Jan Kief, President
Colorado Medical Society

We’re in the midst of that wonderful time of year when we begin to see the signs of spring. We hear birds singing, see blooms starting to appear on the trees and, between the few remaining bouts of snow, get outside for a jog or a bike ride in the fresh, crisp air.

In March, your CMS board of directors met to continue discussion on several key issues from the January meeting and raise others for consideration by the group.

If you’ve been paying attention to the headlines, you know that the Colorado legislature recently debated and passed several bills relating to firearm safety. During our last board meeting, we approved a policy that CMS will support the enactment of “reasonable laws” that seek to regulate the sale and distribution of firearms to protect public health and safety.

The board asked the Council on Legislation to study these bills in the context of a recent all-member survey and the COL recommended supporting measures to reinstitute universal background checks for firearm buyers and to strengthen mental health checks at the time of purchase. The board agreed and passed the recommendations.

Prescription drug abuse
We’ve also been working with the governor’s office and other state agencies, nonprofits and patient advocacy groups to address the growing issue of prescription drug abuse. Our top concern is to ensure that our patients who need these prescription pain medications have access to them while also ensuring they use them properly and prevent them from being diverted. The Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Committee has spearheaded our work and the board approved its report, which sets the following long-term goal. “CMS will work to assure access to compassionate, evidence-based care for patients who suffer from acute and chronic pain, while significantly reducing the potential for medically inappropriate use or diversion and the resulting range of medical, psychological and social consequences, including addiction, overdose and death.”

WCPIC advises CMS to review current evidence about the misuse of opioids and develop strategies to address it, develop and promote new tools and educational materials, develop a public outreach campaign, partner with other stakeholders, and establish monitoring and tracking systems to allow for future evaluation.

Several CMS members attended roundtable meetings in early March hosted by the governor’s office and several state agencies, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment and the Department of Regulatory Agencies, to shape the full state plan on prescription drug abuse. You can read more about the meeting in a feature in this issue.

Anticompetitive conduct
The board moved forward on the topic of anticompetitive conduct, approving recommendations by a joint CMS-CHA work group that states that when a physician believes a final action taken by the hospital governing board against the physician is a result of anticompetitive conduct, the physician may request mediation or non-binding arbitration to resolve concerns.

CMS and CHA will work together to determine what may constitute anticompetitive conduct and what the dispute resolution processes may involve, as well as develop best practices and conduct follow-up surveys to measure the impact of these recommendations.

Retooling annual meeting
Though we’re gearing up for Spring Conference, the board approved a format change to the Annual Meeting starting this September. As recommended by the CMS Executive Committee, the board agreed that we should change the consent calendar process to allow more time for deliberation on strategic issues.

The CMS Reference Committee will convene before the Annual Meeting to produce a report that will serve as the consent calendar, and make the final report immediately available to component societies and widely available at Friday registration for discussion and action on Saturday morning. With this change, CMS will be able to use the remainder of the Annual Meeting for strategic, interactive programming.

Medical society merger
For our colleagues in northern Colorado, the board approved a request from the Weld and Larimer county medical societies to merge the two components into a new entity called the Northern Colorado Medical Society. The CMS Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs has met to prepare a formal recommendation for the board that we’ll consider at our May 3 board meeting.

I hope you’re planning to join us for our Spring Conference May 3-5 in Vail to connect with colleagues from around the state, learn the steps practice transformation experts are taking to keep their practices at the forefront, and enjoy the beautiful scenery in one of the gems of the Rocky Mountains. Spring is a wonderful time to get out and about. We’ll see you there!

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, President's Letter, Initiatives, Advocacy, Patient Safety and Professional Accountability