Presidents Welcome Message
As I look forward to beginning my tenure as President of the Illinois Society of Anesthesiologists, I have taken some time to reflect back on what have been our major agenda items and where we need to go in the future for the society to flourish and develop. Our first priority is to establish the value of membership in our society and show its worth to our constituents. This has been an ongoing redevelopment of what the society represents and what the value added principles are that our membership perceives as worthwhile and important. We have transitioned from an educational CME organization to one which helps provide information in practice management and advocacy for our members. The worth of a society is to be invaluable for its members and help them succeed in their practice, providing information on the changing environment that affects their abilities to be practitioners. This transitioning of the society will continue as we try to evolve into a less cumbersome, transparent organization that provides information and support to our members. We have started a process to streamline our governance and encourage involvement from our members. This will continue over the next year to open governance to all members of our society. We will increase member satisfaction by developing and revamping our website to improve its use and make it a reliable access point to obtain information to improve practice and provide quality material for our members to assess risks to their practice and maintain compliance with the ever changing landscape of rules and regulations which affect reimbursement and clinical practice.
We must increase engagement with our members and point out the beneficial components of advocacy. We need to demonstrate that involvement in governmental affairs at the state and national levels is good for sustainability of practice and also good for the overall success of anesthesiology as a discipline of medicine. The more we can engage our membership, the more success we will have with advancing the agendas pertinent to our specialty. This includes physician led care team models to provide patient centered, safe medical care. We must also assure that our members are reimbursed for the services they provide and address the denial of payments and lack of information concerning narrowing of care networks and out of network status of patients that seek care only to be turned away because they are not in network. Other threats such as workman’s compensation payments, non-physician supervised medical practice by nurses and scope of practice issues which could impinge on our ability to practice the discipline of anesthesiology need to have the involvement of all anesthesiologists, not just a few. Knowledge is power and an informed ISA membership will increase engagement and advocacy which is crucial for sustainability.
Besides improved engagement and open accessibility to the society by its members, there are several other long standing agenda items that will be pressed forward in the next term. The first will be advancement of the Anesthesiology Assistants bill before the Illinois House (HB 3205). This has been a long process and will continue to be an agenda of the society for the next several years. We have to educate our membership as to why their incorporation and licensing to practice in the state would be important and how they would be valuable in improving access to care. We must also inform and educate our legislators as to why their introduction is not a threat to nursing but a valuable addition to the care of patients undergoing care involving anesthesia.
We will continue to foster and advance our practice management offering by improving the Leadership Conference offering organized by Doctors Torin Shear and Joseph Szokol. We also will continue our popular practice management dinner symposium developed and managed by Doctors Sean Adams and Adamina Podraza. These offerings will be expanded and improved to both engage and educate the members of our society. We hope that these offerings will be embraced by our members and will help to demonstrate the value of membership through dissemination of information to stakeholders.
As an organization we cannot stagnate but must move forward. We must continue to reinvent ourselves to remain fresh and relevant to our members throughout the state. We must increase involvement for all, not just a few, and we must continue to involve the society in agendas that improve the practice of anesthesiology and continue to make our discipline an active component in the House of Medicine. I wish to thank the many leaders of this organization who have laid the groundwork and the path that we must take to be an integral and desired component of anesthesia practice. Dr. George Hefner, The Board of Directors and others have provided the direction in which to proceed. We must walk toward the light of activism and engagement and propel our society to a new level of relevance embraced by our membership.
W. Scott Jellish, M.D., PhD