The Changing Landscape of Medical Associations
Nonprofit medical organizations are currently facing new challenges resulting from the implementation of policies that control reimbursement, technology, quality improvement and medical procedures. Dr. Olson Huff, PMA’s Senior Consultant, Health Affairs & Government Relations, tackles the practice of medicine in the midst of an evolving economy and policies.
The practice of medicine has always been about treating illness, relieving pain and, whenever possible, preventing ill health from occurring in the first place. That tradition still holds and is the centerpiece of both medical education and the delivery of health care to everyone.
However, the environment in which medicine is practiced is changing. Someone once said, “It is the changes we do not want that changes everything.”
Whether that statement is true or not, it strikes at the heart of the traditional approach to patient care and challenges all health care providers to adjust to new days and new ways of medical practice. The core issues of access to health care, quality of care and reimbursement for care are forces shaping the dynamics of medicine today that, for patients and their physicians, cannot be ignored.
But change need not be stressful or unwanted. By paying close attention to the shifts in social norms, political agendas and technical and scientific advances, physicians can maintain a sense of balance in their desire to be healers and thus be the leaders of change, not victims of it.
To do so requires the realization that providing good medical care, whatever the setting, demands the knowledge and understanding of the many forces that are constantly shaping health care today. By so doing, unwanted change becomes the tool for creating new and exciting ways to honor the traditions that assure better health for all.