Today I was eager to get to work with the rest of the Colorado Medical Society Board of Directors during my second meeting as your president and board chair. CMS continues to rise to the challenges of the day, including ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts; the important work stemming from our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; preparation for the 2021 legislative session; and driving initiatives that continuously help physicians when they need help.
The COVID-19 response remains a top priority for both physicians and Colorado as a whole. The board discussed the latest on all of CMS’ efforts to work with the state and other key stakeholders to ensure the vaccine rollout runs smoothly. A major win was CMS’ new partnership with CDPHE and Children's Hospital Colorado that is offering physicians and their frontline staff teams that have not been vaccinated a chance to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Access the sign-up form here in order to be contacted to schedule an appointment. CMS is also working to make sure primary care practices can play a role in administering the vaccine to their patients, especially those in underserved communities. Stay tuned for more information on that.
The Board discussed the latest on the efforts to preserve access to confidential physician counseling in Colorado. Last fall, a judge voided the contract which would have eliminated the access to confidential counseling for physicians entering a treatment plan. Today, the Colorado Medical Board began anew the process of evaluating how the process will be administered for tor the next five years.
Next week, they will hold the first of two very important meetings where your voice is needed to share the importance of maintaining access to this invaluable resource. Next Friday, February 5, 2021 at noon, the Colorado Medical Board will host a Task Force on Confidentiality. I encourage every physician who has benefited from access to confidential counseling to join the call and share your experience. There will be another call on Tuesday February 9 at 2 p.m. You can click on either of those dates above to register to attend and share your message.
The board also moved forward with its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) action plan, the number one item on the CMS strategic plan. Following an RFP process, the board approved funds for the engagement of the Nova Collective to help CMS create a one-year, three-year, and five-year DEI plan. This DEI plan will involve many stakeholders, including CMS membership. We look forward to this important work with you!
As the board looks ahead to the bulk of the 2021 legislative session, CMS is focusing on a variety of issues critical to Colorado physicians. First and foremost, peer assistance is at the top of our list to fix either through the regulatory or legislative branches because we understand how important the availability of confidential peer assistance is to the health and wellbeing of physicians and their patients. Our legislative team reported on how we are well positioned to address other issues like reducing administrative burdens through streamlined credentialing and making out-of-network arbitrations more workable. While predictions are fuzzy about how the pandemic may disrupt the legislative session, it is clear that 2021 will be an incredibly busy session targeting key issues like the COVID-19 response and shoring up our public health infrastructure, scope of practice expansions, mental health, prescriptions drugs, health care costs, a public option, and more attempts to destabilize the medical liability climate.
We encourage all physicians passionate about any of these issues to contact us about opportunities to testify or otherwise get involved in CMS’ advocacy efforts.
Other items of business tackled by the CMS board today included:
- A vote to reclassify certain Component Societies without local leadership as temporarily inactive.
- Annual conflict of interest training as part of our prioritization of good governance.
- Approval of the November/December financials.
- Reports from board members about each of their districts that provided knowledge on how we can continue to partner to improve the health of all communities in Colorado.
I am constantly in awe of everything physicians do for their patients and to try to make their communities healthier, better places for everyone. I am always available to discuss how CMS can further support you in all that you do.