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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

What Do Doctors Think?

LAST MONTH’S column touched on the Chicago Medical Society’s physician-facing advocacy. While our efforts may not create splashy headlines, we labor behind the scenes, quietly working to reform the physician practice environment.

Continuing on that theme, I wanted to update you on a Chicago Medical Society physician survey that allows us to add our voices to the historic healthcare reform debates. As you know, the harshly criticized Affordable Care Act may be repealed and replaced or simply repealed without replacement. Or left in place but with improvement attempts. There’s much uncertainty—about the future of our delivery system, and the Affordable Care Act, in particular.

An all-important question to ask is this: what do doctors think of the different payment models? Our insight, based on direct experience in both policy and patient care should count in these debates. Yet there have been no large-scale physician surveys on this topic since 2014, and certainly not in the local area. That’s why the Chicago Medical Society is asking you to participate in a questionnaire we sent you recently. Please take the time to respond. Our survey is being circulated among all physicians and trainees in Cook County to better understand where our members and non-members stand when it comes to existing and alternative payment models.

Your feedback will enable us to better represent your interests and reshape our policies and priorities on your behalf. We have a taskforce actively studying the challenges and changes in healthcare delivery. And the survey grew out of this taskforce I appointed and charged with reviewing not only ACA repeal and replacement but any and all conceivable payment models.

MACRA, which finally put an end to years of payment cut threats to physicians, is supposed to be a game-changer for the delivery and payment of healthcare services. Yet much work remains. Real reform means fewer mandates, administrative tasks, and less burnout and apathy. All of us want to spend more time with patients, not with desktop medicine.

Locally and nationally, we must be there when decisions impacting our profession are made no matter which party is in control.

Your Chicago Medical Society is working continuously to advocate and advise our elected leaders so they understand the impact of legislation on our physician members. Again, you won’t hear about our physician-facing advocacy in the media, but such work is at the core of what the Chicago Medical Society does.

Clarence W. Brown, Jr., MD
President, Chicago Medical Society

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