FSP attends FMA Annual Meeting and House of Delegates Meeting in Orlando, Florida

FMA Report: Finding Common Ground with our Fellow Physicians in Orlando 

What an honor to witness the installation of our colleague, fellow pathologist and FSP member Ronald Giffler MD, JD, MBA as the 143rd President of the Florida Medical Association this past weekend in Orlando! He delivered an excellent speech summarizing the current state of medicine and his vision for his presidency. We are fortunate to have him representing all physicians.

The FMA is a big community and we pathologists represent the smallest group of physicians in our great state of Florida and in the house of medicine as a whole. And as different as our specialty is when compared to our colleagues, we have much in common. We take care of patients in the best way we can, we work within a changing health care system which includes dramatic advances in technology, insurance and regulatory challenges, and public debate for cost containment- under a rock one would have to live to be unaware of recent headlines regarding “surprise bills” and pharmaceutical costs. We face environmental concerns, domestic terrorism, and are members of our local communities and part of a smaller circle of family and loved ones.

In Orlando for the 2019 Annual Meeting of the FMA I noted a few specific areas where we can find common ground with our physician colleagues:

  1. Surprise bills or balance billing- an issue we have dealt with in Florida since 2016. In fact, the FSP and FMA were closely involved with crafting the language of the actual statute (HB 221) with our counsel and lobbyist Amy Young. Since being enacted in Florida and other states, it has recently become an issue reaching national prominence. The FMA and AMA are highly engaged with this issue to protect patients from such bills and ensure that we have a voice. Specifically, that physicians be treated fairly regarding payment for services and requiring adequate network coverage by insurance companies.
  2. Scope of practice is a significant issue for our colleagues with dramatic changes in how health care is delivered. While it has increased access to care, it is not without challenges. Pathologists should be mindful of this issue as well. Take for example gross pathology, which is a vital skill being performed by pathology assistants with more frequency. With advancing technology, such as digital microscopy, will such mid-level providers be diagnosing simple specimens, such as colon polyps, in the future and what impact might this have on our field?
  3. Maintenance of Certification- our esteemed colleague and CEO of the American Board of Pathology, Rebecca Johnson MD, gave supporting arguments in favor of an FMA resolution on the ABMS’s “Vision for the Future Commission Final Report”. While this is a controversial issue in the house of medicine, it is one that is easy to support conceptually in that all physicians need maintenance of their knowledge base and skills to practice medicine effectively over the course of their careers.

These are just a few salient examples, but many others surfaced which are quite relevant to pathologists and all physicians, including adequate access to screening colonoscopy, medical marijuana, stem cell technology, gun control, climate change impacts on the healthcare landscape, and many more.

Finally, there is the issue of ADVOCACY. I capitalized because this is THE most important issue and a place where ALL physicians need to come together with one voice to counter the strong forces in our path. The FMA does an excellent job preparing young physicians to advocate for our profession and has a talented group of professionals, including lawyers and lobbyists, working diligently on behalf of patients and physicians. Our work as a team with state and national societies and the access this can provide to legislators at the state and national level is what will have the most significant impact on our profession over the long haul. Whether one is directly involved, engaging with our colleagues in organized medicine and with politicians directly or simply paying dues and contributing the various Political Action Committees, it is imperative that we do not fail in this capacity and that we engrave this into the minds of future physicians for the sake of patients and our great profession.

It was a great pleasure and an honor to serve the membership of the Florida Society of Pathologists and the physicians of Florida at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Florida Medical Association. Our presence was supported by our exceptional team at Compass Management, including Brian Hart who joined us, and my colleagues, co-delegates and FSP board members, Patricia Moody MD and Harvey Feld MD. I would also like thank past President of the FSP, board member, colleague and friend, Stephen Vernon MD for his work with FMA Poster Competition and his work with FMA and FSP education.

Antonio E Martinez, MD
Immediate Past President Florida Society of Pathologists

 

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 4:15pm