NCMS Charged with Modernizing Policy Development and Governance

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) House of Delegates met at the society’s 160th Annual Meeting on Oct. 24-25 at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro. Perhaps the most significant resolution the body considered, and certainly the one that generated the most discussion, was proposed amendments to the NCMS Constitution and Bylaws to establish a policymaking process within the NCMS that is more accessible and efficient. One option to be considered is to develop a mechanism for NCMS members to bring issues to the Board of Directors for discussion and action on a timely basis, rather than waiting for the House of Delegates to meet annually.

“Concern has been raised about the current House of Delegates process being an optimal manner for developing NCMS policy,” said the report to the House by the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. “Although the House has served the profession well for over 150 years, for many years the majority of substantive decisions have been made by the Board of Directors. Using the Board in this manner is the model many businesses use where shareholders elect a smaller group to provide ongoing leadership, who are in turn accountable to the shareholders.”

President Dev Sangvai, MD, convened a task force on Advocacy and Governance, chaired by John Fagg, MD. The consensus of the task force was that an annual meeting for the NCMS should be preserved, but that policy decisions should be made by the Board, and the House should be dissolved.

While many doctors spoke in favor of a new structure, others cautioned that discussion and setting policy via an online forum would be a great loss to the society.

“Find a way for people to talk to each other rather than by a computer,” said Ron Levine, MD.

Many expressed their fondness for the House of Delegates and several former speakers spoke with nostalgia about their time presiding over it.

The resolution eventually passed on a voice vote and means that the Task Force and the Board will be challenged this year to come up with the details of a plan to more fully engage the membership and be more responsive to the pressing issues of the time. The changes will most likely involve amendments to the NCMS Constitution and Bylaws and would be presented at next year’s Annual Meeting, also to be held on Oct. 23-24, 2015 at the Grandover.

“It takes a lot of courage to make changes,” Robert “Charlie” Monteiro, MD, told the delegates. “This organization has a history of fantastic adaptation to change. We also take the time to get it right. We have to get it right and our history has been that we do get it right.”

Watch the NCMS website and the Bulletin for further information.




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