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Congress is still debating healthcare reform. It’s not too late to make sure your voice is heard.
Decisions about the future of healthcare are being made at the state level and in Washington, and various pieces of legislation are being enacted that concern both the business of medicine and the autonomy and quality of the medical care you provide. The only way to ensure that your interests are adequately represented - whatever they may be - is to join the dialogue and have your say. Without physicians fully contributing to reform, it will be left to policy makers and profit creators to determine the future of medicine.
Many physicians say they lack the time or enthusiasm to get involved in the reform process. However, unlike the last time reform came around in the early 1990s, technology has made it possible to stay current and informed, in real time and without effort, on various reform proposals being developed by physicians’ organizations, employers, citizens’ groups, and private insurance companies, as well as the state and federal government. For example, registered subscribers to the American Medical Association Physicians’ Grassroots Network campaign are kept updated via e-mail alerts as events occur.
Nevertheless, educating yourself on the issues is only one part of getting involved. Providing feedback is the key to making your voice heard and representing your interests.
So how can you get involved?
1. Many associations are offering discussion forums and feedback loops for members:
2. Stay current on the issues:
3. Write letters and get your point across:
Physician interests cannot be adequately represented unless physicians themselves take the time to educate other entities about the issues that affect them. Powerful interests will be more likely to sit up and take notice when many physician voices begin to speak up.
Susanne Madden is founder and CEO of The Verden Group, a consulting firm that helps physicians handle the complexity and volume of change in managed care today. She can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.theverdengroup.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Physicians Practice.