As we move into December, I am reflecting how much has changed for me since I started here three years ago. At a board retreat in March 2015, ACMS picked up the banner of "Physician Vitality" and began to make a charge on the enemy (i.e. burnout) that has resulted from the burden of EHRs, pre-authorization, meaningful-use, MACRA, hospital employment, independent practice and numerous other pressures on physicians that have bled their joy away. When I started, promoting physician wellness wasn't even part of the conversation; now I spend between 30-40% of my time on it.
For years, efforts at developing physician wellness may have felt like getting stuck on a sandy beach in your front wheel drive mini-van. (I learned a thing or two about that this summer!) But numerous physicians have told they have hope things are starting to change. "I've been working on this for five or six years and I feel like we're finally gaining some traction," says one former chief-of-staff who is active on these issues. Much of this work goes on behind the scenes in wellness committee meetings, one-on-ones, pushing books into the hands of administrators, and even now beginning to lobby the Board of Medicine and health systems.
I wanted to pull the curtain back for you and let you know what all has been happening this year.
Physician Vitality Program
Although ACMS has historically left advocacy up to the Idaho Medical Association, typically because it was a regulatory issue, we now have entered the arena to address the current angst of physicians at local and state levels.
It has been a bellwether year for physician vitality in our Valley with these and other gains. Sadly, we have also endured the loss of doctors who have chosen to leave medicine early or life altogether because of their occupational distress.
Is the membership of Ada County Medical Society resilient enough to continue weathering the changes in the medical industry? I believe so and that the foundation of it is based on our inordinate degree of collegiality and relationships across specialties, employment statuses, and hospital affiliations. Your involvement and voice matters and there are multiple ways of becoming more engaged in this and other topics.
Take a look on-line for committees and work groups you can get involved in or use our physician angst form to help us understand ways we can help pull you out of the quicksand you may have found yourself stuck in.