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Success Happens When We Unite as Physicians

Posted September 16, 2019

Have you ever been working on a project only to look at the clock and realize much more time has passed than you’d thought? Staying busy can do that. This has certainly been true for the KMA this past year. We have accomplished so much together, and it’s hard for me to believe my term as President is coming to a close.

My goal this year as your President was to unite physicians around issues of importance where we could collectively make a difference. In reflecting over our work for the last year, we have undoubtedly moved the needle in the arenas of public health, advocacy and leadership.

One of my fondest memories from my time as your President will be serving as a spokesperson for the KMA and KFMC’s incredibly successful Focus on Flu campaign. Every television station in the state covered our kickoff event in September, and I was honored to appear on several morning and midday shows to emphasize the importance of a flu vaccine and flu prevention. However, this campaign wouldn’t have been possible without the enthusiastic engagement of our physician members, who mobilized around the issue and wrote op-eds, distributed campaign materials, and appeared in videos and at events across the state. Our statewide “flu shot day” generated hundreds of mentions on social media, and we were thrilled to receive survey results in December indicating that 54% of Kentuckians reported receiving a flu shot within the last year. This number far surpasses the 43% rate of 2017-2018, which proves that our campaign had an incredible impact!

Our advocacy in public health was only matched by our advocacy in Frankfort. A large number of physicians from across the Commonwealth attended our 2019 Physicians’ Day at the Capitol, many donning their white coats to show solidarity within the House of Medicine. These efforts did not go unnoticed and helped KMA secure an extremely successful session.

Our top legislative priority, Senate Bill 54, which addressed prior authorization issues that have plagued patients and physicians for years, was passed after considerable effort by all involved and will take effect on Jan. 1.

Another top priority, House Bill 11, was successful thanks to the advocacy of countless physicians. It will enact the Commonwealth’s first statewide “tobacco-free schools” law, prohibiting the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, by students, school personnel, and visitors in schools, school vehicles, properties, and activities by the 2020-2021 school year. Just last month I was proud to join a press conference with the Foundation for Healthy Kentucky to announce KMA’s involvement in a program to provide signage for the school districts to help enact the law.

Last October our Kentucky Physicians Leadership Institute (KPLI) was awarded MediStar’s A.O. Sullivan Excellence in Education Award, presented each year to the organization that takes creative approaches to developing and implementing programs, which enhance the level of knowledge, education and career opportunity in healthcare. Further recognition came this summer when the KPLI was also awarded the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE) Leadership Award. This national award speaks volumes to the impact of the program, and more importantly, to the impact of its graduates across the state.

None of this could have been accomplished without the involvement of you, our members, and the incredible KMA staff. I want to particularly thank Emily Schott, KMA Communications Director, for her assistance over the year.

While my time as President of the KMA is ending, the work of our Association is far from finished and I know our incoming President, Brent Wright, M.D., will continue the great progress we’ve made. I’d like to encourage each of you to use your membership to further these and other issues of importance to Kentucky physicians and patients. Our profession and those we serve deserve nothing less.

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