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Medical Societies: The Unsung Heroes of Today’s Physicians

As 2013 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on those who have stood out as real heroes in 2013: Groups who still champion the solo physicians and the right for physicians to remain autonomous, reimbursed fairly, and have their scope of practice respected amongst colleagues in the greater medical community. Our state and local medical societies are the winners this year – but are surprisingly under scrutiny by the very folks they are helping the most. I was alarmed by a recent blog by a fellow physician listing the many reasons he no longer wanted to pay his dues to the AMA, and lumped in his state medical society along with the rant. In my opinion these are very different entities. Our state and county medical societies are on the front lines fighting for our independence – watching out for the major hurdles coming our way - and quite frankly, this is true whether we pay our dues or not. In my mind they are the unsung heroes of today’s physicians – regardless of practice location or type. Take a look at a recent article pointing out how two county medical societies in Connecticut championed a battle for their physicians and patients against giant, UnitedHealthcare. I would argue that societies are in fact representing those they claim to – the citizens of their states and the physicians who serve them – period. Just a few hundred dollars a year helps each of us help them fight for our right to make professional choices. As I write a check for my Texas Medical Association and Travis County Medical Society dues, I do it with thanks as an independent physician, knowing that I am showing my support of all Texas physicians and the patients they care for. I encourage all of us to take a look at who is truly fighting the tough, often thankless, fight for physicians and patients – and put our money and support where our conscience lands.

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