Since the last meeting of the CMS Board of Directors on March 13, the vast majority of leadership and staff time has been devoted to helping Colorado physicians navigate the COVID-19 public health crisis. You have received several messages from me on our actions over the past two months, and I hope you have found all CMS-coordinated resources, advocacy and events helpful to you. Here are the top-lines of actions we’ve taken on your behalf:
- Enhanced member communication through the new COVID-19 section of CMS.org, the Basecamp discussion forum, and more frequent ASAPs and member news alerts.
- Services you need like the COVID-19 Crisis Line, PPE bulk order and contract tracing opportunity.
- Unifying the House of Medicine (state specialty and component societies) advocacy and educational efforts through bi-weekly updates with presidents and executives of component and specialty societies, co-sponsored Physicians’ Town Halls, and joint letters – an unprecedented level of collaboration.
- Educational events such as our Virtual Grand Rounds and topic-specific webinars.
- Advocacy on your behalf to federal and state officials on the issues affecting you the most.
- The recently launched COVID-19 membership survey.
During today’s board meeting, we heard reports on COVID-19 responses from components in attendance and would like to call out just a few best practices of many in supporting physicians during this time:
- Denver Medical Society has been connecting physicians to county health officials.
- Northern Colorado Medical Society has seen competing health systems working collaboratively to ensure safe care for all.
- Boulder County Medical Society has connected members in virtual colleague-to-colleague interactions.
- Northeast Colorado has not seen the outbreaks of some of the larger urban areas and has responded well, but also experienced painful furloughs and staff cuts.
- Pueblo County Medical Society has seen good supplies of PPE and more testing available, but a parallel concern is patients not seeking health care due to fear of the virus and not having access to exercise or social outlets.
- CPMG has drastically expanded virtual care and is donating $1 million to an effort to improve care for people experiencing homelessness.
- Medical students have stepped up to volunteer in PPE drives, phone triage and initiatives to reach out to isolated or geriatric patients to provide emotional support; as of last month students had given 6,000 volunteer hours – and that number is expected to double once updated to add this month.
- Residents are serving where they’re needed, switching to ICU care perhaps instead of their training specialty; this is an area of potential advocacy for CMS, to ensure residents are being properly compensated and training is on track.
Additionally, the board:
- Discussed a Central Line proposal on medical professionalism and voted to refer the issue to the CMS Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA). Watch for more detailed communication coming soon from your district’s board representative and be sure to indicate if we “got it right.” Your participation in our policy-setting process is valued and vital to our strength as an organization.
- Recognized CMS CEO Bryan Campbell as president-elect of the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE).
- Approved the finance report.
- Reviewed the CMS response to COVID-19 and assured we are supporting our members through needed resources while advocating for their ability to practice medicine in this emergency and every day.
You should have already received an email from me asking for your participation in our membership survey. Your response is critical to allow CMS to understand the impacts on your practice from COVID-19 and what you anticipate in the future. We also wish to hear about resources we have provided and what you need from your medical society in the future in terms of resources and advocacy. I cannot stress enough how vital your response is to assure your medical society is best serving your needs.
Thank you for your continued membership and all you to are doing, which continually shows the value of physicians and the unique and vital role we play in society providing high quality care, advocating for patients, and being a trusted and knowledgeable voice on emergencies like the current pandemic and on the best systems for health care. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns: