CMS delivers on its promise to keep Colorado physicians more engaged, informed and empowered than ever before.
As you’ll read in this issue’s cover story, the week after the CMS House of Delegates voted in the most substantial changes to the organization in its history, CMS leadership and staff immediately mapped out an 18-month work plan to implement those changes. We got to work setting up short-term working groups of physician volunteers to inform the development of several aspects of The New CMS, including the virtual grassroots policy forum – a key element for physician engagement and policy development.
Also in this issue, you’ll read about our 2016 policy priorities; how CMS is identifying and addressing emergent member concerns like network adequacy, insurance industry mergers and preserving the state’s investment in primary care; and – most important – why each issue matters to you.
A related article about the insurance-industry-proposed mergers demonstrates how CMS is watching out for you and your patients. Four of the five largest commercial insurance companies in America are proposing mergers and an American Medical Association study indicated particularly harmful effects for physicians and patients in several states, including Colorado. Looking more closely at the Aetna-Humana merger showed its likelihood to enhance market power in certain Colorado metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Greeley, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Fort Collins-Loveland.
Even through a busy holiday season, CMS met with leaders of the Colorado Division of Insurance to urge them to carefully investigate the impact of the mergers and to be accountable in their deliberations to the public and health care providers who care for Coloradans. As the article explains, we have and will continue aggressive advocacy in this area to ensure a transparent and participatory review process can be conducted. We currently have a critical survey in the field on these mergers specifically designed to inform state and federal decision-makers. I urge you to take the time to complete this survey if you haven’t already.
The Colorado Medical Society has always been an advocacy organization that stands up for doctors. The New CMS gives us the tools we need to better engage all Colorado physicians and get direction from the grassroots, the boots-on-the-ground physicians caring for patients.
I have already heard personally from many members across the state, demonstrating the great range of concerns, passions and ideas of my colleagues. This is what we are harnessing with The New CMS, and coming together as a united physician voice will allow us to make great strides in Colorado health care.
Each member serves an important role in CMS, and all organizations benefit from renewal and an infusion of new ideas and people. We realize that not everyone can or wants to be involved at all times as we travel through cycles in our professional and personal lives and deal with increased workload. But whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, I hope you will consider engaging with The New CMS in some way. This issue of Colorado Medicine is filled with volunteer opportunities. We encourage you to explore the options here and on our website at www.cms.org/the-new-cms.
I look forward to the challenge and privilege of leading this organization as we get further into The New CMS plan. We need your help to build The New CMS. Contact me anytime by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.