Cover: “Start your engines . . .”

Saturday, September 01, 2012 01:00 PM
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Revving up to meet new year of challenges

Jan Kief, CMS President

“Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!” We are revving up to embark upon a new year of challenges and opportunities at the Colorado Medical Society. Those traditional words and the theme of racing and acceleration have special meaning to me, as my father was a professional race driver, and they are a reminder of what we need to accomplish this year.

The racing profession has many parallels with the medical profession. The race driver trains as we did – often alone and yes, there was competition – but in the professional race venues, as in the delivery of health care, you can never do it alone. Some of the vital components are the raising of capital, to the state-of-the-art technology and equipment with which to demonstrate your professional skills, the emphasis on safety, and that professional pit crew that literally keeps you going. Our pit crew may be the professional staff at CMS, our operating room team, and our hospital and office staff. It truly takes a team effort to make it to the finish line.

My theme this year is the acronym REV: Relationships, Evolution and Voice. The word rev means to accelerate, and in this age of rapid change, that is exactly what we must do. You should always write down your goals and reflect upon them daily and I encourage you to write down REV and keep its components in mind as we forge ahead in medicine this year. I hope that REV – Relationships, Evolution and Voice – will be a personal call to action for every physician in our organization.

First REV principle
The first REV component is Relationships. Our Spring Conference 2012 focused on the importance of relationships, especially in these times. Even in our technical society, relationships are how we make progress, collaborate and achieve consensus. Last summer at the Colorado Health Foundation Symposium, we defined collaboration as “working with a group with different agendas but sharing some common principles.” This concept applies to our neighbors in insurance, hospital administration, consumers, business, allied health groups, foundations, legislators, community groups, educators and more. Without hearing the diverse opinions of affected stakeholders, we cannot understand the dynamics that our new systems will require. By knowing and educating each other about areas where we have expertise, we can innovate together to solve problems. Silos are structures that keep things separated and do not work well in health care or relationship building.

I challenge you to make a list of the following: a colleague of another specialty whom you can take to lunch; a community organization you can join or to which you can present a talk; a committee you can join at CMS; or a “breakfast club” you can form in your community with legislators or business leaders. These breakfast clubs are in the process of being formed at CMS. Call us to get your club formed!

Second REV principle
The second principle of REV is Evolution. Just as the racer always loved his first car and we loved our first office setting, we must realize that things are changing at a very rapid pace and we all must adapt and evolve. With technological information in our world doubling in a matter of months, not years, the cost of health care out of control, the population of elderly soaring, and health disparities widening, bold innovation and evolution in health and health care is an imperative. The only constant is change right now. Uncomfortable as change can be, think of how improved systems can help you personally enjoy the practice of medicine more. Past perspectives are an important part of our background knowledge, but we must KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

Our keynote speaker at the Spring Conference, Mr. Michael Weisskopf, author of “Blood Brothers” taught us to “look back, but don’t stare.” Keep moving forward. We are smart problem solvers who care about people and our profession. We are capable of being in the driver’s seat as we tackle topics such as Medicaid expansion, scope of practice, SGR, liability reform, new systems of care and payment models, coordinated care and many other challenges that will come to us this year.

It is time for pilots and innovative approaches from workflow redesign, telemedicine, systems of care, global and bundled payments, patient responsibility and wellness initiatives and much more. The CMS staff has great resources to help your practice flourish and can connect you to the pilots and projects in the state to help you get your incentives and designations, and to meet your performance measures. Colorado is ahead of the curve compared to many states, but the U.S. is behind many other countries in some areas of health care delivery. This may be the decade where we can take back the lead!

As your president, I promise to be at those tables discussing the critical changes that have to be made in prevention and health care, but I need you to communicate with me and others about what is happening in your situation and community that can impact the process. Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected sources. TEAM CMS will be there at the racetrack each week. On the circuit, you don’t win every race, but you don’t take your car and stay home; you make modifications as a team and you get back out there.

Get a colleague to join CMS; join the AMA and your specialty society and BE THERE for this important time. These organizations are vital to our evolution in medical practice.

Third REV principle
Our final REV principle is Voice. First you must find your voice. What are you passionate about? Where is your expertise? Is it safety, technology, systems, workflow redesign, prevention, population health, access to care, legislation, community empowerment, promoting health teams, mentoring students? Whatever it is, identify and make a plan to use your voice. That is challenge #3.

Our survey this year confirmed that physicians are in the top four of trusted groups of people. Others will listen to you and are open to hear your ideas. CMS is a diverse group of physicians, 7,500 voices strong. We can and must come together and harmonize and make a strong statement that will be listened to for the welfare of physicians and the patients and communities that we serve. Let us keep the CMS vision in mind.

“CMS will be the leader in making Colorado the best state in which to provide and receive the safest, highest quality and most cost effective medical care.”

I pledge my best efforts to you this year as we REV up to make this a reality.

Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Cover Story | Initiatives


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