Sept. 14, 2018

Dear Colleague,

Today I chaired my sixth and final meeting of your board of directors. Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving over the past 12 months as your president. It has been a productive and rewarding year. Please review and provide me with your thoughts on today’s board meeting outcomes.

1. CMS Rebranded: The restructuring of CMS underway since 2015 continued today with a board vote to establish a new CMS brand. If you were one of the hundreds of CMS members who voted on the three options for rebranding, thank you for your input! Our rebranding process included contracts with multiple graphic design professionals to seek new logos for the rebranding effort and a series of physician surveys to finalize the three options for the board’s consideration. 

Click here to review the new CMS brand.

2. Market forces strategic discussion: What has been an under-the-radar discussion in the past has now been elevated to a public policy debate in the full view of interested stakeholders and the public. Colorado Division of Insurance Interim Commissioner Mike Conway floated a draft, proposed rule that allows health insurance carriers to obtain a waiver from geographic-access network-adequacy requirements. This was in response to price variation and the use of network adequacy rules by some providers (according to the Interim Commissioner) to leverage unreasonable commercial rates. The board’s discussion will continue in November.

3. Fiscal year 2018-2019 operational plan approved: We voted to focus our resources over the next 12 months in a variety of ways that put physician wellbeing first. These issues include but are not limited to: (1) Promote practical things organizations and physicians can do to ensure optimal wellbeing; (2) Preserve Colorado’s medical professional liability climate; (3) Reenact the body of law governing professional review and the Medical Practices Act, as well assure the operational integrity and resources for the Colorado Medical Board; (4) Preserve the state-enacted insurance exchange and enhance aspects of the Medicaid expansion to make the program more attractive to physician participation; (5) Encourage state investments in opioid addiction intervention, treatment, and rehabilitation infrastructure; (6) Explore health care price transparency; and (7) Collaborate with the employer community on initiatives cost mitigation strategies, and (8) Address scope of practice issues.

I strongly urge you to read the 20,000-foot view of the public policy environment here (the entire operational plan is included).

4. Public Policy Hot Spots: We face extraordinary challenges in the 2019 legislature. The sheer volume of exam-room relevant issues is breathtaking in its scope and complexity. The board of directors suspended the 2019 Annual Meeting to supplement funding for 2019 physician-patient advocacy efforts during this critical time. The board took action on the recommendations from the Committee on Prescription Drug Abuse to reverse the opioid crisis and recommendations from our expert work group on professional review.

Click here to CMS recommendations on reenactment of professional review. 
Click here to review CMS recommendations on reversing the opioid crisis.

5. Central Line policy proposals: The board took action on two proposals submitted by members through Central Line. You will soon get an email notification from your board member via Central Line about action taken on proposals titled: (1) Unleashing Market Transparency to Address Soaring Drug Prices; and, (2) Firearm Safety. Please take 30 seconds (and no login required) to respond to your board member and let us know if the board “got it right” on these proposals. If a majority of those voting disagree with the board’s decision, the issue will be reconsidered at the board’s July meeting.

6. Financial and other fiduciary duties: The board approved a consent calendar that included minutes and reports from various CMS work groups and committees.

Click here to review the consent calendar and let me know if you would like to receive the financial summaries from June-July, 2018.

Thank you very much for taking time to read this report and for sending me your comments in a reply to this email.

With best regards,
Robert Yakely, MD
President, Colorado Medical Society