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Message from the CMS President

Mission and Vision

AS WE continue our historical series this month, I ask you to reflect on the Chicago Medical Society’s many contributions to the practice of medicine. Most of all, our work to safeguard and advance our profession.

In reading the articles, what’s striking to me is that early physicians had the same need for unity, professional advocacy and medical education as we do today. Answering those needs became the rock-solid foundation upon which CMS was established in 1850, and then grew and thrived.

These foundational pillars are reflected in our mission statement. And while its sets forth broad goals, that mission statement is living in the sense it allows us flexibility in how we interpret and pursue our goals in a changing world.

For recent examples of how they guide us in the present, look to our public health advocacy. CMS plays a major role in selecting the leadership of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board. The Medical Society participates on a nominating committee that recommends candidates to Board President Toni Preckwinkle. This year, three of the 10 candidates elected by the committee were made by CMS. They are: Tariq Butt, MD; Peter Orris, MD, MPH; and Heather Prendergast, MD, MS, MPH.

Our physician advocacy evolves to represent employed physicians. The Chicago Medical Society promoted a “Physician Bill of Rights” measure that was subsequently introduced as legislation in Springfield. HB 5238 includes the right to compensation for all activities on behalf of the hospital or affiliate; the right to academic freedom, the right to be judged by peer clinicians; the right to perform activities outside of defined employed time boundaries solely at one’s prerogative; the right to autonomy in the treatment of patients, and other provisions.

On the legal and regulatory side, CMS was also the impetus for legislation (SB 3184) to amend the Illinois Controlled Substances Act so that a prescriber’s DEA number remains safe. We want to prohibit unauthorized requests for or possession of physicians’ DEA numbers. CMS first raised the problem of DEA numbers being used beyond their intended purpose. Meanwhile, we help members combat the opioid crisis through education and legislative partnerships.

On reimbursement, the Medical Society ignited a groundswell movement in 20162017 against narrowing health plan networks. CMS was the launch pad for Illinois’ Network Adequacy and Transparency Act. We did this by studying the problem and laying out legislative provisions. Today, the law protects both physicians and patients.

Clearly, the Chicago Medical Society has shown its durability and power to renew. When these historical articles first ran in the magazine, it was during our 2000 sesquicentennial. Will CMS reach a bicentennial? With your support, we can look forward to a vibrant future!

Vemuri S. Murthy, MD
President, Chicago Medical Society

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