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Leading Through Advocacy

I mentioned in my previous President’s Message that so much of the work of a physician comes down to leadership.

Our staff members need us to be leaders in our practice. Our neighbors need us to be leaders in our community. And of course, our patients need us to be the leaders of their care team.

But many of us have struggled at times with exactly how to lead. We hear different things all the time about what makes a good leader, and it can be hard to know which direction is best to take. Medical education certainly does not foster growth in leadership, and most physicians lean their leadership skills after they are done with training.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned (and continue to work on myself) it is that a good leader is first and foremost an advocate.

Many of you know I was on our local school board for eight years, and was board chair for five. Many of you also openly questioned my sanity and have asked why I did this while running a busy practice. The answer was relatively simple – I was able to advocate for my patients effectively through that position. It started as a way to advocate for patients of mine who were falling behind in the classroom, and with time it grew into advocacy for the entire community, as a strong community has strong schools. Some of the decisions were difficult, and sometimes the opposition was fierce, but at the end of the day I tried to do what was best for our students, which in my case were also often my patients.

As physicians, we are advocates in the exam room for our patients, but the needs of those we care for extend beyond those four walls. We need to advocate where decisions are being made on their behalf.

In 2023, KMA supported and advocated for a bill that would streamline the arduous and complicated prior authorization process. Unfortunately, that bill did not pass, but it remains a top priority for the KMA in the upcoming 2024 session. Educating our lawmakers on what this process is and why it is such a burden to our practice and our patients is crucial. That’s why we are calling for members to submit stories that demonstrate the burdens, barriers, and negative effects of the prior authorization process by emailing them to KMA may use these in testimonies, handouts, and in key conversations with legislators as we work to emphasize the importance of prior authorization reform.

KMA asks that you please include your name and the city you practice in with your submission. However, we ask that you respect the privacy of your patients by not sharing any additional identifiable information in your story.

Thank you in advance for your submissions to, and thank you for being a leader in your practice, your community, and for your patients.

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