D. John Godehn, MD
For me, the practice of medicine has been more than a job, it has been a rewarding profession.
The North Carolina Medical Society has been singularly instrumental in helping to preserve the profession I love.
Yet, medicine as a profession may be in jeopardy. That prospect should be sobering to each of us. As a profession, our primary ethic should be to provide the best quality of care for our patients. Fair remuneration for our services should be an important but secondary goal. Unfortunately, there are strong forces that see physicians as nothing more than well trained, possibly overpaid, technicians or employees of the “system” whose primary job it is to make money for others, and then secondarily to provide plausibly acceptable care for our patients. There will be increasing pressure for physicians to protect the system’s best interests and to benefit our own best interests, at the expense of the interests of each of our patients.
I personally feel that preserving medicine as a profession is critical for everyone – most everyone will be a patient at one time or another. Realistically, The North Carolina Medical Society is the only organization that can hold the physicians of North Carolina together as a profession, as a medical family; the only organization that can hope to give the physicians a unified voice against commercial or governmental interests, which see physicians as simply cogs in the health system wheel, interests that, purposefully or not, create environments that continue to erode professionalism from the practice of medicine. The North Carolina Medical Society provides a number of great services for its members, but frankly other vendors and our specialty societies could provide many of these services as well. Yet there is no other organization that can represent and fight for the values of the medical profession in North Carolina, across all specialties and across all geographic areas, other than the NCMS.
The North Carolina Medical Society has been around a long time, trying to protect our patients and our profession. I sometimes fear the Society is taken for granted, that most assume it will always be there – whether we support it or not; that someone else will financially support it, that someone else will provide the time and energy to lead it. Unfortunately the world does not work that way. I fear that if the Society becomes weak, our profession, our “medical family,” will become weak, and that we all will suffer – patients, physicians, and society alike.
For each of us - I believe that joining and supporting the North Carolina Medical Society with our dues, with our participation, with our energy and talents will be crucial in both our near and longer term futures. We each must do it, we can’t depend on someone else. If the health of the North Carolina Medical Society begins to fail, it will be hard to revive. We will all be at the mercy of forces much stronger than our individual specialty societies, much stronger than our individual selves. It is that simple.
Jon Bruce, MD
We were having a problem with a third party payer. We were four to five months out with $300,000 worth of unpaid claims and struggling to make payroll. I really didn’t know which way to turn. I figured I’d try the North Carolina Medical Society. I called and they called right back. They listened to me and the problem we were having. Within 24 hours they got further than my office staff had gotten in four months [with this payer]. Within a week, payments started coming in. Obviously, the NCMS helped quite a bit.
With the way things are going now in medicine, as a doctor you really need someone on your side. I had never really gotten involved with the NCMS before. I thought they were not really productive – I’d ask ‘what do they really do?’ I can clearly see the strength in the NCMS now. I really appreciate what they did for us. In the future, I don’t want to just be the guy who calls with a problem. I want to get involved and maybe be part of the solution.
Douglas D. Sheets, MD
The NCMS provides a forum for me to interact and collaborate with physicians from across the state as we work to resolve shared problems and to better the health of North Carolinians. The NCMS also serves as a conduit, clearinghouse and champion, to help us address problems with managed-care entities and insurance companies as they attempt to restrict our ability to run efficient and successful practices.
Dana Chambers, MD
Through my membership in the NCMS I have developed improved leadership skills. Whether as a student back in the 90’s participating as an officer on the NCMS Student Board or as a committee member while in practice today, I have had the full support of the NCMS leadership and staff. The NCMS provided tools to assist with speaking and organizational skills and the opportunity to be involved at any level.
Certainly the NCMS has a wealth of membership benefits. I have utilized staff expertise for assistance with medico-legal questions, local county recruiting efforts and practice management advice. I simply wish more docs realized what the NCMS can and DOES do for them, day in and day out. It is our one collective voice and ultimately a voice for our patients’ health and safety.
Anthony Caprio, MD
When I moved to North Carolina and began to practice medicine in a new state, I was confronted with the challenges of making new connections with other physicians, understanding the issues facing North Carolina providers, and finding ways to contribute meaningfully to resolving health disparities in my local community and across the state. The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) helped me to make connections with my colleagues and learn about important issues in health care. I was able to join other physicians interested in improving the practice of medicine and in advocating for our patients. As a member of the 2008 NCMS Foundation Leadership College, I developed important new relationships with healthcare leaders from across the state and gained new leadership skills. My involvement in the Medical Society has enriched both my personal and professional life.
Arthur Apolinario, MD
I have professionally benefited from my membership in the NCMS by the camaraderie and contacts that I have been able to create and maintain through involvement. The members have chosen to uphold the highest ethical standards in their practice of medicine and are willing to help each other succeed in this state within that professional code. Once you join you have at your beck and call the top people in the field who know the issues that will affect your practice in the state of North Carolina and are willing to fight alongside you when these issues arise for you individually. That includes legal advocacy, practice management, and patient issues. By joining, an individual physician can stand on the shoulders of all the other member physicians of multiple specialties and the expert staff of the Society and have this support for whatever practice issues may arise. The NCMS is the only organization that can represent the individual physician through the voice of all the physicians in North Carolina, regardless of their specialty.
Lisa P. Shock, MHS, PA-C
I have been an NCMS Member since I graduated from the Duke University PA Program in the late 1990s. I was advised at that time by one of my PA mentors that it was critical that I become involved and remain active in organized medicine. I benefitted immensely both personally and professionally from my involvement with the NCMS. When I was a practice owner, I received support and direction from the Community Practitioner Program, and our practice benefitted from the practice management advice given to use through the PractEssentials program and staff. As a Leadership Scholar, I was grateful to participate in faculty leadership training through the Center for Creative Leadership and enjoyed the collegial interactions with many physician colleagues across NC. My involvement with the Durham-Orange County Medical Society continues to grow and I am interested in creating additional mentorship opportunities to promote the physician/PA team within our local communities.