Physicians and politics

The NCMS needs to endorse and actively create a grass roots effort to get physicians to meet and form relationships with their legislators more than just calling them when they want a bill passed.  Just having lobbyists in the House and Senate doesn’t work.  There must be a groundswell of grassroots effort to get things done.  We need to make sure the Board is directed by the membership and the House of Delegates rather than the other way around.  When was the last time the NCMS sent out a comprehensive study or embarked on a comprhensive study of the needs of MDs or do they just know.  We are in a rapidly changing environment and yet we operate our organizations like the old unions did with the leadership guiding the masses.  As we have seen over the last 30 years, unions have been diminished significantly in terms of their power and organized medicine is going the same way unless we change to meet the new needs of our time. 


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  • G. Hadley Callaway, MD

    That is a great idea. I’m on the NCMS board. I know they have been trying to improve the MD-legislator lines of communication. NCMS has helped a number of private practice groups to form their own PACs, which helps build relationships to the legislators. Also, they have been learning the e-advocacy tools so we can more easily identify and communicate with our legislators.

    With respect to the grass roots information gathering, there was just a large Town Hall meeting effort this spring. The NCMS staff and board members went to about ten towns across the state to find out what members wanted. Mainly it was a gripe session. But I can guarantee every gripe was taken very seriously and things were changed accordingly.

    We have also tried surveys without much success. We are doing a lot more electronic communication (like this bulletin board) which probably will help.

    The House of Delegates remains the main way to influence what the NCMS will do. Just submitting a resolution triggers a lot of activity in the NCMS. The discussion at the Reference Committees helps staff understand physicians’ concerns. The finally adopted resolutions become the blueprint for NCMS activity.

    The adopted resolutions are generally divided into policy and action items. Policy items become the positions of the NCMS when lobbying the legislature, responding to the press, etc. Action items are ranked by the board and we start working to complete as many as possible by the end of the year. The board reports back to the House of Delegates about the fate of each action item at the next year’s meeting.

    We are working to make the House of Delegates meeting as interesting and compact as possible so more physicians can attend. Please make sure you come; it will be here soon.

    Also feel free to call the NCMS and tell someone what you feel. Call me at my office (Raleigh Orthopaedics) at 919-781-5600 (hit ext 0, tell the operator you are a doctor, and ask for me.

    Hadley Callaway, MD