Richard Budensiek MD - Greeley
Change is hard. I’ve been practicing medicine for 30 years. I’ve seen many different changes in medicine, especially in the way physicians are reimbursed. These changes have greatly affected the way we practice and how our patients view us as a profession. I began my career with fee for service, then went to a discounted fee for service, followed by managed care with HMO’s, and back to a fee for service based on RBRVS, a relative value scale which pits doctor against doctor to split the shrinking health care dollar. Although I can long for the day when our contract was with our patients, and not with huge third party payors, we can’t force that toothpaste back into the tube.
Now we are changing again. The health care bill has forced much of the change. In addition, reimbursement is again changing toward quality based incentives for payment. Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), Accountable Care Communities (ACC), have the potential to improve the care we offer our patients. We could view these changes as “second verse, same as the first”, or we could see the changes as an opportunity to rediscover the inspirations and passions that initially led us to pursue medicine. Without sounding like a Polyanna, these models give medicine the opportunity to re-contract with our patients and gain back their confidence in us as a caring group of competent professionals working together to improve the health of our patients. We have the opportunity to better manage our patient’s health, especially in dealing with chronic disease states.
If you have followed the work of the Colorado Medical Society in the past few years, you would see that organized medicine is changing its approach. We have successfully defended Colorado’s laws on malpractice reward limits to keep our malpractice premiums low. A new theme in the upcoming CMS spring meeting is Physcian Wellness. In addition, new priorities have included emphasis on patient safety, health care reform, improving health care access and putting the patient first. The professional societies of primary care groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physician have advocated for Patient Centered Medical Homes where doctors work to reorganize their practices to put the patients back in the center of what we do.
I understand the cynicism of doctors who view organized medicine with suspicion. I have witnessed, however, the dedication of doctors who spend hours trying to improve systems and advocate for our profession and our patients. Dr.Randy Marsh and Dr. Mark Wallace are dedicated individuals from our society who exemplify professional dedication to improving health care in our county, state and nation. I encourage all of my collegues to participate in this process as well. If participation is not on your to-do list, at least become a member or maintain your membership in your professional societies, including the Weld County Medical Society and the Colorado Medical Society
The Weld County Medical Society is trying to improve its service to its members. While semiannual meetings still have a purpose, we recognize that our younger collegues and more “techie” members are more receptive to “real time” online communications. In that vein, your society has joined in partnership with Medvoyce to provide a website to improve communication with our patients and collegues. We are unashamedly soliciting your participation and membership as we believe your practices and lives will be better as a result. At the end of the day, we want our work and our lives to make a difference. As a medical society, we want to help you get there.
Richard Budensiek, D.O. FAAFP
President of the Weld County Medical Society