Louisville Medicine Volume 61, Issue 12 - Page 8

$ Getting My GLMS Return on Brad S. Sutton, MD, MBA T oward the end of 2011 my wife, Erica, and I moved to Louisville to join the faculty at the School of Medicine; Erica in Surgery and myself in Medicine. We’ve since found Louisville to be a wonderful place to raise our two children and have enjoyed a great network of friends and colleagues. As part of the credentialing process, we became members of the Greater Louisville Medical Society (GLMS). With our membership, a number of benefits, including CAPS processing and an annual pictorial were immediately apparent. But to be frank, membership was a prerequisite to faculty credentialing. I had little insight or interest into the broader organization. Not until an MBA student of mine, Brian Thornton, invited me to participate on the Emerging Medical Concepts Committee did I see a greater value. The health care politics in the greater Louisville area can be difficult to get one’s hands around. In fact, practice politics, both within and between various health systems in town, have been the greatest challenge of my transition to Louisville. I’m not alone in this – I’d wager most providers in every specialty have been affected by escalating competition between health systems and practices. This has been spurred in large part by a complicated roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, increasing regulatory pressures and decreasing margins in nearly every service line. In short, all of us are being asked to do more with less, and the pressure has manifested in some very unflattering ways. And yet, amidst all this fluidity and competition, I sat down at that first meeting of the Emerging Medical Concepts Committee and saw my senior colleagues take off their health systems hats and engage in frank conversation. As it turns out, we all face the same challenges and could learn a great deal from one another about how to navigate these turbulent times. When I speak nationally on health reform and the business of medicine, two themes clearly emerge: 1) Providers feel like commodities and feel a general loss of control and 2) We’re not trained to adequately articulate our value. We’ve tried to address this concern at the School of Medicine in several ways. First, we’ve created a dedicated course of study called the Distinction in Business and Leadership Track. This longitudinal curriculum is designed to equip undergraduate medical students with key business principles. Second, we offer a combined MD/MBA degree program, designed to position providers as physician executives. Recently, I was approached by GLMS leadership with a simple question: “What is membership worth to you?” The impact of many GLMS initiatives, such as global health programs and public policy advocacy, is hard to quantify. However, we sought to answer this question by financially GLMS Membership Dues $340 6 LOUISVILLE MEDICINE $