By Thomas H. Waid, M.D.
Past President, Lexington Medical Society
The Lexington Medical Society is the second oldest organized medical society in the country. Only the New Jersey Medical Society is older. Founded in 1799, the LMS boasts many prestigious members including Dr. Ephraim McDowell, the father of American Surgery, Dr. Daniel Drake, one of the foremost medical educators of the Nineteenth Century and more recently, Dr. Ardis Hoven and Steve Stack, immediate past President and President elect of the American Medical Association respectively, and Dr. David Bensema, President of the Kentucky Medical Association. Indeed, Central Kentucky represented by the LMS has been at center stage in American medicine for over 215 years. However, as active and successful as we have been, we as a society had questions about our relevance in the changing landscape of the 21st century medicine. For this reason the LMS initiated a strategic planning process which was our major focus in calendar year 2014. We called this plan: “Proud of our Past. . .Shaping our Future.”
Our process began by reshaping our vision and rewriting our Mission Statement and all values, which I will share with you.
Vision: The Lexington Medical Society endeavors to be the principle voice and resource for Central Kentucky physicians to improve the practice of medicine and the health of the community.
Mission: As it has since its founding in 1799 the Lexington Medical Society strives to improve the health of our community by supporting physicians and enhancing their professional lives.
Values: We value integrity, diversity, camaraderie, advocacy for the profession, education, a physician centric experience, support for young physicians and work-life balance.
Our strategic plan established seven goals as follows:
- Support young physicians,
- Reform LMS governance
- Establish programs focused in purpose and value,
- Establish the LMS as the principal voice and resource for Central Kentucky physicians
- Establish the LMS Strategic Planning System,
- Establish a new website and communication network
- Streamline business practices.
We implemented or are in the process of implementing each and every step of this plan to achieve each goal outlined above. In so doing, we have become a goal oriented organization intent on providing our members with a more physician centric experience.
A survey of our society revealed that we lacked an adequate technological infrastructure starting with our website. Our newly designed and fully operational “state of the art” website provided the society with our first “principle voice and resource” tool. It allows both members and non-members to access information about the LMS, Central Kentucky Medicine and even has a KMA legislative twitter feed. It can be easily accessed at http://www.LexingtonDoctors.org or on google by searching Lexington Medical Society. Our business practices are continually being streamlined using cloud based services including our credentialing process via Commonwealth Credentialing. This cloud-based, credentialing software will reduce the time needed to process over 1000 new or renewal applications by about 33% and will be phased in over the course of this year.
Developing Physician Leadership is an important function of our society. While streamlining the business practices of the LMS, it occurred to us that we could provide leadership to our community of physicians, members and non-members alike, by initiating “Business of Medicine” seminars. We are in the planning stage for this series but some topics that have been suggested are as follows: strategic marketing, understanding insurance: the basics, medical liability and documentation, how to prepare for your financial future, politics and medicine, and practice models. The LMS will engage experts in each area to moderate these seminars. Additionally, we are beginning a series of LMS Physician Leadership Seminars. Starting on April 18, 2015 these will be open to LMS members and their practice managers (a $300 value) but will be available to non-member physicians and their managers for a fee. The KMA has approved this activity for 6.5 category one CME credits. Finally, we are planning more LMS programming with spouses. Our first of these, “Building Strong Physician Families,” is scheduled for March 10th. We believe these are programs of purpose and value and offering them fulfills one of our goals.
Supporting young physicians is an emphasis of the LMS. Programming with spouses in attendance is but one aspect of this endeavor. The LMS has been proactive in adding medical students and residents to its committee structure and executive board. We have established a program named “Specialty Speed Dating” connecting trainees with physicians established in their practices. Also this March we will be sponsoring several students to go to Washington DC to meet with their congressmen and senators to discuss health care policy.
We are and will continue to be the principle voice for physicians in central Kentucky. The LMS works closely with the KMA’s legislative advocacy efforts thereby providing its members with a representation for their profession outside of their place of employment. One week before we send the students to Washington the LMS will send a delegation with the KMA to Capitol Hill to discuss healthcare policy such as ICD-10 implementation, repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and the changes to Affordable Care Act. Our voice continues to be heard in many forms, the most recent being our assuming editorial control of “Kentucky Doc.” We hope to expand our message to Kentucky Physicians across the Commonwealth.
You may be asking yourself what this article has to do with “the doctor” in Madison, Scott, Bourbon, Woodford, Boyle or Clark County etc. Well, nothing unless you want to be involved. The Lexington Medical Society was not founded as a county society. Its founding members had no geographic boundaries in mind when the society was chartered. We are exploring opening our services to physicians who want to become active in organized medicine and if you are interested in exploring with us you may contact Chris Hickey or Cindy Madison at lms@LexingtonDoctors.org or call 859-278-0569. The LMS is looking for a “Big Win” in 2015 and that could be your membership in our society. Organized medicine is not an anachronism. It allows us to speak with one voice to politicians and health care insurers. By doing so we can stem the tide that is eroding the fabric of our profession. The sum of us is better that the best of some of us. Consider what the LMS can do for you and what you could do for the LMS.