-- Orleans and Jefferson Parish Medical Societies Gather Physician Input
Survey and focus group participants shared issues, concerns and suggestions for 'Building a New Boat' to best meet their needs.
Two of Louisiana's largest parish physician associations began gathering input in August 2019 from physicians throughout Southeast Louisiana. This was accomplished by developing a physician needs assessment and by hosting physician focus groups in September. The purpose of these initiatives was to determine how a proposed new organization can best serve the needs of physicians and those in training.
Perhaps the most thought-provoking question, physicians and residents were asked was "What keeps you up at night?" Not surprisingly they noted that the challenges they face in providing care to their patients was first and foremost on their minds. These challenges include lack of adequate insurance options for their patients, the existence of many public health issues which plague the Southeast Louisiana area, constantly-changing health care regulations and laws, and ever-increasing intrusion in the patient-physician relationship.
The “business of healthcare”, inadequate Medicaid reimbursement and the social determinants of health contribute substantially to physician stress
While technology has improved the ability to diagnose and treat patients, and to communicate with patients through electronic medical record portals, physicians noted that technology has the potential to come between them and their patients. In addition, insurance company policies, like prior authorization or formulary design, can add hours to physicians’ days which are often not compensated by insurance companies.
What else keeps physicians awake at night? Physicians are concerned that their patients cannot get the care they need because of limitations in funding of the Medicaid program, or because they may not know how to access the care they need in our healthcare system which is often fragmented and daunting for even the most knowledgeable patient.
Physicians in the Greater New Orleans Area and throughout Louisiana are frustrated with low Medicaid reimbursement that does not cover their cost. At this time, Medicaid reimbursement for providers in Louisiana only covers 80 percent – making it extremely difficult for physician practices to pay monthly bills, buy supplies and make payroll. As a result, many have had to lay off good employees and strip cost to the bone.
Physicians also worry that their patients may not have resources to get the medications they need, or to make healthy lifestyle choices. Every patient's physical, behavioral and social status is important to physicians as is the entire Southeast Louisiana's population.
All of these concerns about their ability to provide comprehensive, quality care has an impact on the professional and personal lives of physicians also. According to physicians attending the focus group, the business of medicine poses its own challenges including contracting and legal issues, staffing and office management recruitment and retention concerns, and the seemingly increasing demands of health insurers. These mounting concerns have caused many physicians to become employed by large groups or health systems as they realized they are not able to address the business demands of the practice.
What can OPMS and JPMS do to reduce stress and decrease burnout?
What do physicians want most? They want to care for patients without intrusion. They want to continue to nurture the sacred physician-patient relationship.
And, what do physicians want most from the new proposed organization? They want effective advocacy with payors, regulators, and hospitals. They want resources to help them be more informed physicians regardless of where and how they practice. They want the ability to share best practices and to learn from each other. And, they want a strong and unified voice.
Orleans and Jefferson Parish Medical Societies' leadership and board members listened intently, as they gathered information for the development of a new organization to best meet the needs of physicians, their patients and the Southeast Louisiana community.
The new collaboration between the two physician organizations titled 'Building A New Boat' is using the information gathered in physician polling to develop the mission, vision and purpose of the new organization and to begin planning new services and events.
What will change and what will stay the same?
Orleans and Jefferson Parish Medical Societies plan to maintain their respective relationships with Louisiana State Medical Society and their District 1 and District 2 representation for submitting and voting on resolutions at the annual House of Delegates Meeting in Baton Rouge.
The proposed new organization will provide an opportunity for increased collaboration and cost-sharing for all other services that will be developed from physician feedback. The current presidents, vice-president/president-elect, immediate past-presidents serve on the Advisory Committee for the development of the new organization and report back to the two respective boards.
Both organizations continue individual recruitment and retention efforts. Some of the decisions have not been made: However, membership in each will now include all of the new benefits and services of the proposed new organization.
How can physicians join?
Organizations interested in sponsoring physician events are asked to contact: Jodi Schwing, Executive Director, Jefferson Parish Medical Society, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim Pittman, Executive Director, Orleans Parish Medical Society, at email@example.com.
Where can physicians learn more about the new organization?
Follow Orleans and Jefferson Parish Medical Societies on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (@OrleansParishMS and @JeffMedical) and visit www.jpms-opms.org