During a late, pre-op visit on the hospital floor I was surprised to be welcomed by a patient’s family at her bedside. I inquired why they were visiting so late and they replied, “Doctor, you have to advocate for your family because no one else will.”
As the conversation progressed, I quickly realized their sincere concerns regarding their loved one’s medical condition, as well as her specific wishes for her plan of care.
This bedside encounter reminded me of the importance of continuing our advocacy efforts in support of our specialty with our patients, the public and legislators. No one better than you and I knows what it takes to become an anesthesiologist and provide a safe anesthetic in various locations, at all hours of the day and night, to patients of all ages suffering multiple medical problems. It is our responsibility to tell this story.
Like all other physicians, we are going to be affected by the upcoming changes to the U.S. healthcare system. CMS is already “hanging its’ hat” in the hope that ACOs will be the ticket to bending the unsustainable cost curve while improving healthcare delivery. That has yet to be determined. Other models that are being debated in the background may actually fit us better. One such model is the “perioperative surgical home” that was introduced by Mark Warner, MD, ASA immediate past-president.
Unlike other physicians, we have to continue to assure that anesthesiology is the practice of medicine with the anesthesiologist at the head of the table. Given the lack of clarity nationally, regionally and locally, rumors and anxiety will run rampant. Now, more than ever, we should strive to make communication and advocacy a priority.
Like my predecessors, my goals during my tenure are to preserve the practice of safe anesthetic in New Jersey, address individual members’ concerns, get fair reimbursement for our professional services and advocate for the scope of practice in anesthesia. In this respect, the Society will be working in close collaboration with the state legislators and regulators to make the anesthetic practice in New Jersey the finest in the nation.
Finally, I would like to thank the nominating committee for nominating me as NJSSA president and the membership for electing me as their president. I also want to thank the executive committee members who mentored me through the years – our officers, our legal counsel, John Fanburg, our lobbyist, Beverly Lynch and our administrator, Linda Bartolo.
Mordechai Bermann, MD