Thirteen years ago I started my involvement in the CSA as a Delegate, just like so many of you now. Then my professional focus was on improving my department’s practice of regional anesthesia, through clinical care, education, and research. I never considered leadership in professional Society activities until becoming a CSA delegate opened that door for me. I have Dr. Johnathan Pregler to thank for my getting involved in the CSA — or you have him to blame, depending on how the next year goes. He first persuaded me to become a delegate. I moved on to District Director, Vice Speaker, and Speaker. When you’re Speaker, you help others and help groups accomplish things by making good decisions. When you’re President, you yourself have to accomplish things and lead others in doing so. I hope to accomplish a lot in the coming year, with your help.
|President- Elect James Moore, MD, at the 2015 HOD Meeting, alongside President Paul Yost, MD, and Speaker Christine Doyle, MD
Of course I’d like to start the year by making these remarks to you here be effective and memorable. I’ve done several lectures, made many speaking appearances, over the past year. Once recently I was approached to give a presentation and was told, “We want you to give a TED talk instead of a traditional lecture.” Now, I knew something about TED talks — TED: Technology, Entertainment, and Design — but I had never actually viewed one before. You can see these online, so I went to the TED website to check some out of these “TED talks” to see what I was getting into. I found some interesting things.
Sebastian Wernicke has a TED talk describing how he analyzed data from the TED website containing over a million words from TED talk videos to try to engineer the ultimate TED talk. He determined the top 10 words that stick out in the most favored TED talks, the highest-rated, and also those words in the least-favored TED talks. So to create a highly favored presentation you just need to use these identified words.
So all I want to tell you is that you can achieve happiness by using your brain to make the choice to observe yourself in the mirror enjoying French coffee while you’re in the middle of reviewing patient data.
Thanks very much.
Of course there’s a little more.
Speaking of achieving things, Dr. Paul Yost explained the turbulence in the CSA office situation over the past year. But thanks to his leadership and the work of the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, and our interim Executive Director, Julie Freeman, we are in a great position for the future. We have high expectations of our new relationship with our association management company, AMG, and our new Executive Director, David Butler. We’ll have much better office management and organization of our infrastructure.
I will have the responsibility for the next year to see that the transition to AMG’s management goes well. Dave Butler and I will get to know each other very well. I’ll need help from many others in the CSA leadership, and I will see that together we provide Dave and AMG with the information they need so that they’ll know what they need to do for us and how to do it. I need Dr. Karen Sibert to help make sure they know how to help us with district elections, managing our membership information, and drafting minutes for our meetings. I need Dr. Christine Doyle’s input to see they know how to help us with our governance meeting planning and preparing documents related to those meetings. I need Dr. Sam Wald to work with them in relation to our educational activities.
The way we do things as a Society often needs to be recorded as part of our administrative procedures. To aid in our transition with AMG, we need well-written administrative procedures that codify how we do what we do. Our Committee on Finance & Administration will oversee establishing a good working copy of an administrative procedures manual this year, but we’ll also need many of the other committees to contribute and document the procedures that relate to their functions.
The circumstances were different, but the ASA also underwent a major reorganization of its office and staff infrastructure not long ago. This resulted in Paul Pomerantz joining the ASA in the role of Chief Executive Officer. The ASA has reaped enormous benefits from his leadership and from this reorganization, and I think the ASA staff and office structure is now stronger than ever. Likewise I expect the CSA to see great improvements in our office management and the ability to carry out effectively so many of the Society’s services and functions. You and all our members will benefit.
One of the efforts we look forward to continuing with the ASA is moving toward unified billing between the CSA and ASA. We think this has the potential to increase our membership and make it more convenient for members to maintain their membership status.
Increasing membership enrollment and improving the way members perceive the value of CSA membership is a two-way street: We want Society activities to benefit members in ways they perceive as beneficial. And in order to get at whether we’re prioritizing the right activities, we need to understand what members want out of their Society.
Needs are changing. Clearly educational preferences and needs are different now from what they were 20 or even 10 years ago. We need to keep pace with new methods of learning to offer educational activities that members will value. While traditional CME topics are still important, the success of such ASA programs as the Practice Management Conference and the ASA Quality Meeting as well as the Perioperative Surgical Home Summit indicate that anesthesiologists are seeking education in areas outside traditional clinical and scientific arenas.
We’ve been making great inroads toward better communication strategies. Our public and professional communications, along with strong messaging campaigns thanks to KP Public Affairs, will continue to improve our communication to members, to the public and others.
Although our efforts with AB 890 and bringing anesthesiologist assistants to California have stalled in the Assembly, we’re not done. We can come back after this year and reintroduce legislation, even with a stronger, full-fledged licensure bill. There also may be other avenues to pursue that we will explore. While we do this, continued good communication with our members is important. I think we can do a better job of listening to some members’ misgivings on this issue and educating members on how, as we take a long-term view of the future of our specialty, anesthesiologist assistants can help to secure the future of anesthesia care in California for our patients.
We also need to keep ahead of other issues important to our members and our political allies, including payment for non-contracted services and scope-of-practice bills as they come up. Continued acquisitions of medical facilities by large corporate entities is a disturbing trend, and we should consider whether the CSA can provide networking resources or information to help affected anesthesiologists cope with the difficulties that can arise. We will work to further strengthen our relations with both the CMA and other subspecialty societies in California.
Implementing electronic health records (EHR) is a challenge many anesthesiologists face nowadays. As we have several experts in this area in the CSA, I am appointing a special committee to develop informational guidelines related to EHR implementation and to help answer members’ questions related to EHRs and anesthesia.
This year the Task Force on Pain Medicine will continue its work so that the CSA can better serve the needs of anesthesiologists who practice pain medicine.
I want to work with California residency programs to help our residents better understand the opportunities available to them for involvement in the CSA and to provide educational opportunities for residents and new graduates to meet their needs so they are able to establish themselves in practice.
My family’s been very supportive. My daughter asked me, “Daddy, when you’re President, will we live in the White House?” So she thinks I’m ready to lead. I believe I’m well prepared for this role, and I hope that others do, too.
In my residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas, I remember when one surgeon, who himself was considered an institution, nationally renowned, said during surgery to my attending and me, “I don’t know why you have to use all those lines and monitors.” My attending, Steve Ford, said, “I know you don’t, Dr. Thompson. That’s OK. Because we know.” At times there were pressures not to do certain things because they weren’t expedient or for other reasons, but we were always taught to do the right thing. At UTMB, Jim Arens, ASA Past President, was the chief of the department for years, and it was his motto that pervaded the department: “Do the Right Thing.” I know it sounds kind of trite, and I don’t know if Jim Arens is a Spike Lee fan. I doubt it. But “Do the Right Thing” meant even if it was difficult, or unpopular, or got a surgeon bent out of shape, we were to do the right thing for our patients every time.
And I bring it up just to say that in working for you as CSA President, even when it’s difficult, I will do the right thing. Facing the challenges of this coming year, together we will do what’s right for our patients, for our members, for our Society, for our specialty. It’s going to be a great year. Thank you very much.