El Paso County Medical Society
History tells us that the El Paso County Medical Society (EPCMS) was established at a meeting of local physicians on Jan. 4, 1879, with 10 members in order for physicians to get together to go over papers and cases. Dr. William Strickler was the President. In 1901, Dr. Samuel Solly stated that out of a community of 25,000, there were only 100-200 physicians and, according to him, 45 of the best belonged to the medical society.
The society’s founding fathers were off to a good start, and since then the society has evolved from its unique beginnings. The grassroots efforts of its peers, the power of more than 1,000 members, and a passion for the patients of El Paso and Teller Counties have been the cornerstones of its success.
The society’s mission is “to be an advocate for physicians, promoting and developing the science and art of medicine, improving the community health and creating a liaison among physicians and between physicians and their patients; and to assist physicians in the ethical practice of quality medical care to more effectively fulfill the personal, patient, family, and societal responsibilities of their profession.”
EPCMS has four major goals: advocacy; communication; political action; and promotion of the highest standards of ethical medical practice. To meet these goals, the society works through partnerships, alliances and collaborative committees to engage in a high level of community participation and involvement on the local level, and also provides a venue for physicians to influence state and national policy making.
EPCMS is recognized as one of the most active and influential county medical societies in the country. Action in the legislative arena is one of the most important challenges EPCMS seeks to address. Since the society represents a majority of the county’s physicians, it speaks with a collective power greater than that of individuals.
EPCMS leaders and members believe it is important for their voices to be heard as efforts are made to heal the nation’s health care system. But they are not waiting for politicians to sort it all out. EPCMS members are embarking on a robust campaign to let our community know that they believe in community, professional, and personal good health. While the pro and con rhetoric around health care reform rages on, physicians in El Paso and Teller counties declare that “I Am Good Health” and continue to deliver personal, quality health care one patient at a time.
Their efforts within the community include communicating with military leaders regarding the impact of increased troops and dependents on access to care and identifying ways to work together to meet their health care needs; working with the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment to educate physicians so they can in turn educate their patients about the value of the health department; and disaster preparedness projects including coordination of local and state efforts to organize physicians effectively in advance of a major event.
EPCMS serves the medically indigent and uninsured with programs such as PracticeNet Solutions (PNS), a business approach to expand health care access and improve health outcomes for citizens of El Paso and Teller counties that utilizes a network of volunteer providers, and Prescription Assistance Solution Service, which assists physician offices and community clinics in helping qualified low-income patients gain access to manufacturer patient assistance programs. As of Feb. 28, 2010, the service had dispensed $8,571,550.10 of non-narcotic prescriptions to 1,225 individuals.
EPCMS members in 1991 formed the El Paso County Physicians Foundation, which provides grants to local 501(c)(3) organizations, in order to improve the quality of life within the community. Funds for the foundation come from physicians, families, and friends throughout El Paso and Teller counties who want to make an impact on the health of the community by supporting organizations that offer important human services to many families. The foundation has awarded more than $250,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations and has reached more than 100,000 local citizens through its support.